John Lewis is implementing an order management system to improve its ordering and returns operation in an effort to offer a seamless service across its shopping channels.

The system, to be implemented by Sterling Commerce, will bring its ordering systems, which run on two platforms at present, under just one platform. The department store chain hopes the system will make orders and returns easier to deal with, and said the move is intended to support future growth.

John Lewis - which wants to more than double its online business - said the system is vital for an efficient multichannel proposition.

John Lewis head of multichannel Simon Russell said: “For us as a business it will give us a more efficient back-end system so we can be quicker in bringing orders to customers. It gives us a platform for further enhancements as technology moves on.”

Although John Lewis customers are already able to order online and pick up in stores, the single platform means tracking the order and answering questions on it through any channel will be far easier, said Russell.

“It will be a real benefit as delivery is right at the heart of our trading policy,” said Russell. “Customers will demand more and we want to be ahead of the game.”

According to Russell, 50% of John Lewis’s customers research online before they buy in stores, and 20% look at products in stores before buying them online.

The implementation will take up to two years.

John Lewis will open its second home store in Croydon this autumn. The 52,000 sq ft shop will be located on a site owned by Tesco on Purley Way. John Lewis said it remains committed to opening a full-line department store in Croydon.