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John Lewis backs bricks-and-mortar innovation

The John Lewis Partnership has shortlisted six entrepreneurs focused on transforming the in-store experience for its JLab retail innovation programme.

Of more than 160 submitted entries, 11 were invited to pitch for a panel of 10 judges at the John Lewis & Partners store in Southampton. Those selected explored the new role for bricks-and-mortar stores in the developing retail market, ranging from new ways to navigate larger stores on smartphones, to pioneering technologies that create “urban allotments” within shops.

The six shortlisted entrepreneurs have been invited to continue discussions with the department store chain’s JLab with the potential to work for the partnership in the future.

Among the shortlisted proposals is SeloyLive, a visual merchandising technology that has developed augmented-reality interactive store windows that customers can control with their fingertips. Tapping into the trend for personalised digital fit, the MemoMi smart-mirror software allows customers to try on fashion and test beauty products virtually.

The customer experience director at John Lewis & Partners, Peter Cross, said: “Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail. Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, with a new benchmark in customer expectation every time they shop. We believe the dynamic new businesses selected for further discussions with JLab will help us continue to stretch, shape and deliver together for our customers in the future.”

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