M&S rolls out new ‘Sparks Book & Shop’ service to help customers shop with confidence at its 24 stores across Wales

Ahead of the increased restrictions in place from tomorrow (Friday 23rd October), M&S is outlining its commitment to helping customers in Wales continue to shop with confidence.

Introducing Sparks Book & Shop

M&S has quickly rolled out its new (and UK retail’s first) appointment shopping service to every store in Wales. The rollout follows on from a successful month-long initial trial at six stores in Wales in August.

Customers simply visit marksandspencer.com/bookandshop, choose a timeslot that suits them, arrive at their local store at the designated time, check-in with the friendly host at the entrance and skip the queue (should there be one). Start times are allocated in 30-minute intervals.

Sparks Book & Shop is fully integrated within M&S’s store teams’ existing technology and is built into the app housed on their hand-held devices, enabling M&S hosts to carefully manage the number of customers in store at any time – counting-in customers who have not reserved, alongside those with allocated slots.

Allison Jenkins, Regional Manager for South Wales said: “All of our Foodhalls in Wales – both standalone and those within our larger stores – are open and set up with extensive measures in place to help our customers shop safely and confidently. Designed by our in-house tech teams, our new Sparks Book & Shop service allows customers to guarantee a shopping slot at a time that suits them and removes the need to queue, should there be one. For customers who haven’t reserved a slot, we have accelerated our Queue Smart trial across all Welsh stores – enabling customers to queue virtually from the comfort of their car or another location should they need to.”

Queue Smart

M&S has accelerated the rollout of its ‘Queue Smart’ trial – to help deliver a better experience for customers who have not pre-booked a slot. Live at every M&S store in Wales from tomorrow, Queue Smart enters customers into a virtual queue, allowing them to remain in the queue from the comfort of their car – which will be particularly comforting for customers as we approach the colder winter weather. Customers are kept updated via SMS notifications, which tell them how long they have left to wait and when it’s their turn to enter the store.

Queue Smart will be activated at the discretion of each store – depending on the size of the queue – and managed by the friendly host at the front door using their handheld device. Our hosts will continue to welcome every customer that arrives at M&S and will advise them how the queuing system will work – or simply let them straight in if the store isn’t at maximum capacity.

Extensive Measures

All M&S Foodhalls – both stand-alone and those within larger stores – are open and ready to serve customers safely, with all the social distancing measures in place that have been critical throughout the pandemic, including:

  • A friendly host at the entrance to welcome customers in and manage each store’s maximum capacity.
  • Hand sanitiser available at the front door (and in other parts of the store).
  • Extensive signage & floor markings throughout the store to remind everyone to give each other the space they need and to make it easier to find products.
  • Perspex screens at tills with clear signage encouraging contactless payments (up to the increased limit of £45).
  • Mobile Pay Go available at selected stores in Wales so customers can pay for their shopping on their smartphone without needing to visit a checkout.
  • Face coverings must be worn by customers shopping in our stores unless they have a medical exemption. We do sell a range of face coverings for any customer that doesn’t have one.

Free-click and collect service at all stores

As always, customers can shop M&S’s full clothing & home range online at M&S.com and select either contact-free home delivery or the free Click & Collect option – which is available at every M&S store in Wales. Where necessary, we are temporarily relocating the Click & Collect desk so it’s closer to the Foodhall – making it as easy as possible for customers to collect their order at the same time as doing their weekly food shop.

Keeping up to date

During the pandemic our Welsh stores have been keeping customers up to date via their store Facebook pages. From Merthyr Tydfil (which has over 2.4k likes) to Culverhouse Cross, every store has its own local page – allowing each of our M&S teams to share localised updates & content specific to their local community. A great example is M&S Neath – which recently shared this helpful tutorial video for booking a slot via Sparks Book & Shop. Over the last 28 days, our Welsh pages have reached a total of 250k customers!

No matter which of the 24 M&S Foodhalls in Wales our customers visit, they can do so safe in the knowledge that it is set up to serve them safely and efficiently, meaning they can continue to shop with confidence at M&S.

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