John Lewis & Partners has lined up six startups for its Jlab innovation programme, after more than 160 businesses applied to its experiential technology accelerator.
A panel of judges heard pitches from 11 startups earlier this month, offering up new ways to navigate stores from a mobile phone or interact with digital screens without needing to touch them.
The final six will now enter further discussions with John Lewis about a potential partnership. Previous winners of Jlab accelerators, such as last year's iteration on plastic waste, have led to trials of technology across Waitrose and John Lewis stores, as well as funding.
John Lewis' customer experience director Peter Cross told City A.M. that given the current state of the UK's retail environment, the company wanted to ensure it cast the net "as broad as possible".
"As far as John Lewis is concerned, the sweet spot is the place where human meets digital technology," he said.
"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."
Here are the six finalists that made the cut for this year's challenge:
|Name||Location||What do you do?|
|Seloy Live||Helsinki||We transform shop windows into huge interactive displays which customers can engage with and control from their fingertips.|
|Oriient||Tel-Aviv||Oriient ensures customers can navigate directly to the products they desire in our shops and unlock further exploration of the store experience through their smartphone.|
|Ruuby||London||Ruuby allows customers to book the very latest beauty treatments at home, or any other location they choose - office, shop and even a hotel.|
|Memomi||Palo Alto||Memomi enable customers to virtually try on a huge array of fashion and beauty products, providing an innovative way for customers to navigate choice and access truly personalised recommendations based on their detailed image profile and preferences.|
|Makers Cafe||London||Makers Cafe is dialling up personalisation through 3D printing and laser cutting on customers' most-loved products and gift purchases.|
|Lettus Grow||Bristol||Lettus Grow is embracing the use of retail space in their pursuit of a more sustainable approach to farming, and as a route to reinvigorating communities, through the shared joy of growing. Its technology, through the growing of plants without soil anywhere in the world, is set to reimagine the world of farming and community gardening.|