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Every now and then I get an email from John Lewis about their private shopping events, that usually get deleted straight away. Why on earth do I want to go shopping at 8pm when I could be on the couch with a G&T? This time it was different, I saw their email pop into my inbox, I opened it and I read it – I don’t know why but I did. As I read it, I thought, this sounds like something my mum would love, so I clicked through and booked our attendance straight away.

10 years ago, the thoughts of going into John Lewis – or George Henry Lee as it was called in Liverpool, filled me with dread, bringing back memories of my childhood, trawling around the soft furnishings department with my Mum and Nan on a busy Saturday afternoon. For some bizarre reason, that was the designated meeting point.

Once I got into my late 20’s I started to ‘pop in to’ John Lewis every now and then, coming to the realisation that it’s not so bad, they have everything under one roof, and it has a nice enough café – is this the start of middle age? So, on a whim I signed up to the My John Lewis loyalty program and had yet another card to add to my collection and an app to download. I’ve never thought much about my membership, I think I’ve only ever used my free hot drink and cake voucher once, but every time I’m in store I get my card scanned, more out of habit than anything else.

My John Lewis

You don’t get points on this loyalty program, there are sometimes deals that appeal to me, and the odd competition I enter (when I remember to.) Here’s the thing though, I like the idea of having all my e-receipts in one place. The ‘Kitchen Draw’ aspect is brilliant, it doesn’t clutter up my email and I can bin the paper receipt (sorry, I mean, recycle.) I also like the fact that the card is loaded onto the app, so you don’t have to carry it around in your purse with the 3 million other loyalty cards you have! H&M do this too, I love their loyalty program, but that’s for another time.

I digress; the point I’m trying to make is that the VIP shopping event was actually very good. There was a queue to get in, but we waited no more than 5 minutes to get through the door. Our plan of action to start at the top and work our way back down was halted slightly by the prosecco and mince pies that being handed out on the second floor, which coincidentally was right by the furniture section so us shoppers could sit down and enjoy ourselves before spending the cash.

john-lewis-eventOnce we made it up to the top floor where the Christmas decorations were on sale, I managed to get exactly what I went in for – a couple of baubles and some wrapping paper. All with 30% off I might add. Bonus.

Throughout the store, there were product demonstrations, staff were very cheerful and friendly, considering many of them had been on their feet all day and I waited no longer than a few minutes at the till to be served. My only gripe was that the poor lady serving me had to go into each item individually to take off the 30% discount which was slightly time consuming; surely the powers that be in head office could have made sure all promotions were live on the till beforehand?

By the time we’d hit the ground floor I was tired and just wanted to go home, my mum on the other hand was still darting all over the homeware department like a sugar filled kid in the toy section looking for something to buy. I suppose that’s a clever ploy, shoppers feel compelled to buy something because they’re allowed to shop after hours! They got £15 from my mum which she wouldn’t have spent if it was during the usual opening hours. Sorry mum xx

A shop for grown-ups

John Lewis is different. It’s not about discounts or VIP experiences, it’s the fact that if I buy something and it breaks, I know I can take it back, I know their guarantee is often better than other stores and I know that if I ask for help from a member of staff, nine times out of ten, they can help – and know what they’re talking about.

Shoppers want shopping to be easy and efficient. If I order something online and opt for click and collect, John Lewis have a well sign posted, designated collection area that you don’t have to walk through the whole shop to get to. If I find myself out shopping and gasping for a brew, I head to John Lewis (likewise if nature calls!).

For me, personally that’s the kind of loyalty I want from a retailer. They’re not a shop aimed at kids or Gen Z, it’s a department store for grown-ups, they adapt to the changes in what grown-up shoppers need and expect, I enjoy shopping there, which is why I probably still get my card swiped at the till. It would be rude not to.

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