John Lewis’s technology incubator scheme JLab has selected micro-location mobile start-up Localz as the winner of its competition to secure £100,000 of investment.
The Localz technology will make click-and-collect simpler and quicker for customers. It means that when a shopper walks into a store, their phone will connect with a micro-location beacon enabling the John Lewis app to help them find the click-and-collect point while alerting staff to tell them the customer has arrived so the product can be ready when they reach the desk.
The system will now be trialled in John Lewis stores.
The JLab scheme was set up in the spring to help John Lewis learn about, and benefit from, the latest technologies. Some 30 start-ups were selected from hundreds of entrants, with five finalists picked: Localz, Musaic, SpaceDesigned, Tap2Connect and Viewsy. The firms were given 12 weeks to develop their ideas with support from John Lewis mentors and external entrepreneurs.
John Lewis IT director Paul Coby said: “Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis and JLab, our first tech incubator, has given us a new way to explore the technologies that will change how we all shop in the future. It’s been a hugely rewarding and educational experience, drawing on a diverse group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and we have a very worthy winner who we’re looking forward to working with in the months ahead. I do very much believe that this is what our founder Spedan Lewis would be doing if he was around today.”
Tim Andrew, commercial director and co-founder of Localz, said: “The support and guidance that John Lewis provided throughout the incubation period helped us refine our offering for the European market. They also gave us access to successful entrepreneurs and mentors from diverse backgrounds and industries, which allowed us to accelerate our development.”