So I've been doing a bit of thinking while at work today. I was restocking the make-up section and considering all the different products and things and it while I was doing this that I was approached by a customer. They basically wanted help around the store in finding the products they wanted. So obviously I was more than happy to help, in fact I rather enjoy these little tasks! I find it both intriguing and fascinating to think what customers are buying, why they might be buying it, who's going to be using it and what for? So it's during one of these little wonders round the shop that the customer turned to me and said: 'Do you know, I really like Boots.' I responded just with the usual 'Oh... yeah... that's nice! A lot of people do.' Then the customer went 'No. No. I REALLY like Boots. It just has everything I need in a shop.' That's what really got me thinking. Is Boots really that perfect a shop? Especially when considering certain sections like the make-up section I had been working in. So I thought I'd add my own little thoughts to this.
'How great is Boots?'
It is a very interesting thing for me to consider. As you well know I work for Boots so of course am in their all the time! I don't think there is a day I don't visit! It's like I have some strange compulsion to go in there every single day regardless of if it's my day off or not! And the best thing is I can't stand working there half the time! On a day I have to work I literally fill with dread quite often, but I guess a lot of people feel like that when going to work I suppose. Although when just visiting on a time I'm not actually working it's usually a lot more pleasurable being there. But then again I get some sort of kick out of shopping... literally shopping anywhere, be it clothing outlets, department stores, beauty sections, even the supermarket! Yes I enjoy going food shopping! The only bit I don't like is the handing the money over at the till part at the end! But other than that I love it! It's almost an addiction I'd say. I literally love nothing more than wandering aimlessly round shops and particularly shops like Boots! Whenever I'm having a down day, or not feeling great I always go shopping as it's true what they say, shopping really is my retail therapy!
But more to the point I wonder how my answers may differ from everyone elses considering I do work for the company and therefore am going to have quite different views. Especially seeing as I'm possibly going to know slightly different information about Boots, in terms of behind the scenes. Not saying it's a lot considering I'm not of any supervisory or management position but still probably more than the average shopper! Guess until I've written my full response you're not gonna know! :)
Now it's going to be hard for me to distance myself from being Emily the Boots worker from Emily the Boots customer so I'll probably switch between the two a bit. For example considering the question:
'What do you like about the Boots shopping experience?'
Well from a customer's point of view I'd say: Boots generally have a product to fit your health and beauty needs, be it a skincare need, cold and flu need or you need a new fragrance you are able to find something to fit at the shop. It's arguably the biggest health and beauty chain in the country and stock one of the widest selections, especially if visiting the larger flagship stores, so you're spoilt for choice. I love that I can look around and find a product that's right for me. Plus I like the mix of premium brands such as Clarins, Clinique and Dior to the most basic such as Boots Essentials so there is something to suit every budget too! I also like how anyone from the young to old can shop in Boots, and literally you can grow up in there right from the baby age and into children and then with girls in particular they can experiment with the younger girl cosmetic products and skincare, till teenage and they fully go into skincare mode. Okay not everyone but I did, getting cosmetics, skincare, picking out different body sprays etc. Then Boots cater right up to the older lady with their range of anti-aging formulas, again from the more high street names e.g. Nivea, Garnier right up to the premiums e.g. Estee Lauder, Clinique.
Now from a colleague's perspective I've got to say it's seeing customers leave, happy with their purchases. Often they've gotten something they either need or want and many leave satisfied with the price they've paid too. Plus I think the advantage card helps as well because people always like receiving their points. In fact some get a little too obsessive with them and want you to monitor every single item, plus their double points, plus their extra 300 points voucher, etc. And then still scrutinize what you've done! And that's not even including the fact they've bought it all from the clearance section!!! (Can you tell I was reminiscing one particular incident from the other day haha!)
However as someone who works for Boots that's something that drives me mad about the Boots shopping experience. So if thinking...
'What do you dislike about the Boots shopping experience?'
I'd say, nothing is ever clear. They have so many offers going on at the same time and by the time you've added your vouchers (if they actually qualify) I don't know what ends up more confused, me, the till or the customer! Plus more often than not the store will often forget to change over just even one of the offers on sales plan day and then you get customers coming up to you being like 'well it said this' and then accusing staff of not putting it through properly on the till or something! Or customers don't read the sign properly and then think they can get something that isn't on offer for the offer price. So Boots should probably make their signs clearer! However, as a consumer I'd say the thing that winds me up most about shopping at Boots is they frequently will not have something in store. For example the other day I went into the flagship store in Leeds that I work in and was planning on purchasing the Fast Hair Shampoo and Conditioner. Now the Boots there are actually really advertising this and have even got it in the specially dedicated 'latest finds' section. However, they had sold out. Why have it advertised in prime location if you're sold out?!
But now personally beauty related... 'What could Boots do to improve their beauty sections? Make-up especially!'
Well in terms of Cosmetics I'd say the biggest problem for Boots is that in the larger stores (and even in some of the smaller ones too! They don't have someone there to look after them! This means they end up a complete mess with things all in the wrong place and not always even in sell-able fashion anymore as so many people end up using the products as testers and things! Plus often the testers end up in the 'sell' sections! It just looks awful and means that you can't even look for items properly, so would never know if something was in stock or not! Plus that's another major issue when the cosmetics sections aren't looked after, the stock doesn't get replenished as quickly so customers are then left unable to purchase the latest beauty innovations as even if the store has it in stock you'd never know about it as it's stuck in a crate or a draw somewhere and not put in the makeup sections when the spaced becomes free. Although I've got to credit the beauty counters, e.g. premium beauty like Benefit and No.7 as these are often well looked after and the girls (and some men too) do a really great job and deserve credit for their brand! I think if all the sections had a dedicated representative that took pride in them and was expert in the section too then it would be amazing as customers would be able to get specialist advice and find the ideal products for them. However, I know this is often impractical so maybe a makeup dedicated sales team that would be knowledgeable on all the high-street brands would be a good idea. Although maybe they would need to be like the premium beauty franchises and often employed outside of Boots and brought in just to work in that location.
What do you think? Do you have an opinion on Boots?
Images sourced: http://www.boots.com