How the much-praised UK retailer ensured the ability to make payments across any channel.
For the British, retailer John Lewis is a true institution. It's like a cup of tea or the BBC – woven into the fabric of the nation.
John Lewis is a cooperative –- owned by its staff, and renowned for its unswerving commitment to customer service. It's entirely consistent, then, that the retailer would fully embrace the mobile channel, especially given that so many of its customers have begun to choose mobile as their preferred method of digital communication with the brand.
That process started when John Lewis chose Usablenet to create a mobile site that incorporated all the main features of its website and then configured it for the smaller mobile screen.
Any customer typing in the full URL from a mobile device is automatically redirected to the mobile site. They are then given a view optimised by handset type and OS.
However, the site was conceived to do more than just relay product information; it was fully configured for commerce, giving customers the ability to purchase from the complete John Lewis inventory including fabric swatches and catalogues. It incorporates robust search and browse functionality; and supports access to account using the same login and password.
Essentially, anything a customer can do on the John Lewis website – even having custom curtains and blinds measured – they can do on the mobile site.
John Lewis then added a native iPhone app for an even more immersive experience. To do so, it utilised Usablenet’s Agile Web Services and worked directly with agency Sapient Nitro to design and build the native interface for the app.
The end result provides users with everything they need to make an informed purchase, whether they are in-store, on the train to work, or at home on the sofa. And, as a native app, it drills into the capabilities of the devices itself such as GPS and scanning.
This means users can read barcodes in-store to access product information, read and compare reviews and browse the full John Lewis catalogue. They can also watch product information and inspirational videos, search via keywords or product codes, and also see a history of products and videos viewed for quick revisits.
Out of stock products can be ordered for collection or delivery using the app, and there is GPS functionality to locate the nearest John Lewis store.
The two mobile strategies each contribute to a multichannel approach that fluently integrates with catalogue, online and bricks and mortar. This seamless integration means that customers can use the same account information and access the same inventory from any channel.
This philosophy was behind the firm's decision to become the first UK department store retailer to offer free wi-fi in its shops nationwide. It also rolled out its the Click and Collect service, ensuring John Lewis customers can buy goods and then take them home – wherever they start their journey.
The results have been dramatic. For the five weeks to December 31st 2011, mobile sales were up 120 per cent and the app was downloaded over 100,000 times.
In addition, John Lewis is now seeing on average eight per cent of online traffic coming through mobile, and it has developed into a multi-million pound sales channel for the business.
Not only is the mobile site fully functional and works on every and all web-enabled phones, but the John Lewis site has been consistently ranked as one of the fastest and most reliable sites by Keynote Systems Rankings (a leading independent cloud monitoring company that regularly tests sites for speed and reliability).