UK department store chain John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners is set to open its first experimental concept shop tomorrow in its Southampton store.
The concept shop will offer customers access to a number of ‘experience playgrounds’ and experts such as interior designers, gardeners, gadget specialists, personal stylists, make-up artists, chefs and wine connoisseurs. If the trial is successful the concept could be introduced in stores across the country.
In-store specialists will advise customers on what choice is right for them from beauty regimes and what to have in their wardrobe to making the perfect dinner party and redesigning their living space.
The new shop will also include the first Waitrose & Partners Cookery School that will offer customers cookery classes. Pop-up workshops including barista and photography courses will take place across the store and there will be opportunities for customers to learn new skills such as wreath-making and modern calligraphy.
During the Christmas period, the Waitrose Cookery School will teach customers how to make gingerbread and yule logs. Expert Partners – John Lewis’ owner-employees – will also give advice on how to decorate a Christmas tree or find the perfect party outfit.
‘Stay and Play areas’ will be allow customers to experiment with make-up and gadgets on offer.
John Lewis & Partners customer experience director Peter Cross said: “Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in as many areas of their lives as we possibly can – in a way that is uplifting and inspiring. We know that shopping for a new gadget or beauty product can be a daunting experience, with so much choice on offer. We want to help navigate customers through that. Our new concept shop is an example of how we’re reinventing the department store of the future to make us stand out from the competition.”