Tuesday, 11 April 2017

John Lewis and the Promotional Mix

If you read my previous posts, you will be aware that I looked into Missguided’s promotional mix and how they use it.  In this post, I am going to be looking into a more traditional store to see how their promotional mixes differ.  This store is the UK’s biggest department store, John Lewis.  Before I jump right into their promotional mix, here is a little insight to who John Lewis are – if you don’t know who they are or what they do. 

John Lewis was set up in 1864 by John Spedan Lewis and was originally based in Oxford Street, London.  In 1928, after the death of the owner, the department store was left ownership to John Lewis’ son, Spedan Lewis.  With his son in charge, the partnership was reformed into a public company.  As owner, Spedan ensured that his employees would receive the profits that the company made.  This vision is still present today as sales people are ‘partners’ of the store and receive a percentage of the department stores annual gross sales, additional to their salary.  With over 30 department stores, 11 John Lewis at home shops, their online website and catalogue, as well as 343 Waitrose supermarket stores, John Lewis is the UK’s leading department storeAs a department store, John Lewis sell various different products.  The products they sell range from home, fashion and technology – whilst also selling food through their supermarket, Waitrose. 

John Lewis’ main form of advertising takes place in the form of TV advertising.  Every year – since around 2007 – John Lewis have been well-known for their Christmas adverts.  These adverts are usually released on their social media – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – a day before they are aired on any TV channel.  Unlike a lot of companies, John Lewis’ adverts aren’t there to promote a new product.  Their adverts are simply there to promote the brand/remind customers of the brand, and at Christmas time this is increasingly important to do, so customers buy with them over their customers.  Their Christmas adverts more recently have been teased online before the release with the use of hashtags and Twitter accounts being made relating to the advert.  The John Lewis Christmas adverts are always eagerly anticipated by consumers who want to find out the story in their ads.  You can watch their previous Christmas ads from 2007 – 2017 below.  (My personal favourite is Monty the Penguin).

Direct Marketing
John Lewis do not make use of direct marketing as much as they do with advertising.  They use it to a certain extent but not as much as they could.  The form of direct marketing that they use is emails.  They send these emails to customers who have previously bought products from them online or customers who have signed up to their newsletter.  John Lewis use this to send news and offers to customers to make them aware of things that are happening within the business or to inform them of new products/sales that they have on at that time.  That is the extent of their direct marketing that they use.

Personal Selling
Personal selling is used by John Lewis every day as the partners of the store try to ensure that each customer receives a personal experience.  Partners will help customers with any queries they have about a product and ensure that they focus solely on that customer to try and get them to buy a product.  John Lewis customers have excellent knowledge and expertise in order to gain a sale from a customer.  The biggest personal selling tool that John Lewis make use of, however, is the use of personal selling in woman’s wear.  In this department, the store has personal shopper which is used to give customers a unique shopping experience.  With the personal shopper, the customer tells the employee within the personal styling team what kind of clothing they are interested in and the personal stylist will try find outfits based on what they think they will like.  This personal selling technique gives the customer a different experience that is unique to them.

Public Relations
John Lewis make use of press releases as part of their public relations strategy.  The company will release these to give information about new products they have on sale, things that are happening within their stores or if they are planning on refurbishing/opening a new store.  These press releases are to give the public information as to what the store is doing to keep them up-to-date on everything that is going on.  Journalists will often write reviews or articles based on the press release provided by John Lewis.  They also make use of social media as part of their PR strategy.  Customers can leave comments and reviews about their experience which allows John Lewis to interact with their customers and help with any queries.  Social media is also a key tool used alongside their advertising as consumers will often share their Christmas adverts and get the word out about it.  Another form of PR used is in the form of reviews on their website.  Customers can leave ratings and comments about products on the website which can often encourage or put off customers from buying products with John Lewis.  PR allows customers to give their honest opinions and views about John Lewis. 

Sales Promotion
John Lewis make use of sales promotion also.  They often have seasonal sales, for example at Christmas time, to encourage consumers to buy with them instead of their competitors.  Their Christmas sales are amongst the most popular sales they have in store because consumers are often drawn to them from their Christmas advertisements.  John Lewis also make use of price matches.  This is when one of their competitors is offering a product at a lower price, John Lewis will try to match their price to encourage the loyalty of their customers.  As well as this, John Lewis have a ‘special offers’ section on their website which tells customers all the offers that they have on at that time.  This encourages consumers to buy with them because they can always see what deals and offers John Lewis have on at that time.  Customers love getting products for a cheaper price/on a deal, so buy having this function it will encourage sales on the website.

So that is all for this week!  Do you think John Lewis promotional mix work for them or should they change it to keep up with the times?  Feel free to leave a comment - and let me know your favourite John Lewis Christmas ad!


  1. I agree with you that John Lewis are one of the pioneers of "event advertising" - everyone waits eagerly for their Christmas ad to come out - and they combine it really well with PR in terms of social media. They're very clever about generating hype here, and then will often use the ad to sell spin-off products too. All in all, genius from what was a very traditional company. My favourite is The Long Wait, what is it that you liked about Monty so much?

  2. The Long Wait is also one of my favourites but I just love the story that goes with Monty the Penguin. I think it has been their best advert from the past couple of years.