The deal will mean the supermarket will compete with rivals Asda, Tesco and in particular Sainsbury’s “on a level” for the first time.
Managing director Mark Price told Marketing Week that this week’s soft launch will see thousands of products available on a “click and collect” basis whereby customers can order products online and collect at Waitrose stores.
Price says the range of products will scale-up towards Christmas and expand further next year, which will also be available for home delivery via Waitrose Deliver outside of London.
The deal between the sister companies will see John Lewis receive a percentage for each sale via Waitrose.com or in the small number of physical stores that will carry an extended non-food range supplied via John Lewis.
The deal also means John Lewis will only sell exclusively via Waitrose online in the UK alongside its current existing home delivery service via Johnlewis.com.
Price says the Waitrose click and collect service, which is similar to the current Argos offering, will be available to about 90% of the UK.
He adds that the move is designed to serve and grow the number of customers who shop at both retail brands regularly, which currently represents about 27% of the group’s total customer base.
“The idea that retailers can offer certain types of products via a particular channel is outdated, customers want and expect convenience, and that’s what this move will mean,” says Price.