John Lewis Partnership has shortlisted a range of six start-ups as it finalises its innovative project to transform customers' bricks-and-mortar, in-store experience.

The six were chosen from 11 companies, who were invited to pitch to JL judges, The Drum reports.

Those selected give an intriguing glimpse of the way John Lewis is heading in terms of in-store transformation – and it’s all about personalisation and interactivity.

Finalists include Selvoy Live, a Finnish company specialising in the innovative presentation of shop windows, including interactive displays; Oriient, from Israel, that produces a customised smartphone app to guide customers around stores; and MemoMi from the US, a business that provides a virtual experience allowing customers to try recommended clothes virtually using a bespoke image and personalised data.

Other firms, who will be invited to have further discussions with the retailer, include Ruuby, which allows customers to book the latest beauty treatments from a location of their choice; MakersCAFE, specialising in 3D printing to personalise products and gift purchases; and LettUs Grow, which uses retail space to grow plants without soil, giving a new take on farming and gardening.

John Lewis says its JLab is “one of the largest innovation programmes in the UK”. It has now been expanded to run throughout the year.

“Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail,” John Lewis customer experience director Peter Cross said.

“Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, with a new benchmark in customer expectation every time they shop.

“Shops simply have no option but to inspire and delight customers – offering both fantastic products and personalised seamless experiences.

“We believe the dynamic new businesses selected for further discussions with JLab will help us continue to stretch, shape and deliver together for our customers in the future.”

The John Lewis brand has long been at the forefront of finding innovative and creative ways to talk to customers, most famously, perhaps, through its much-heralded, lengthy and expensively produced, Christmas TV ads.

But around 50% of sales now come from online sales, and the brand has been especially eager to marry the online and offline retail experience using a single overarching commercial strategy, as WARC has previously reported.

Sourced from The Drum, WARC