John Lewis 2014 Shopping Report

We think this is gold.

We were just about to go "Live" with an article based on "How We Shop, Live & Look" by John Lewis, one of UK's leading High Street retailers.  

Yes, the report was dated November 2013 but we still thought there were lots of good and current learnings for local retailers. 

On Monday, we were checking the link to the full report and... they'd released the 2014 version report!

So, we had to go back to the drawing board somewhat.There was more detail on specific products but also really interesting facts on their online and offline shopping. Where relevant, we've also referred to the 2013 material.

Below are some of the highlights we found. There's also a link at the end for those who want to read the full doco (don't be confronted by the 24 page pdf; there's lots of infographics, charts and full-colour block title pages).

The omnichannel approach allows the purchasing route to flow seamlessly...

Omnichannel marketing

In 2013, CEO Andy Street observed "There's no set path to purchase from John Lewis. The omnichannel approach we've developed and refined allows the purchasing route for any item to flow seamlessly across online, mobile and shops."

In the 2014 report that shows no sign of changing.

Even today, though, 86% of all shopping transactions still involve a physical shop. Of the permutations that exist, customers behaved as follows:

  • Research in a shop, buy in a shop - 50%
  • Research online, buy in a shop - 23%
  • Research online, buy online - 14%
  • Research in a shop, buy online - 12%

Just Out Of Interest

In amongst other multichannel facts and figures we found the busiest days online for:

  • Considered "investment" purchases - Friday (followed by Saturday)
  • All categories of products combined - Sunday (followed by Monday)

And, while not exhaustive, their online shopping "daily timeline" indicated category popularity:

  • Nursery items (sleep deprived parents) - 4am
  • Dream fashion piece (post-party) - 5am
  • Cutlery (looking forward to lunch) - 11am
  • Men's shoes (after a day in the office) - 6pm
  • Beds (as thoughts turn to sleep) - 9pm

53 per cent of online traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets, up from 42% last year.

Mobile Overtakes Desktop As Driver To Online

Within the John Lewis customer base, 53 per cent of online traffic now comes

from smartphones and tablets, up from 42% last year. Mobile's position for this purpose is unassailable - at least until the next wave of technology!

Fashion is a key driver of sales for mobile, as people love to browse on their tablets,

at their leisure.

[B&T, in their Aug/Sep edition, predicted that the much-heralded "Year of the Mobile" might finally be here and supports the assertion with numerous studies and factoids. The more cynical marketer may point to the volume of sales that can be directly attributed to mobile, but don't underestimate the value of the person who browses on their mobile or tablet before going on to their larger format device to place an order or, of course, into the shop.]

Unless you are a major retailer, you may have found the price of creating a mobile app prohibitive, but with scalable apps available (such as our own Caszine catalogue app), price should no longer be a factor for creating an on-going presence in this all-important medium.

Catalogues and Their Place at John Lewis

In 2013, catalogues were specifically called out as a major driver for furniture purchases.

"Getting inspiration from our catalogues may be a starting point when buying a sofa, followed by comparing prices on a tablet at home, then visiting a shop to check the fabric texture and feel and to ask for advice from a John Lewis Partner (staff member). Equipped with the information they need, customers may decide to go home, mull over the decision, make the purchase ...or go back to order in-store," CEO Andy Street said back then. 

While the issue wasn't addressed in 2014, everything we've seen this year points to the medium still being a strong driver to online and store (see related articles).

The reason why catalogues are still around, despite predictions of their demise, is that they are now seen as an important touch-point in your customers' multi-faceted buying journey. 

Catalogue marketers are now creating catalogues with more content-rich, engaging presentations.
We've been observing international trends (confirmed by Hanover Research), which suggest that catalogues give online retailers a tangible presence in an increasingly digital world. Catalogue marketers are now creating catalogues with more content-rich, engaging presentations, giving the reader a lot more information than just product features and price. 

What Else Is In The Report?

We won't try to cover the findings for individual product categories; we'll leave those for you to discover yourselves, as appropriate. But, for an overview, they covered:

  • How We Lived at Home - beds, in particular
  • How We Lived with Tech - The Connected Home becomes a reality
  • How We Cooked - behind the UK's top 5 must-have kitchen gadgets
  • How Little Ones Lived - how they looked, how parents shopped for them
  • How She Looked - 3 looks that defined the year
  • How He Looked - tailored or bold; then there's the underwear...
  • How We Looked: Beauty & Grooming - the Home Spa revolution continues
  • What We Left Behind - who would have thought the "onesie" would have been a flash in the pan?
  • How We Will Shop - virtual meets the shop, local artisans bring community to major retail.

About John Lewis

John Lewis has annual gross sales of over £10bn. It's the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership where all 84,700 staff are Partners in the business - and that's another story.

View or download the full report "How We Shop, Live and Look 2014"

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