John Lewis explores interactive window displays and urban allotments in next stage of JLab

Retailer has selected six businesses for latest round of retail innovation programme, now in its sixth year.

SeloyLive: based in Finland
SeloyLive: based in Finland

A business that turns shop windows into interactive displays that customers can control is among six companies chosen to take part in the latest round of John Lewis & Partners’ retail innovation programme, JLab.

SeloyLive, based in Finland, also creates non-interactive augmented windows, interactive mirrors and switchable glass.

More than 160 companies, including start-ups and more established businesses, entered the challenge, themed around the changing retail experience. Eleven of these were invited to pitch to a panel of judges and six have now been chosen to continue discussions and potentially collaborate with and win an investment from John Lewis Partnership.

The other five are:

  • Oriient, an indoor GPS system that helps shoppers navigate to the products they are looking for in-store

  • Ruuby, which lets users book beauty treatments at home or in another location

  • MemoMi, the "world’s most advanced digital mirror", which allows shoppers to virtually try on fashion and beauty products

  • MakersCafe, which facilitates experiential events using 3D printing and laser cutting/engraving

  • LettUs Grow, which develops technology for indoor farms that allows plants to grow without soil, meaning "urban allotments" can be created within shops

  • Peter Cross, customer experience director at John Lewis, said: "Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail.

    "Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, with a new benchmark in customer expectation every time they shop. Shops simply have no option but to inspire and delight customers, offering both fantastic products and personalised seamless experiences."

    JLab was founded in 2014 as an annual process lasting about 12 weeks. Last year, John Lewis changed the format of the initiative, splitting it into several themed challenges running throughout the year and involving sister brand Waitrose & Partners for the first time.

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