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Aligning goals with a digital first strategy: how John Lewis and Made.com master omnichannel

By Lara Grobosch


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Image by FashionUnited, Shoptalk Europe

Aligning the goals of all teams in an omnichannel organisation is essential for retailers to seamlessly guide consumers along their shopping journeys. That was one of the key takeaways from the ‘Working Cross-Functionally to Create a Cohesive Shopping Experience’ panel talk on Monday, at this year’s Shoptalk Europe retail show in London, as industry leaders discussed their omnichannel strategies to create a more connected shopping experience.

“The overall business needs to be really clear on what the vision for John Lewis is, where it is going and how it will continue to play a role in our customers lives,” said Cassandra Bergsland, director of omnichannel at British department store John Lewis, in the panel discussion, which was led by retail expert Ken Pilot. In order to be successful in omnichannel, each team has had to develop their own capabilities to realise that vision.

“That is how you get to that goal and make sure teams have got KPIs that they can own, so that when they're making a decision, they know that they're driving that KPI,” added Nicola Thompson, CEO of British homeware and furniture retailer, Made.com. “It adds up one way or another to that top level goal that everybody shares.”

“Everything is mobile first…”

Amid slowing economic activity, covid-19 has led to a strong rise in e-commerce and has sped up digital transformation. Mobile, social and even new platforms like livestreaming and the metaverse now play a big role in a customer’s buying journey. “We always start with the mobile experience. Even the physical spaces are designed to be interactive for the customers' phones,” said Thompson about Made.com.

John Lewis also profited from the shift to digital, particularly with its app. As it was welcoming customers back into the store, the company made sure to integrate the app into its in-store experience. “We've moved our loyalty program into the app, digital first, and we've grown the sales in the app to around 30 percent last year. So obviously we'll continue to focus on that,” Bergsland explained.

With so much happening digitally, it remains important for a successful omnichannel strategy to connect the physical stores back to the digital brand. “I personally would say we shouldn't think of any channel last. They are equal. It's about calculating what they do for the customer and what the customer expects to see in that experience,” advised John Lewis’ omnichannel director, Bergsland.

Omnichannel is a fluid journey that happens across multiple touchpoints, making it essential to always start with the customer first and build everything around them. “We have to evolve. What is here today wasn't there two years ago and wasn't there five years ago. So it's an eternal journey,” concluded Margaret Breen, chief demand and supply planning officer of Dubai’s luxury retailer, Chalhoub Group.

Shoptalk Europe 2022 takes place in London between 6-8 June and brings together more than 3,000 attendees from more than 70 countries. Keep an eye on further coverage of the event from FashionUnited here.
John Lewis
Shoptalk Europe