Marks & Spencer is set to unveil a host of new innovations in its second biggest store in the UK.
The 151,000 sq ft store has been almost two years in the making and showcases all of the initiatives, particularly in digital.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said: “It is not about building a huge store, it’s about building a shopping experience.”
Among a raft of new elements, the store has six ‘Browse & Order’ points, where shoppers can select from items not stocked in the store. These are intended to be discrete from the click-and-collect area, which has its own counter and is, said Bolland, a “less emotional” part of the shopping journey.
There is also a team of iPad-equipped assistants, ready to help shoppers with the selection process, while in the new-look beauty department on the ground floor, customers can benefit from a “virtual makeover” courtesy of a large touch-screen.
Other features include a new Home department, with freestanding walls used to display room-sets and a pillow and duvet selection wall.
The food department builds on the look and feel of its latest stores in Stratford and Kensington High Street and adds a ‘Pasta Bar’ to the mix.
Laura Wade-Gery, executive director multichannel and ecommerce, said many of the store’s digital elements would work well in smaller stores where it would not be possible to present an offer on this scale.
Bolland noted: “Customers told us [two years ago] that M&S needs to improve. This store answers the questions that have been asked better than anything else.”