Over the past few years John Lewis has quickly become the go-to high street store for the latest and greatest technology. It was the first retailer to offer the Microsoft Surface and even launched its own range of smart TVs in association with LG.
Now the company is taking that one step further by opening the UK’s largest smart home technology experience at its flagship Oxford Street store.
The experience officially opened its doors on April 7 with 1,000sq-ft of space dedicated to all things smart home.
From an oven that enables users to put dinner on before they leave the office, to a bedside device that monitors the quality of sleep and a smart fridge which does the internet shopping for the user, a wide range of the latest cutting edge technology will be on display in an interactive, real-life home setting.
The move comes in response to an 81% increase in sales of smart home products in the past year at John Lewis.
Despite the futuristic nature of the products, when it comes to buying, seeing is believing and John Lewis believes its customers still need top quality customer service in stores. It is important for customers to touch and demo the technology with Partners in store before buying.
“We are seeking to demystify the latest smartest technology for our customers,” says Johnathan Marsh, buying director for electricals and home technology, John Lewis.
“In-store experiences are now key as we’ve seen customer demand for physical experiences before committing to purchase increase.
“To help customers understand which smart technology is for them, our partners have received extensive training to provide added value.
“Given our home and technology credentials, John Lewis is perfectly placed to support and lead the customer on the smart home journey.”
The 1,000sq-ft space is divided into four interactive zones: ‘Kitchen’, ‘Entertainment’, ‘Sleep’ and ‘Home monitoring’. These zones will demonstrate how customers can save time, effort and enhance their busy lifestyles by controlling their home through the touch of an App on their smart device.
Demos from specially trained partners will showcase how smart technology instinctively responds to human behaviour.
While the smart home alone is an impressive feat for John Lewis, the company has also revealed that it will debut Samsung’s Family Hub Smart Fridge, which was unveiled at CES, in the space for the first time in the UK.
The Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge comes with built-in touch screen which brightens up automatically as someone approaches. A set of cameras inside the door also allows users to save energy, as they don’t need to open the door to see the contents inside. Thanks to the fridge’s Internet connection, that exact same imagery can also be beamed to a user’s smartphone – useful when they’re at the supermarket and need to know whether they need milk or not.
It isn’t just kitchen appliances that can be programmed to undertake tasks. Also on show for the first time is the new S+ by ResMed, the world’s first non-contact sleep tracking system that helps analyse and improve quality of sleep. The ResMed S+ records light, noise and temperature conditions in bedrooms and syncs to smart devices to provide personalised feedback on how to improve sleep.
All products featured in the space will be available to purchase in-store and online at Johnlewis.com and the smart home experience will be rolled out to other shops across the UK starting with the new John Lewis Leeds store, scheduled to open in Autumn 2016.
John Vary, innovation manager, John Lewis, comments: “Smart home technology is designed to make life more convenient and the introduction of this new curated experience – the first on the high street – marks a brilliant step in innovation for John Lewis. Showcasing the latest smart products, this experience demonstrates in a real-life setting, how technology has exciting and far-reaching implications for today’s lifestyles.”
Customers will also benefit from the John Lewis Never Knowingly Undersold price promise, ensuring that products are available at the best price on the high street. All electricals come with John Lewis’s market leading two-year guarantee.
Products featured in the smart home experience include Philips Hue lighting; Sonos PLAY:5 Wireless Music System; Nest Protect 2nd Generation Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm; AEG BS8836880B ProCombi Plus Smart Oven and the Netatmo Welcome Home Camera with Face Recognition.