Marketing Brand Strategy Retail

Why John Lewis refocused around gifting ‘moments’

By Claire Pointon | Customer Director

September 6, 2022 | 5 min read

Claire Pointon, John Lewis’s customer director, talks The Drum through the retailer’s decision to replace the famous strapline ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ with ‘For All Life’s Moments.’

John Lewis

John Lewis is there for all the big occasions in life, such as Christmas

We’ve all heard the expression ‘seize the moment.’ It’s about enjoying the present and embracing all that life has to offer. At John Lewis we think this mindset has never influenced the actions of shoppers more than it does today.

We’ve spent the last year working with Verve on an in-depth study, which included analysis of the mindset and behavior of millions of customers, interviews with economists, psychologists and lifestyle experts, and analysis of over 20m social media data points.

Our findings show that the combination of a digital world in which people feel too busy to make the most of everyday moments and the societal shifts accelerated by Covid-19 have cemented our appreciation of the everyday.

While our customers are still marking the big milestones such as weddings and christenings, it’s clear there are more moments they want to celebrate. Just a generation ago baby showers were barely heard of, gender reveal parties didn’t exist and nobody would have dreamed of having a divorce party – but now all these events are part of life’s rich tapestry.

But our desire to embrace special moments in our lives has gone beyond the formal and organized occasion. The lockdowns of the last couple of years have meant that our diaries were full of empty space, and while we missed the social interactions, we realized what we value most – spending quality time with those closest to us.

We looked beyond the holidays, the weddings and the formal occasions to create our own special moments that were unique to us – having friends and family over for dinner or a BBQ, impromptu camping in the garden or pet birthdays.

As inflation rises, and the cost of living impact is felt even more keenly by more people, our sense is that this sentiment will become more important. Eight in 10 of the 5,000 people we recently surveyed agreed that happiness comes from the little, everyday moments in life; and the majority don’t expect this feeling to be dented by the cost of living crisis, as they don’t need to cost a fortune.

Rather than outsourcing their celebrations, people are turning to more personal or low-key moments at home or in nature, and are becoming more inventive about low-cost ways to come together or feel good.

At John Lewis, this has prompted us to rethink what we stand for as a business. We’re already synonymous with and trusted to help with the big occasions in life – Christmas, getting ready for a baby or a new home. From this week you’ll see our new promise to our customers. We want to be present ‘for all life’s moments,’ reflecting how we can be the place for customers to come to create more moments of joy.

With the breadth of our range, we really do have something for all life’s moments both big and small. We know that in tough times, our own brand becomes more important to our customers. Following the successful launch of Anyday, which attracted 1 million new customers, our next step has been to reimagine our John Lewis & Partners label for AW22.

A strong focus on in-house design across home and fashion has meant we have created timeless products that are made to last, created for the real moments in people’s lives: when customers tell us that their bed needs to be a place to promote deep sleep, but is also their Sunday brunch spot, our design teams have considered this.

Elsewhere, we’ll test a new store format that reimagines the traditional department store layout to make it easier for customers to find all of the things they need for the moment they are shopping for. Instead of sitting on different floors, pajamas, bedding and aromatherapy will be showcased in a sleep area.

It’s clear that our customers are seizing the moment – and so we are doing the same and repositioning our business to reflect what’s important to consumers.

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