During this unsettled period of lockdown, M&S has outlined its commitment to helping customers in South Wales continue to shop with confidence.

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

If you’re a customer, simply visit HERE, choose a time slot that suits you, arrive at your 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, told us………

“All of our Foodhalls in South 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.”

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 South Wales, 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. The 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.

M&S Merthyr Tydfil

Customers popping in for a smaller shop of essentials can also skip any queues at the till by paying for their shopping on their smartphone. The Mobile Pay & Go service is available via the M&S app and is incredibly easy to use for shops up to the value of £45. Simply open the app, scan the barcode of each product as you go, then pay from your phone using a card or Apple Pay!

Across South Wales, M&S Foodhalls are open including:

  • M&S Cardiff
  • M&S Cardiff Capital Retail Park
  • M&S Cardiff Avenue Simply Food
  • M&S Cardiff Llanishen Simply Food
  • M&S Talbot Green
  • M&S Swansea
  • M&S Newport
  • M&S Pontypridd
  • M&S Monmouth
  • M&S Ebbw Vale
  • M&S Chepstow
  • M&S Hereford

M&S Culverhouse Cross Foodhall is open Monday – Friday from 8:30am – 9:30pm, Saturday from 8am – 9pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

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 the stores unless you have a medical exemption. Incidentally, they 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 HERE and select contact-free home delivery.

Keeping up to date

During the pandemic the 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 the 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 (below) for booking a slot via Sparks Book & Shop. Over the last 28 days, the Welsh pages have reached a total of 250k customers!

No matter which of the 24 M&S Foodhalls in Wales you visit, you can do so safe in the knowledge that it is set up to serve you safely and efficiently, meaning you can continue to shop with confidence at M&S, something we all need in these troubled times.

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