Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
The retail chain says that store pickup accounts for 35% of online sales.
For John Lewis, the London-based department store chain, 35% of its sales on JohnLewis.com go to customers who order online for in-store pickup, I.T. director Paul Coby said this week at the Oracle Retail CrossTalk conference in Chicago.
Click and collect, as the service is known in the United Kingdom, is “growing like gangbusters,” Coby said. He added in an interview that customers tend to spend more inside stores when picking up online orders, even though John Lewis has done little to promote its click-and-collect service. He didn’t specify the increase in in-store spending.
The service lets shoppers choose to pick up orders placed on JohnLewis.com from 270 store locations, including 39 John Lewis stores and 231 Waitrose supermarkets. Waitrose is a division of John Lewis parent John Lewis Partnership, No. 13 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Europe 500.
Coby said that total sales on JohnLewis.com increased 41% year over year for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, to slightly under 1 billion pounds (US$1.52 billion). John Lewis expects online sales to continue growing rapidly, and projects annual web sales to reach about 2.4 billion U.K. pounds (US$3.67 billion) by 2020.
The John Lewis chain includes 30 full-line stores and nine that focus on home furnishings and consumer electronics. The chain reported total sales of 3.78 billion pounds for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, with sales on JohnLewis.com accounting for 25%, or 959 million pounds (US$1.46 billion), up about 41% from 681 million pounds. (US$424.3 million) the prior year.
To support online and multichannel sales, the retailer is addressing three major areas of technology, Coby said. It relaunched its e-commerce site on Oracle Corp.’s ATG platform in February, replacing an internally customized site that John Lewis developed in 1999 on e-commerce technology it acquired from the U.K. operation of the former Buy.com e-commerce site. It’s also deploying a new store point-of-sale system from PCMS Datafit. John Lewis also might deploy an enterprise resource planning system from Oracle that would add retail merchandising and other applications to its existing Oracle financial and human resources applications.
The retailer expects those technologies to help further improve how it can plan inventory, and run effective merchandising and marketing campaigns that target consumers across retail channels, Coby said. The completed system will enable, for example, John Lewis to maintain a single view of customer transaction data and inventory across retail channels, and then craft better cross-channel promotional campaigns.
The retailer has found that Oracle’s technology architecture can support integration across Oracle applications as well as with other vendors’ technology. Coby added, however, that he’s unsure how much the retailer will have to spend to fine-tune that level of integration.
Mark Hurd, Oracle’s co-president, says Oracle has improved its middleware software technology, which is designed to make make it easier for software applications to work together. Oracle is ranked second overall among companies listed in Internet Retailer’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers.