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John Lewis launches experiential innovation challenge

The John Lewis Partnership has called for entries to its tech incubator, JLab, for ideas that could provide new experiential retail experiences and shape the future of shopping. 

JLab has invited start-ups and established businesses to submit plans that could be used to enhance the way consumers interact in store and improve the consumer shopping experience.

The new experiential retail theme follows two JLab challenges that launched this year – health and wellbeing; and reducing the impact of plastic waste. After receiving more than 200 entries across both challenges, three health and wellbeing business were selected following the pitch day, to develop customer facing, digital propositions for the business.

Peter Cross, director of customer experience at John Lewis, said: “As customer expectations of the shopping experience grow at the fastest pace in living memory, John Lewis & Partners is actively looking to engage with the brightest and most entrepreneurial minds in the nation, whether that be a new technology solution to make shopping more convenient, or an idea that will fundamentally transform how the nation shops.”

Entries for the experiential retail challenge are to made via the Jlab website. Applications must be made by 25 November. A pitch day will take place in February, where entrants will present to a panel of seven judges made up of senior leaders across the John Lewis Partnership.

The John Lewis & Partners department store chain has recently rolled out “experience desks” in some stores, which offer customers “concierge-style” shopping. It has also experimented with events and in-store experiences, from gin masterclasses to cinema screenings, and the opportunity to stay overnight in pop-up luxury apartments in shops.

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