John Lewis plans to roll out free wi-fi services for customers visiting its stores.
The BT Openzone hot-spots will be rolled out to every branch by the end of this year, with the exception of the newly built stores in Tamworth and Chester, which will have to wait a little longer until spring 2012.
John Lewis noted that nearly two-thirds of customers now research products online before visiting an outlet to make a purchase. The retailer says that in-store wi-fi will allow shoppers to re-check online information, and consult reviews and ratings to finalise their decision while at the shelves.
The firm noted that it will also have “digital champions” in each branch to help folks get online to shop, as part of the government’s Race Online initiative.
While the wi-fi service will be completely free, it will require shoppers to register with an email address.
JL also has further mobile development plans, acknowledging the growing role m-commerce is playing in shopping. An iPhone app is currently in the pipeline, due to launch soon, most likely in time for Christmas.
The app will boast a number of features to aid customers in swiftly accessing information about John Lewis products, including product reviews and videos.
The IT Director at John Lewis, Paul Coby, commented: “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 per cent and 30 per cent compared to last year and amounts to circa 20 per cent of our revenue.”