The Thoughtworks Customer Technology Innovation of the Year went to John Lewis for its mobile app that solved the customer frustration of forgetting physical loyalty cards and receipts in-store.
When discussing John Lewis’s launch of digital loyalty cards and store receipts into its mobile app, one of the judges observed that “sometimes technological innovations that solve the simplest problems have the biggest reach”.
“It feels ahead of the curve – the ease and its focus on helping customers feels really strong”
Developed directly in response to staff insight that customers frequently forgot to bring their loyalty cards or fumbled when trying to retrieve them at the till, the new feature was designed to eliminate poor customer experience and reduce delays.
Feedback also showed people often returned items without the receipt, having lost or forgotten it.
Coupled with data showing that customers using the app are John Lewis’s most loyal, with more than half of them also members of the ‘myJohn Lewis’ loyalty scheme, the retailer sought to solve frustrating in-store problems by integrating digital loyalty cards and store receipts into its apps.
“It feels ahead of the curve,” said one judge. “The ease of it and its focus on helping customers feels really, really strong.”
The my John Lewis card is now easily accessible within the app and, as most smartphone users carry their device at all times, it is usually to hand when at the till.
“I have a John Lewis card and I never, ever, remember it, so to actually put something in place to prevent having to carry bits of plastic around makes life so much easier”
An increased scan rate means customers are getting more benefits, while John Lewis is collecting more accurate data on purchases.
Speaking from personal experience, another judge said: “I have a John Lewis card and I never, ever, remember it, so to actually put something in place to prevent having to carry bits of plastic around makes life so much easier.
“John Lewis has recognised a basic problem – that customers forget their cards and that it is slowing down the tills when people try to find them.
“Importantly, it has also recognised that if it loses out on that data capture at the till, John Lewis can’t have such a fulfilling personal relationship with those customers in the future.”
Alongside the digital loyalty card is the ‘kitchen drawer’ feature, which automatically saves in-store receipts and guarantees, together with records of online orders.
All of the information can be accessed across multiple channels, but John Lewis also paid “special attention” to building these functions into its pre-existing smartphone apps – with an all-important offline mode – to give an “excellent customer experience and the ultimate convenience”.
The judges found this to be “simple and effective” and a clever solution to a genuine customer frustration.
“Capturing all the receipts and guarantees so customers can throw all the paper away is the final piece. I think it is a very neat innovation. It is simple and solves a simple problem.”
The initiative was a collaborative effort, bringing together members of marketing, customer relationship management, user experience, design, product and technology teams, with input from key consultants and external partners.
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