The third annual John Lewis Retail Report has discovered that a new ‘master shopper’ has emerged to take advantage of multichannel retail.
According to the report, this ‘master shopper’ has learned to combine channels and devices in order to create their own optimal shopping experience.
As the report said that using all these options creating a more flexible journey. Shopping today is less about “I need it now” and more about “I need it how, when and where I want.
The report suggests that stores are still important, but fulfil a function which, according to the report, is increasingly linked to leisure time.
John Lewis has noticed that services such as Beauty and spa treatments in its stores are getting a lot of attention.
But the growing use of mobile and multichannel services like click and collect have created a new landscape for retail in which customers switch between devices and channels – online and offline – with ease, the report said.
The proportion of traffic to the John Lewis website from mobiles increased to 60 per cent in the last twelve months and mobile revenue grew by 68 per cent.
The retailer predicts that we’re yet to reach peak usage.
Two thirds of John Lewis customers use both physical shops and online channels and the number who bought from both channels increased by 9 per cent over the past 12 months.
Almost 20 per cent of customers buying a computer have more than ten interactions during a buying journey.
An average of three of those interactions involve online research on John Lewis or on other websites.
Facebook is the most popular social channel for John Lewis, though it uses different channels for different reasons.
What all this means is that multichannel retailers like John Lewis need to realise the number of channels and influences that affect the customer’s purchase and make this process as easy as possible.
With the number of channels used by these ‘master shoppers, it becomes more important for retailers to have a presence on as many as possible.
The UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) said that sales in shops rose by 5.3 percent in December 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
And, according to ONS, small shops did better than the megachains, rising by eight percent compared to 2.6 percent.
Growth in online sales now represents 12 percent of the pie and it’s thought that some of the growth was because shops frantically discounted in December. That’s not necessarily a good thing, of course.
As we reported earlier this month, sales were mixed from the big boys – M&S and Debenhams didn’t do that brilliantly but John Lewis surged ahead.
High street stores showed mixed results in their bids to win the hearts, souls and wallets of people over the Yuletide season.
Debenhams didn’t do at all well and that caused its chief beancounter, Simon Herrick, to fall on his sword this morning.
The John Lewis Partnership, which is a sort of cooperative, said its sales for the period were up 6.9 percent from the same Christmas period the year before. But it did particularly well on the interwibble front – in the five weeks to the 28th of December last its sales rose by over 22 percent.
Debenhams is in the slough of despond, however. It issued a profits warning for the next six months.
Obliquely, the John Lewis news is bad news for chip giant Intel too. Many people are using smartphones and tablets to buy online rather than wait for their X86 based machines to boot up.
John Lewis has become the latest company to wield the axe, announcing that it will be slashing 325 department manager jobs in a bid to focus more on its online growth.
The company, which was hailed by the government as a model of “responsible capitalism” for the whole economy, has made the decision to chop these jobs as it moves to focus on it its online offerings.
It has set up its Retail Revolution’ plan in a bid to ensure it stays ahead of the game and doesn’t end up in the same black administration hole as some of its competitors.
However, this won’t be any consolation to the staff who are set to lose their jobs, in the biggest cut made by the retailer since 2009 when it culled 700 call staff jobs.
Each John Lewis has about 10 department store managers looking after sections such as womenswear, beauty or furnishings. In a bid to cut costs John Lewis is planning to replace these with one or two more senior managers in 28 of its 40 stores.
They have given those in question a month to put their views and proposals forward as to why they should remain at the company before a 90-day constitution in March.
Last month the company hinted that online was where it wanted to be, appointing Mark Lewis as online director. It said at the time it hoped that Mark, who had previously been CEO at Collect+ and spent six years at eBay in roles including UK managing director and European marketplaces director, would continue the growth and development of its online business.