A host of firsts for city as shopping giant opens
THE shelves are starting to be filled as Exeter's John Lewis store prepares to open its doors.
And store bosses have revealed that customers will also be able to experience a range of innovations and new shopping technology when they finally get to see what's inside.
In a number of firsts for John Lewis, the Exeter store will feature what is known as a Samsung SUR40 Table, as well as "digital store directories and an iPad bar".
The SUR40 is a 40-in touch screen table, which will allow customers to view multiple products at one time, on one screen, and compare their key features.
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Matt Leeser, head of buying and communication technology at John Lewis, said: "We are thrilled to bring the Samsung Table to shoppers in Exeter. We hope it will be a fun experience for customers, allowing them to try out a completely new way of shopping and create a sense of in-store theatre."
In another first for John Lewis, specially designed interactive information screens will take customers through a number of questions to help find the best product to match their needs. The eight, tablet-sized information points will be in several departments and focus on products that often require research before purchasing, such as large electrical items and children's car seats.
Exeter will also be the first John Lewis to have digital store guides.
Situated on the ground and fourth floors, customers will be able to search by product, brand or department for the floor they need.
And while relaxing in the restaurant, shoppers will be able to use one of four iPads at the designated iPad Bar.
John Lewis' Andy Layton said: "We know that customers shop in many different ways. Some prefer to actually touch and feel a product, while others prefer to look online and then compare several different products."
"Our new Exeter shop has been designed to reflect the changing way people shop today and we hope that the technology, alongside our staff's expertise, will create a seamless shopping experience for customers.
"Once the shop opens we will be looking at how customers are interacting with the various technologies and over time will continue to explore how it can be evolved to meet the needs of shoppers in Exeter and the surrounding areas."
However, one piece of technology that the new store will not have is the so-called magic mirrors which allow customers to see how they would look in an outfit without actually trying it on.
Initially this had been planned to be included in what the Exeter store offers customers. But a John Lewis spokeswoman said: "The trial of virtual fashion mirrors at John Lewis Oxford Street gave us an insight into what and how customers like to shop and use technology. So, although virtual fashion mirrors will not be part of the Exeter shop, we are incorporating elements into the shop. As customers were clear they liked to use screens to browse assortments we will be including specially designed interactive information screens throughout."