The retailer, in partnership with media agency Manning Gottlieb OMD, are using the funds on to bring to market digital innovations in areas such as location-based and augmented reality marketing.
It aims to remove channel conflict from the customer journey, whereby sales through newer marketing channels grow at the expense of those from more traditional outlets. Around 30% of John Lewis sales are online with many lines over 50%, according to the business, while half of online sales are click and collect.
Despite the shift in consumer behaviour, the proportion of online purchases has slowed in recent years, moving from an average jump of 2% to 3% between 2009 and 2012 to 1% over the last 12 months. To gain more momentum, the business said it was evolving its digital strategy to add value to the customer experience.
Speaking at the IAB Engage conference yesterday (15 October) the company’s head of online marketing Lloyd Page said mobile and tablet are now significantly bigger channels than desktop. The retailer has tilted its media spend accordingly and revealed a 594% year-on-year jump in smartphone marketing, 393% on tablet and 25% on display.
Page said the “digital revolution has changed shopping behaviour”, creating new purchase occasions; nocturnal gamers placing midnight orders, men buying formalwear in the early hours and people shopping for cutlery before lunch.
It has lead to the company commissioning several trials. John Lewis is using 30-day historical mobile data to sharpen location targeting as well as testing RFID technology to allow customers to create their own ideal sofas through its “Any Sofa Any Fabric” platform. The technology will evolve to let shoppers see their preferred sofa in virtual living rooms.
Pilots for 3D printing and iBeacons initiatives are also being primed, while it has also started exploring virtual reality technologies capable of bringing to life the in-store experience.
Earlier this week, the company revealed findings from a report that found its customers are increasingly embracing technology. At least half of purchases have an online aspect, with nearly a quarter (23%) of customers choosing to research online before purchasing in store.