John Lewis to offer free Wi-Fi in all stores

John Lewis claims it is going to become the first retailer to offer free Wi-Fi access to customers in all its stores.

John  Lewis: aims to offer free Wi-Fi access in all its stores
John Lewis: aims to offer free Wi-Fi access in all its stores

The retailer says the initiative fits in with its 'Never knowingly undersold' commitment, because the Wi-Fi access will allow customers to surf the web to compare prices against its competitors.

If customers find a better offer from a competitor with a high-street presence, John Lewis will match the price. However, the commitment does not extend to pure-play internet retailers, including Amazon.

The service has been trialled in its Peter Jones store in London's Sloane Square this week and a spokeswoman says the retailer hopes it will be rolled out to all stores by Christmas.

John Lewis hopes the move will capitalise on the boom in m-commerce as it moves to become a fully multi-channel retailer.

Each brand will have "digital champions" in-store, who will help customers shop online. This forms part of the retailer's backing for the government’s Race Online initiative, which encourages people to use the internet.

The service is available to all customers who register once with an email address, and the provision of an email address will automatically sync the user’s mobile with their My John Lewis purchase history and Wish List data stored on their home computers.

John Lewis is also developing an iPhone app offering a number of features including product reviews and video content, but has not yet set a release date.

The retailer will use BT’s Openzone service to provide Wi-Fi access via a wireless-enabled PC, tablet or smartphone.

Paul Corby, John Lewis IT director, said: "This is a major development in John Lewis’s vision for multi-channel retail – we have made great progress with online which is now growing at between 25% and 30% compared to last year, and amounts to circa 20% of our revenue."
 
Follow Matthew Chapman on Twitter @mattchapmanuk


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