John Lewis is trying to get back on its feet by partnering with Google to drive its digital revamp, and shift away from high-street reliance.
Valued at £100m, the partnership aims to improve the efficiency of John Lewis and Waitrose employees, enabling them to provide a better customer experience.
It marks a “major expansion” of the company’s existing rapport with Google, which dates back to 2012.
“Investing in cutting edge technology is not just a choice, it’s a necessity for a modern retailer like us,” said Nish Kankiwala, chief executive at the John Lewis Partnership.
“Core to our strategy is building our technology infrastructure for the long term.”
In response to the partnership, Google Cloud boss Thomas Kurian said Google Cloud’s AI and ML tools will “deliver a better and more seamless experience for [John Lewis] customers.”
“We’re looking forward to an era of fresh innovation,” said Zak Mian, head of transformation and technology at the John Lewis Partnership.
Explaining what the technology could do for John Lewis, he said: “Imagine a world where a customer can use an image scanning feature in their John Lewis App to show our Home Design Stylists a room they’re looking to furnish, which tells us all we need to know about the intricacies of the space, layout and measurements.
“Not only does it save customers a lot of time and hassle, but even before the appointment we can take inspiration from their unique preferences and give tailored recommendations that can even complement products they already have.”
The Partnership, which includes department store John Lewis and grocery store Waitrose, has suffered financially over the last year – it posted a £234m loss in 2022.
The company’s weak performance of late has also been blamed on a difficult economic climate and its period of rapid expansion between 2000 -2015.