Thursday 17 February 2022

John Lewis fulfilment – an unfulfilling customer experience

logoThere was a time not so very long ago when there was only one store we went to for almost anything we needed for our home: John Lewis. Fantastic selection, ‘guaranteed’ cheapest price on branded goods, great in-store service, and free delivery (in liveried vans).

If there was one niggle it was shopping in-store for delivery. First they had to process our payment in their POS system. Then they had to go to a different system to schedule the delivery. There was no link between the two systems so they had to manually key in the sales receipt number into the delivery system and then take our details (which now appear five times in their system).

Roll forwards to today. John Lewis still has an excellent selection. But the price guarantee has gone, in-store service is at best patchy and free delivery is restricted and partly outsourced.

What hasn’t changed is John Lewis’ fulfilment process. 

Last week I ordered cutlery, crockery and glassware from the John Lewis website. The cutlery and crockery was ‘in stock’ but not the glassware, for which I was invited to fill in an online form so that one of their stores could call me to see if any was available and arrange delivery.

A few hours later I got a call from John Lewis Westfield White City (our closest store) to say they had the glasses in stock and took payment (plus delivery fee) and details. Yesterday the glassware was delivered by DHL – accompanied by six A4 pages of delivery information – and one broken glass.

So I phoned the John Lewis call centre and explained the problem, only to be told, “they shouldn’t be sending breakable things from the stores as they don’t pack them properly”. And as they had no further stock at White City she would need to check other stores, so could she call me back as she needs to check another system. Which she did not long after, but to no avail. So she arranged a refund, which meant taking my details again as there was no link to their online ecommerce system.

Meanwhile, our crockery and cutlery arrived in perfect condition – by two different carriers on different days.

While competitors have invested in technology, infrastructure and process to support seamless, cost-efficient multi-channel shopping, evidently John Lewis hasn’t.

And you wonder why John Lewis is struggling with profits?

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:03'