Boots Opens Wellness Flagship In London To Inform Future Retail Strategies

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LONDON, United Kingdom — Boots UK has unveiled a wellness-focused concept store in London, which will be used to trial new products and services and inform future retail strategies.

The 28,524 square foot store in Covent Garden, will house 36 new brands and over 300 new lines, ranging from eco-friendly sanitary care and CBD products to groundbreaking fitness tech and natural skincare.

“Our new Covent Garden store starts a journey of reinventing Boots for the future,” Sebastian James, Boots Managing Director commented. 

“The store is full of exciting beauty brands, ideas for living well and services to help you get better, all with the great care that Boots colleagues give. We will learn what people love and want from this shop and this will help us shape a blueprint for our whole 2,500 store estate.”

In response to consumer demand, there will also be a rehydration point for filling up water bottles, an innocent bar for customers to purchase healthy snacks, and a Beauty Kitchen station where people can refill products from the sustainable brand.

In addition, a new immersive beauty section will feature trend zones, discovery areas and live demonstrations to create a more experiential shopping environment, while virtual reality mirrors will allow customers to try new makeup looks without having to apply them directly to their skin.

According to James, the radical changes come as a result of the retailer falling ‘behind the curve’. “Most of our competitors have had a period of time – three or four years – where they’ve gone out and they’ve opened new stores and revamped their shops, and now it’s our go. I think if we play it well we should be able to take quite a material share of the market,” he argued.

The store will also be the first of the retailer’s locations to scrap single-use plastic bags — a move that comes days after the chain announced it is set to phase them out completely by 2020.

With more and more retailers stepping up to prescribe wellness to their customers in an attempt to boost engagement, in comparison Boots has been somewhat slower to adapt.

In the US, CVS recently announced plans to roll-out 1,500 wellness stores by the end of 2021 that will offer dietitian services, health screenings and yoga spaces. Walgreens, meanwhile, has been making strides with health insurance companies and medical care providers to collaborate on in-store health services as well as medical care. And this is a trend that continues to pick up speed, globally.

According to The Retail Health & Wellness Debrief by PSFK: “Consumers are looking beyond the traditional medical system to embrace a more holistic view of health and wellness, as digital platforms enable them to take a more proactive role in managing their health. At the same time, they expect more from the products and services they buy and have new standards for convenience, personalised service and transparency.”

This is creating new areas of opportunity for retailers like Boots. However, the key according to PSFK is for retailers to integrate wellness products and services into their business models, simplify the adoption process and ultimately empower the consumer. 

If successful, the health and beauty chain’s new venture could point to ‘the store of the future’.

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