High-end department store chain John Lewis today opened up a new 230,000 square foot location in White City Westfield, London, and one of the store's new "experiences" includes deep integration with Apple's HomeKit platform. Called the "Apple Smart Home" section, Apple and John Lewis partnered in an effort to show London residents how HomeKit products can enhance their homes, showing off features like Siri voice control, connected lighting and heating, music playback, and more.
Speaking with HouseBeautiful, John Lewis senior PR manager Siân Grieve explained the reason for the company's partnership with Apple, instead of integrating with similar products from Amazon or Google.
But why have John Lewis decided to partner with Apple, and not Amazon, for example? 'A lot of John Lewis customers love and use Apple iOS, they have an iPad or an iPhone. Our stats revealed 77 per cent of searches onto JohnLewis.com are from iOS devices,' explains Siân Grieve from John Lewis. 'We know Amazon are going after this space, we know Google are going after it in a big way – this is our chance to bring that to life in an iOS setting.'
In a video shared by Campaign yesterday, you can catch a glimpse into the Apple Smart Home section at John Lewis around the 1:30 mark. The space appears to include a variety of popular HomeKit devices -- like a few Philips Hue lamps -- and numerous iPads are dotted around the showroom floor for customers to interact with. A few demo stations include explanations on how to use HomeKit actions like "Hey Siri" for turning on and off Hue scenes.
Outside of the HomeKit experience, John Lewis's new store aims to be an in-depth and unique shopping destination, with a dedicated Experience Desk where customers can find information on taking part in craft classes, marbling workshops, calligraphy lessons, beauty bar appointments, yoga classes, and meet with in-store fashion stylists.
John Lewis is also planning to launch an iPhone app so that customers can keep track of all these appointments, starting with a focus on staying in touch with personal stylists, "who will be able to provide notifications when, for example, a new collection of a favorite brand comes into stock." Eventually, the company wants to expand the app to cover other services offered by the Experience Desk, including home design consultations.
Apple has been known to partner with companies in an attempt to boost HomeKit adoption, back in 2016 working with various building companies to integrate HomeKit directly into homes from the get-go, ensuring that new buyers are more likely to stick within its ecosystem. One such home in San Jose, California included devices sold by Kwikset, Ecobee, and Lutron, with HomeKit integration estimated to cost $2,500 per house.