News that John Lewis is poised to mock up try-before-you-buy in-store apartments shows it is making use of existing assets.
One of John Lewis’ more interesting ideas to surface recently was to use excess space in stores as co-working areas and although clarification remains to be given on this one, it is certainly indicative of a retailer thinking hard about the future.
Now news comes that in a few selected John Lewis branches ‘The Residence’ will be set up.
This will see a portion of a store turned into an apartment in which shoppers can test drive mattresses prior to purchase by overnighting and seeing how they slept.
This sounds like a win-win when compared with co-working.
Playing it safe
The beds are already in the stores and many people visit John Lewis to buy the necessaries for a decent night’s kip.
“John Lewis is formalising the trend and and has come up with something that is attention grabbing and potentially revenue generating”
This amounts to not much more than an extension of what is already there and avoids injecting an unknown into the equation.
This is also about making use of a store when it is closed to generate further profits, as well as creating an interior that can be shown off during the day – much like an Ikea roomset.
This idea is not new. There have been a number of instances involving rogue shoppers trying to get themselves locked into Ikea stores to spend the night in one of the comfy looking roomsets.
Now John Lewis is formalising the trend and and has come up with something that is attention grabbing and potentially revenue generating.
A cynic might say that this is in principle little less than a ‘hotel’, but if shoppers are allowed to try before they buy then this is instead an experience – albeit a dormant one.
The clever bit is that this is not about putting something totally alien into a place where it had not previously existed, but looking at what is there and considering what might be done to add value.
This is about as close as you can get to an in-store experience that does not equate to a whizz-bang showstopper that has little to do with being a retailer.
Other retailers would do well to emulate this modus operandi. The best starting point is to take stock of what you’ve got and to move on from there.