The John Lewis Partnership, a renowned employee-owned association, has recently announced an extended partnership with Google Cloud. This new deal is worth an impressive £100 million ($127 million) and will span over the next five years. The collaboration between these two entities is considered a significant expansion of their successful relationship, which began in 2012.
According to the announcement made by the John Lewis Partnership, this strategic partnership with Google Cloud marks a crucial step forward in the association’s digital transformation efforts for its beloved brands, John Lewis and Waitrose. The ultimate goal is to provide customers with even more personalized experiences.
Under this expanded agreement, the retailer plans to migrate more of its technology infrastructure to Google Cloud. By leveraging advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies offered by Google Cloud, John Lewis aims to enhance efficiency and enable its staff, referred to as partners, to focus more on customer interactions. These cutting-edge tools will also empower partners to utilize data insights effectively in curating exceptional products and services.
Moreover, this investment in Google Cloud is deemed vital in elevating the retail experience provided by John Lewis across various platforms such as JohnLewis.com, Waitrose.com, and mobile apps developed by the company. Additionally, it will contribute to the realization of the retailer’s ambitious plan to establish a pan-Partnership loyalty program by 2024.
Nish Kankiwala, CEO of the John Lewis Partnership emphasized that investing in advanced technology has become essential for modern retailers like them. The core strategy of the association is centered around building long-term technological infrastructure that capitalizes on innovative solutions for their customers’ benefit.
Zak Mian, Director of Transformation and Technology at John Lewis Partnership further reiterated their commitment towards finding better ways of conducting business. He believes that today’s announcement signifies a significant milestone in their technology transformation journey and ensures that partners possess top-notch tools required for delivering personalized experiences through all channels.
Mian provided an example of how clients can utilize the image scanning feature on the John Lewis app to share details about a room they wish to furnish. This information, including space intricacies, layout, and measurements, allows John Lewis interior design stylists to offer personalized recommendations that complement the user’s existing products.
Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud expressed his admiration for the John Lewis Partnership’s dedication to customer service and their innovative approach towards reinventing their business practices. Leveraging Google Cloud’s advanced AI and machine learning tools is expected to transform the partner experience while delivering a seamless shopping journey for customers.
Apart from improving customer experiences, this partnership is also anticipated to generate cost savings and operational efficiencies for both John Lewis and Waitrose. These retailers have faced challenges in competing for customers during periods of economic uncertainty. By harnessing AI and machine learning algorithms, they aim to provide consumers with more personalized shopping experiences.
The John Lewis Partnership has been implementing a five-year turnaround plan as it strives to overcome financial difficulties. In its 2022-23 year, the association reported a loss of £234 million. To alleviate these challenges, it has explored various options such as seeking outside investment of up to £2 billion through selling a minority stake or even considering changes in its partner ownership model—though this option remains highly controversial.
To top it all off to these efforts, last year the association announced plans to expand beyond traditional high street retail by venturing into rental housing projects. The first proposed locations include building over Waitrose stores in Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London and replacing an empty John Lewis warehouse on Mill Lane, Reading(^1^).
The bottom line, the extended partnership between the John Lewis Partnership and Google Cloud represents a significant milestone in their digital transformation journey. By embracing cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning offered by Google Cloud, they aim to enhance customer experiences across multiple platforms while achieving cost savings and operational efficiencies. This collaboration highlights the retailer’s commitment to leveraging innovation for long-term success.
According to source familiar with the matter, this strategic partnership between the John Lewis Partnership and Google Cloud is expected to revolutionize their technological infrastructure and deliver exceptional customer experiences(^1^).
(1) Silicon UK: (John Lewis signs Google deal to utilize AI tech)(https://www.silicon.co.uk/e-innovation/artificial-intelligence/john-lewis-signs-google-deal-to-utilise-ai-tech-524664/amp)