Inside John Lewis's most experience-led store to date

John Lewis is aiming to reflect the reality of the lives of its shoppers, customer director Craig Inglis told Campaign, as the retailer prepares to open its 50th store in White City, west London.

The shop is the anchor for a £600m expansion of Westfield London, which is set to become the biggest shopping centre in Europe. It follows in the footsteps of the Oxford John Lewis store, opened last October, which aimed to "reinvent the department store" by offering a wealth of experiences and personalised services.

The store "reflects our customers’ behaviour", Inglis said – "they want that exclusive product, they want curation, they want that much more one-to-one relationship."

Features of the store include John Lewis’s first "style studio", where shoppers can access five personal stylists – who have received training from Lucinda Chambers, former fashion director at Vogue – as well as attend daily talks on a range of fashion subjects.

The Experience Desk - the one-stop shop for booking in-store experiences

The brand is also introducing an app that allows customers to remain in touch with their stylists, who will be able to provide notifications when, for example, a new collection of a favourite brand comes into stock.

The app, which runs on the iPhones the business invested in for all partners last year, will later be extended to cover other services offered in-store, such as home design consultations.

Inglis said the new app would also interact with loyalty scheme My John Lewis. "The preferences we collect, we’ll cross reference into the My John Lewis insight we already have," he said. "What we’ll then be able to do is offer much more personalised rewards."

The bespoke customer collection point, designed to improve the experience of ordering online for in-store collection

It is the latest way the brand is using technology to expand the role played by individual partners, following "We are partners", the scheme to get staff involved in social media marketing, which is being rolled out to all stores following a trial.

"We’re a really human, warm brand, and the risk is we’re seen as slightly distant," Inglis said. "I want to unleash the people who work here because they really care about the place.

"Rather than all you hear from us is this sort of corporate John Lewis, you can actually hear a really personal story from the partners who run the business."

The Westfield extension, as seen from John Lewis, the day before opening

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