An insight sample – Boots

Boots is a business that has branches everywhere and the smaller stores don’t appear to have any less range than the larger ones in some categories. Opportunity knocks.

A mass of product on dated shelves and an in store look that is also near historic.

Their reason for being is also a question – would you invent it today?

They’re a successful pharmacy but one would argue they’re more well known for their work in larger stores with make up and cosmetics, their no.7 range (also seen in Target) and their relatively wide range of products. The opportunity here is for them to further strengthen this range.

3 for 2 on gifting is a byword for Boots at Christmas, but the market continues to shift and there are instances where this deal looks poor value versus work by the larger supermarkets.

Indeed, clearance levels post Christmas in some stores are hefty and there are justifiable questions about 3 for 2 and the value that it brings in this more modern world. 

But can they get off this drug?

There is some positive work though; their cosmetics are strong but versus Superdrug (who we’ll consider next week) there is a definite capturing of the younger market that needs to take place.

The accusation that the newer cosmetics halls are just window dressing with the rest of the store left to broadly the same is fair, the press will go take a look at Piccadilly Circus Boots and other such concepts and leave broadly pleased.

An elevated cosmetics area generates great impact for the customer too; especially first impressions, but there remains an issue that beyond that, what else is there to show for their efforts. 

Ranges are often hefty without a great deal of editing, there’s a lot of product but no real assistance for the customer trying to find what they need. Some adjacencies are baffling, with sexual health next to smoking cessation e.g. 

It’s such an opportunity for them to drive trade in to other categories and show customers that they’re a force to be reckoned with, in other areas too.

Some of their categories have a number of products that warrant further explanation and guidance is needed via signage, to explain and ‘demystify’ the category.

However, this is also lacking and the merchandising and layouts don’t help either. More opportunity, at a relatively low cost to sort these issues out.

We just see too many areas that are not thought through from a customer perspective, rather a spreadsheet and a layout, all important of course. But spreadsheet management means that we are sleepwalking towards a poorer retail experience for the customer.

In this space, there is ample competition too. Online is a major element with online pharmacies and the challenge for Boots in too many stores is that they excel at precisely nothing. 

We have mentioned Superdrug already (who claim the younger crowd) but also the likes of supermarkets do a good job in this space, especially Sainsbury’s with their newer look / feel in cosmetics. 

It’s another area for Amazon to also be watched closely; especially given their ambitions in the US to open drug stores, $6 prescriptions and the rest of it. 

This is an example of our insight service, mailed to subscribers.

Opportunities for Boots - new cosmetics entrance counter
New cosmetics counters are notably stronger than their former iterations. (C) Grocery Insight Limited.
Opportunities for Boots - Cosmetics new
Indeed; the wider cosmetics area is strong but beyond? More of the same. (C) Grocery Insight Limited.
Opportunities for Boors, No.7
No.7 remains a key area of strength. (C) Grocery Insight Limited.
Opportunities for Boots - Cosmetics.
Great halo to draw you in, but beyond this? Disappointment, clutter and a lack of clarity. Another missed opportunity (C) Grocery Insight Limited.

There is no doubt that the newer cosmetics kit is good, far stronger than what we have seen previously, however Superdrug are far less focused on the people aspect and instead, just have a long row of cosmetics displays down the side of the store wall.

Whereas Boots have a few colleagues about from Liz Earle and whoever else, which in COVID times remains questionable around customer sentiment and the safety aspect.

However those folks are a god send for people who come in with a problem, IE what product do I need, this is no good with my mask on etc etc.

The colleagues there are brilliant and it’s a balance, and probably, a different customer to what Superdrug has, however, the younger customer base is more educated perhaps and more attuned to trends, with the socials aspect.

As that generation get older, where are they going to go for make up? Probably not Boots.

Umbrellas at 20+ degrees. Missed opportunity for warm weather trading (C) Grocery Insight Limited.

I raged about this on socials, with the weather comfortably over 20 degrees, the store still had Umbrellas on display outside, very poor trading, every customer was either asking where the sunglasses were, or had a pair apiece for their family members. 

Opportunity missed there, every penny counts too! 

More follows – another 15+ images and insight focusing on areas of improvement.

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Our insight reports feature images and perspective from one of the leading retail influencers looking across all of retail. Meaning this service is a must for anyone with any connection to the sector.

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