Ian Golding Ian Golding Customer Experience Specialist and Director, Custerian
John Lewis’s omnichannel challenge

John Lewis’s omnichannel challenge

John Lewis, with its distinctive green and white logo has long been the undisputed retail King of customer satisfaction for many many years. Yet even John Lewis fail to master omnichannel with its channels still not yet integrated.

John Lewis’s online offer may look exactly the same as it’s in store offer, yet the two channels do not operate in the same way – and this is the greatest threat they have ever faced. At the moment, the Golding family are experiencing the problem first hand.

Two years ago we purchased some garden furniture from John Lewis – a table and six chairs. Naomi spotted the set in our local John Lewis store, and thought it would be perfect for our little garden. Whilst the table and chairs were spotted in person, we actually purchased them online as they were not available at the time in store. Last year we noticed that the table and four of the five chairs were starting to discolour. One of the chairs has still remained the pristine white it was on the day it arrived. The remainder of the set has completely rusted. Last weekend, we decided to go back to John Lewis to voice our disapproval – it is quite clear that there is an issue with the finish of the furniture.

The in store experience was good – despite us not having the receipt. Naomi was told that we should bring the table and chairs back – the assistant agreed that it was not acceptable. Naomi could not remember if we purchased the set online or in store, but she was told not to worry – bring them in. When she got home, Naomi checked back through our records. Eventually she found the online order – which confirmed the table and chairs were not purchased in store. Naomi contacted John Lewis online – by telephone – to check what we should do. The experience was very different.

Naomi was advised that she could NOT take the table back to the store as it was not purchased in store. She was told,

‘The in store and online businesses are different’

Not only that, Naomi was advised that no one could help her (on the Saturday she called) – she would have to wait until Monday to talk to someone about the issue. If Naomi had taken the table in store, she was advised that they would have sent her back home with it.

This is quite clearly a demonstration of a business that is not joined up. This is a demonstration of a lack of channel integration. Whether the table is legitimately ‘returnable’ is not the issue here. The issue is that we purchased a table from John Lewis. We want to return the table – what difference should it make how we choose to return it. We do not see John Lewis online being any different to the store – John Lewis is John Lewis.  Do you agree and have had a similar experienced? Share your views below.

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