John Lewis has revealed its plans for a staff app in a bid to strengthen its multichannel capabilities.

The department store chain, which is known for its customer service and multichannel expertise, will equip 8,000 staff across 20 stores with an iPhone loaded with the Partner App.

The tech roll-out, which represents a £4m investment, means that customers will no longer have to wait for staff to visit stock rooms or tills to find the information they need.

It lets staff check stock availability in all shops and at John Lewis’s Milton Keynes warehouse, from which its online orders are fulfilled; allows them to email customers; check customer reviews and to place orders.

Tried and tested

John Lewis built the app in-house, using feedback from its Cambridge store, where staff tested the app over five months.

John Lewis customer director Craig Inglis said: “As online and physical worlds increasingly come together, this initiative, which forms the foundation of our digital strategy for shops, will support our partners in offering great customer service in a digital world.

“During the trial in our Cambridge store, customer feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It consistently speeded up response times to customer queries as partners didn’t need to leave the customer to find answers, or complete a purchase.

“This is just the beginning. We will keep adding to the Partner App in the future with new, innovative ways to help our customers.”