LAST YEAR, BOOTS promised a new focus on omnichannel. This would enable it to respond both to the changing way that customers buy, and to shoppers’ expectations. In full-year results published last May, the health and beauty retailer’s parent company, Alliance Boots , said it was “at the point in the cycle where we are reinventing our business models, in order to deliver sustained profit growth. In retail, this translates into accelerating our rapidly evolving health and beauty omnichannel offering in an integrated way, with even more differentiated products and services tailored to meet rapidly evolving customer behaviours and expectations, be it in terms of choice, convenience or service.”
Today shoppers can order in the store, online, via mobile or by phone call, for delivery to home, workplace or nearest store. The retailer’s mobile app, for both iPhone and Android smartphone, focuses on bridging the gap between the store and online. Shoppers can use the app to view the personalised offers that are available to them as members of the Boots Advantage Card, adding to their digital account those that appeal for use on their next trip to the retailer’s high street stores. Shoppers using the card in-store, by contrast, are offered a range of personalised offers when paying at the till, or can visit a kiosk to choose their own offers.
The retailer is pushing at the limits of click and collect. Customers can buy online through the transactional app for home delivery, or buy for next-day pick up in-store. Orders placed by 6pm, both online or in-store, can be collected the next day after noon from more than 2,300 stores. The service is free when shoppers spend £20 or more. Travellers passing through a UK airport that’s served by a Boots store and who order five days before they fly, can pick up their items just before they board their plane. And on Valentine’s Day 2015, the retailer pushed the limits of the service further, offering noon collection for orders placed by 8pm the previous day.
A photo-printing function is another clever way to bridge the gap between the store and online. Shoppers can order prints of images held on their phone, on their Facebook or Instagram accounts and pick them up in-store as soon as an hour later. These functions sit alongside a store locator and a barcode scanner that customers can use to fi nd out more about products they’re considering buying.
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