Boots, Covent Garden
107, 115 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9NT
Dalziel & Pow
UK high street pharmacist Boots has opened a new concept store in Covent Garden, London’s home of beauty retailing.
The two-storey 28,524ft² store is a test bed for the 170 year old retailer and part of the brand’s grand transformation plan to modernise their beauty and wellness offer, and to have fewer, better stores.
The new store sees a massive step change in Boots’ approach in all aspects; from interior design, use of tech to layout and onboarding of brands previously unseen in the retailer’s stores.
The store marks the beginning of Boots’ fightback against rivals that have eaten into the health and beauty retailer’s market share in recent years.
In the ‘beauty zone’ on the ground floor, they showcase over 300 brands, including exciting over 30 new brands previously only seen in department store beauty halls, and this is exactly the challenge that we see Boots rising to with their upscale design. Whilst working within Boots’ parameters, key beauty brands appear to have been given greater freedom in the design of their fixtures, so they look and feel much more like those usually found in of their department store counterparts.
Throughout aisles have been widened easing traffic flow, fixtures lowered allowing clearer sightlines, there are more digital screens for signposting and telling brand and category stories, and more interactive tech – such as cosmetic shade finders and AR mirrors. These are all part of Boots’ future plan as the retailer looks to building the omnichannel customer journey into their process.
While ‘beauty’ is predominantly segmented by brand and then by ‘need’ the reverse is true of the first floor, which houses their expanded and extensive ‘Wellness’ department. Here ‘trending zones’ encourage customers to explore seasonal or latest products, such as hayfever, winter colds, CBD or vegan wellness.
The new store showcases some of Boots environmental credentials and with a push against single use plastic this is the first store to implement brown paper bags, there’s a refill station for natural skincare products from eco brand Beauty Kitchen, a growing range of sustainable toiletries, there’s also and a ‘Rehydration Station’, where customers can refill their water bottles.
Driving staff interaction and customer education and experimentation there are beauty studios for brand demos and discussions, and with a shift towards ‘open-source’ learning, Boots is happy for customers to capture and broadcast any sessions.
Offering convenience, the pharmacy features an express lane and secure lockers for prescription collection and in the move to become a primary healthcare provider, they are offering new services UTI Test and Treat and a Skin Scanning Service where they can prescribe antibiotics without the need to see a doctor, these are housed in consultation spaces that have a warmer, friendlier feel.
In the optical department signage designating gender-specific frames have been removed, in addition to the optical expertise, a team of in-store frame stylists is there to help customers choose their frames – and in addition there is a digital screen and selfie camera adding an element of fun interaction.
The new store is a positive response to the needs of today’s consumers, and shines a bright light on Boots’s experience and expertise in the health and beauty sector.