Marco Amasanti
Marco Amasanti is a Retail Analyst focusing on spending on the home, including DIY, electricals and furniture

John Lewis has launched a pop-up showroom to drive awareness of its ‘Anyday’ homewares range. The 4,277 sq ft store is located in St David’s shopping centre in Cardiff and is designed to boost the profile of the range through an experiential store providing consumers with an idea of the different designs and styles available. We explore what the strategy is behind this experiment and which home retail trends John Lewis is playing to.

Tapping into the homeware boom

As an often smaller-ticket sector, homewares has been among the best-insulated areas of non-essential spending during the disruption of the past eighteen months. Indeed, many consumers have turned to these decorative accessories as an affordable means of personalising living spaces during extended periods inside. Accordingly, in forming a central part of the new ‘Anyday’ range, launched in April 2021, John Lewis were well-placed to tap into this; particularly given the emphasis on value.

John Lewis’ ‘Anyday’ concept store

Source: John Lewis

Bringing footfall back in-store

As reported by Mintel Trend Popscape, more brands are turning to more unique ways to stand out from the crowd, such as setting up temporary pop-ups in unexpected places, in an attempt to encourage football back in the store. Consumers are looking for more than just convenience, and brands are encouraging them to view retail as an experience. This is perhaps the most significant aim of this pop-up. Although footfall has recovered over the past six months as restrictions eased, it nonetheless remains down historically; whether the result of ongoing anxiety among some consumers, or the growth in confidence in purchasing for the home online seen in the past year. Therefore this launch serves as an important fightback in this pursuit, especially given the consolidation of online-only retailers.

The importance of in-store experience

Much of this pursuit centres on in-store experience, staff expertise and face-to-face service. Consumers are looking for new and exciting experiences, one that is over and above the alternative purchasing journey offered online. This pop-up offers this diversification, showcasing these homewares in real-time, with the opportunity to engage with staff. The former is key to keeping consumers interested and engaged with the retailer. In fact, as discussed in Mintel’s upcoming Customer Journey for the Home – UK 2021 Report, thinking about the COVID-19 outbreak, over half of British consumers agree that they would be interested in seeing inspiring showrooms, and room sets, in-store at home retailers.

The need for value

On top of this, as discussed in our Furniture Retailing – UK 2021 report, multichannel home retailers must better leverage their physical network to cater to specific, and growing trends, in-store. Again, in offering value, the John Lewis’ pop-up achieves this. The need for value has grown significantly with the polarisation of demand, as many consumers were forced to delay, downscale or limit purchases to necessity in the past year. By showcasing these more affordable ranges in an engaging manner in-store, John Lewis can harness this mounting demand, encouraging footfall but also potentially opening a new income stream.

The homewares market more broadly will be covered in Mintel’s upcoming Homewares Retailing – UK 2021 Report in December.