Never Knowingly Undersold

ended 25. February 2022

John Lewis has retired its “Never Knowingly Undersold” promise to customers because it applies to fewer and fewer sales as shopping moves increasingly online, and isn’t applicable to online-only retailers. Newspage asked small business owners for their thoughts.



9 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"I am not surprised by this given the number of customers who were both annoyed and disappointed by the small print that went with the strapline. You have to wonder whether John Lewis will be another potential victim of the shift online. I haven’t worked there for a couple of years but, even then, it was getting quieter and quieter. These days, people increasingly prefer to shop online for safety as well as convenience."
Star Quote
"Good riddance as it was never the most succinct or understandable of straplines. The greatest John Lewis brand asset is its quality assurance. As long as ANYDAY doesn’t mean ANYDAY now it’ll break, then they’re onto a winner combining value with quality."
Star Quote
"Never Knowingly Undersold has become increasingly outdated and meaningless in the world of e-commerce, where the overwhelming majority of its competition is. It was a clever, memorable slogan, but now it's an empty one, about five years past its sell-by date."
Star Quote
"Even though it's inevitable in the sprawling age of digital, the fact that John Lewis has retired this brand promise is incredibly sad. If ever I bought a large item such as a TV or a computer, I would always buy from them because of their brand promise and their no-nonsense money back guarantee. It helped them to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Now there's a risk they will be lost in a race to the bottom."
Star Quote
"I think John Lewis will eventually join the long line of retailers that have disappeared. Why would I drive into town when I can make three clicks on an app and have something delivered to my door the next day? Going shopping in store excites me as much as having my teeth pulled."
"This genuinely makes me a bit sad. I always think of John Lewis as only stocking the best and offering excellent value while doing so. It makes me worry that maybe the business is in trouble, too. I have fond memories of seeing the slogan on their carrier bags when I was growing up and asking what the word 'unknowingly' means. Looks like the nation's youth will now have to figure the meaning of the word out themselves."
"Does anyone ever shop at John Lewis because they think it’s the cheapest? I shop there because they have a diverse range, great quality and are a bit of an institution. It’s certainly the dream for small businesses to get stocked there. Maybe the tag line should be ‘pay for the privilege’ instead."
"While I don’t do my shopping based on a slogan, in a world where customer experience is paramount, if you sell products, it fosters an element of trust. Let’s just hope the replacement fits the brands image."
As the high-street hush descends and the playing field levels out in the wake of a new wave of sustainable business models, we can only wonder why these big profit machines would rather fall than adapt. Once again it will be the employees that pay the price while those at the top simply move on to their next venture, unscathed and indifferent to the plight of working families.