John Lewis and Waitrose test joint marketing campaigns in a bid to boost loyalty

The partnership’s annual report acknowledges the need to evolve its marketing given how many of the retail giant’s most loyal customers now shop at both John Lewis and Waitrose.

Campaigns such as #BustertheDog could soon represent Waitrose as well as John Lewis

The John Lewis Partnership has hinted to upcoming marketing synergies between its John Lewis and Waitrose brands; a change in strategy given how it has previously kept both of their advertising very separate.

The John Lewis and Waitrose brands now both see their advertising handled by creative agency adam&eveDDB. And in the retail group’s annual report, the partnership says there is “great potential” for the two to work together “more closely”.

It reads: “There is great potential for two of the strongest brands in the UK in food and general merchandise, with a loyal customer base, to work together more closely. Specifically, we have established a small unit to explore ideas with customers.”

The change in approach comes after the partnership undertook research which found that the top 10% of the partnership’s retail customers now drive 60% of overall revenues, with the majority of them shopping regularly at both John Lewis and Waitrose. As a result, the business says it is starting to merge the marketing for its two loyalty schemes.

“We are becoming more focused on meeting the needs of our most engaged customers, as a way of improving our services for all. We have already started to test joint marketing for our ‘my’ loyalty schemes across Waitrose and John Lewis,” says the report.

In a statement, a John Lewis Partnership spokeswoman told Marketing Week: “As we look at ways to continue to delight our customers, we recognise that there is great potential for Waitrose and John Lewis – two of the strongest brands in the UK in food and general merchandise, with a loyal customer base – to work together more closely”.

The retail giant says it is also experimenting with its digital proposition: “We’ve brought together a team to test customer demand and launch new digital propositions. The team works in a fast-paced environment – similar to that of a start-up business – allowing decisions to be made quickly. Recruited in September last year, the team aims to launch several new product trials this year.”

John Lewis today (9 May) revealed it has set aside £36m due to realising its staff rota systems do not comply with the Government’s national minimum wage regulations. This means its chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield, who is on a £1.4m salary, will not receive his usual £66,000 bonus for the year.

Back in January, the John Lewis Partnership announced it would pay staff just a 6% bonus, which represented a 63-year low, this year as it looks to retain profits to invest online and prepare for any further economic destablisation due to the Brexit negotiations. In 2016, its pre-tax profits rose 21.2% to £370.4m.