John Lewis & Partners

  • RETAIL SEGMENT: Department Store
  • PRODUCT: Recommend and Advanced Merchandising
  • CHALLENGE: Greater understanding of customers and their shopping missions. Insights and fast learning on best performing personalisation strategies
  • RESULTS: Detailed insight into customer behaviour through programme of testing and optimisation

“RichRelevance gives us the ability to easily and confidently test new ideas and strategies which is invaluable to our learning as we seek to continually improve our knowledge of what our customers engage with and what improves their experience”

– Stelios Nikolidakis
Partner and Personalisation Manager, John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis & Partners is a department store with 51 locations, known for its fashion, beauty, homeware and technology. At the heart of the success of John Lewis & Partners is their ambition to better understand their customers’ needs. John Lewis & Partners leverages data to identify shopping missions and trends to continuously drive a better customer experience.

John Lewis & Partners has been a RichRelevance customer since 2011 utilising personalisation across their desktop and mobile sites to deliver the most relevant shopping experiences possible using RichRelevance’s Xen AI and machine learning.

To ensure constant innovation and improved customer experiences, John Lewis & Partners has always sought to continually test and optimise their personalisation applications and placements. With the RichRelevance personalisation platform they are able to quickly test and uncover insights about what works and what doesn’t.

As an innovator in personalisation, John Lewis & Partners was eager to be one of the first RichRelevance customers to test and deploy image based recommendations. Via the RichRelevance Data Science Workbench, in conjunction with Clarifai, John Lewis & Partners leveraged image based AI to enhance recommendations across key categories including dresses, men’s shirts and home. The image based recommendations display suggestions based on matches in colour, patterns, etc.

The John Lewis & Partners team works closely with RichRelevance expert personalisation consultants to continually test initiatives and try new strategies aimed at improving their customer experience. John Lewis & Partners is keen to find out which personalisation strategies and placements perform best. Some of their unique tests and results have included:

  • Increase Cross-Selling: Interested in increasing accessories sales, John Lewis & Partners leveraged Advanced Merchandising to recommend a related item on the product item page immediately after a shopper adds an item to cart. This placement really resonated with John Lewis & Partners customers, it received high engagement with +4.2 % click thru rate , plus a 23 x higher propensity to purchase compared to the site average.
  • Clearance Boost: During a Clearance event John Lewis & Partners boosted Clearance items in recommendations on Offers pages to customers who previously showed affinities for offers. This resulted in increased engagement with Clearance lines, providing great insight and learning for future events.
  • New Items: In order to personalise the experience on the ‘New In’ womenswear category, John Lewis & Partners added a placement at the top of the category listing page that only displayed personalised recommendations. This placement saw higher engagement than with the top row of the category listing, increased overall basket adds and basket adds per session.

“Due to the breadth of our assortment coupled with the range of shopping missions our customers are on, we use a test and learn approach to better understand our customers and learn how we can provide them with a best in class experience with John Lewis & Partners. Having the RichRelevance personalisation platform helps automate and enhance our learning through AI and data science, enabling us to learn faster and make quicker decisions.” Commented Gabriella Frankl, Partner + CRM Team Manager at John Lewis & Partners.

More recently as part of their digital strategy for their in-store initiatives, John Lewis & Partners enhanced their Partner App with personalisation. The Partner App, which was originally launched in 2017 enables partners to better serve customers in-store through instant stock checking, ordering items, browsing the entire John Lewis assortment, doing product comparisons and sharing products by email, now also utilises the RichRelevance AI- driven personalised recommendations. Rolled out across 2000+ devices throughout their 51 shops, RichRelevance insights give partners a direct route to cross-sales during their conversations with customers, helping partners improve the customer experience by steering them towards the right products faster.

Overall John Lewis & Partners has proved to be a highly inventive retailer, at the forefront of innovation, always excited about the opportunity to test new technologies and ideas. By placing customers at the heart of everything John Lewis & Partners does, they are rewarded with great customer loyalty, trust and of course tremendous success.


Shop Direct

  • RETAIL SEGMENT: Pureplay Department Store
  • PRODUCT: Personalization Consultancy
  • CHALLENGE: Not satisfied with the out of the box improvements, Shop Direct sought the help of the RichRelevance personalization consultants to optimize implementation and maximize results from their personalization initiative.
  • RESULTS: 2.5% lift in revenue per visit (Electrical Category)

Shop Direct is the second largest pureplay retailer in the UK with brands including and Littlewoods.

Shop Direct has been working with RichRelevance since 2014. They selected RichRelevance as a forward thinking technology partner who understood the needs of the customer and was able to provide personalization at all parts of the customer journey.

Over the past two and a half years, RichRelevance has grown to account for just over 6% of Shop Direct’s increasing sales, which are now almost £1.9 billion.

With an experimental test and learn culture, Shop Direct wanted to get more than the out of the box improvements they were seeing from the RichRelevance personalization platform. In August 2016 they commissioned a consulting engagement with the objective to optimize placements and maximize the results from their personalization initiative. In addition they sought technical assistance on implementation methods across the Shop Direct sites and

Measures of success

RichRelevance first undertook an assessment of the site, which included an implementation health check and a review of manually created rules. As a result, enhancement opportunities were identified and outdated rules were cleaned up. Improvements were made to enable Shop Direct to update additional placements more quickly as well as adding more parameters as a default.

Another element to the project was supporting the implementation of advanced merchandising. RichRelevance data analysts built specific reports to show the value of the advanced merchandising rules. Additionally, the personalization consultant provided advice on best practice implementation.

Having an implementation free from technical issues as well as using RichRelevance best practice was the optimal foundation for moving to the next step: the optimization.

Optimization Work

The first step in the optimization plan was to test the RichRelevance best practice strategies verses the current Shop Direct strategies. Four tests were carried out on the cart and item pages. The results indicated comparable or small lifts for the best practice strategies. While it showed that the current strategies were working well, it offered alternative strategies for Shop Direct to utilize if they wanted to.

After completing the site-wide strategy tests, the next step was to narrow the scope to category level. The first test ran on the Electrical category. When certain strategies were preferred, Shop Direct saw a 2.5% lift in revenue per visit. Other category tests are still ongoing.

“We very much see the consulting engagement as a long term optimization partnership for continual improvements across the Shop Direct ecommerce sites”, commented Kathryn Jones, Findability Manager at Shop Direct. “It’s as important to Shop Direct to find out what doesn’t work as well as what does, but to do so quickly and efficiently. By utilizing the skills of the RichRelevance personalization team we were able to tap into their expertise of both personalization and the RichRelevance platform which meant we progressed quicker.”

“We work with our RichRelevance consultant on a weekly basis as a sounding board for both ideas and advice on how to best set up rules and strategies to support our business objectives. This has been very helpful and worked really well for us”, added Isobel Gerrard, Product Recommendations Analyst, Shop Direct.

The optimization efforts continue and Shop Direct is now looking at new on site placements, email implementation and ‘build your own’ strategies.