Greenbee outlines growth plan

The boss behind the new John Lewis Partnership Greenbee consumer portal has said travel products are already accounting for a third of all sales across the site.


The High Street retailer’s online customer offshoot has also set its sights on a steady but ambitious growth strategy following its early successes, including what could be a concerted effort to target consumers outside of its existing market, managing director James Furse said.


Greenbee, which launched in October last year with Expedia providing a white label interface for flight, hotel and package bookings, has seen bookings soar 159% from the week before Christmas to the first week of January.


Furse told Travolution: “Travel has become a significant part of our business straight away. We are very encouraged by its performance so far as it has followed some of the industry patterns, including the traditional jump from December to January.”


Greenbee is expected to launch a cruise holiday section during 2007 and a range of Web 2.0 concepts are also being considered, based on the community aspect of the users being loyal John Lewis and Waitrose customers.


Marketing activity for the site has so far been restricted to advertising in the John Lewis customer magazine and through a direct mail campaign to coincide with the recent addition of Cox & Kings as a partner on the site for specialist tour holidays.


However, Furse admitted that pay-per-click advertising and affiliate campaigns could be introduced in order to attract users beyond the John Lewis portfolio.


“We are looking to take share from other markets, but fundamentally it is about providing more for the customers that shop with us already and we wouldn’t want to overreach,” Furse added.


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