Boots UK is a wholesaler of various products one of the largest advertisers such products. These products range from pharmaceuticals, health care products to beauty products. Boots UK has also ventured into photography as part of its industry. The company was established in 1849 by John Boot and is still in the Boot family under Jesse Boot. The company initially started as a pure drug store company and has now incorporated other products into its industry. The company has also ventures into optical services, dentistry, research and manufacturing of drugs. Boots UK also has a charitable trust and Boots estate. The company has partnered with America’s largest drug store retailer, Walgreens for a long term deal aimed at giving a maximum exposure to both brands. Boots UK does most of its marketing and sales online which has been a major boost for the company’s growth.
The company Boots UK has its online services at Boots.com which is one of the largest transactional websites. On the website, online transactions take place and the UK standard delivery is within four working days, which is free for purchases of over 45 pounds. The main brands on Boots.com are beauty products for hair care, body care, serum, cosmetics, fragrances and skin care. The online portal also has sales of electronic products as well as cameras and toys for younger generations.
The internet is one of the main means of technology used by most companies and industries in marketing of its products. Boots.com as a website for the Boots UK Company uses internet technologies in its advertisements as well as sales of most of its products. On Boots.com, the main services include; sale of products, dispensing services, and healthcare advice. This online portal of the company has increased its popularity as well as its markets. The company’s sales online have boosted its growth even further than it used to. The company’s online presence and services are widespread all over the world. The company offers customers the option of ordering products online as well as collecting them from a store the customer selects, within five working days. Online products of the Boots Company reach out to different consumer interests with biases towards the more affluent socio-economic groups across all ages. For instance, beauty products shoppers tend to be younger while toiletries are shopped more by the older age group persons.
In online shopping from Boots.com, the company has an online portal open to the Advantage Card and other retailers. The main retailers are ASOS, Dixons, Halfords, Lakeland, eBay, New Look, Mother Care, HMV and Pets and Home. The use of the card earns points for the card holders and the points can only be spent at Boots. The company also accepts contactless card payments by the use of the MasterCard Pay pass. The use of this contactless payment technology is now present in many stores across London and Liverpool and only allows everyday purchases of 15 pounds or less. The main outlet where the contactless payment started is the Canary Wharf outlet. The company has partnered with different groups such as Waitrose to cross-sell products. This is so that Boots health and beauty products can be sold in selected Waitrose stores and some range of products from Waitrose to also be sold in selected Boots stores.
Boots.com as a trading name for Boots UK Limited and among other online services of the company are dispensing of services and healthcare advice. On dispensing services, prescription services and delivery services are the main services offered here. On the site, such services are offered under the professional supervision of a registered Boots pharmacist. The pharmacists offering advice and any other dispensing services for Boots.com are registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. On healthcare advice, the Boots’ Pharmacy Superintendent is the contact person for such consultations. Any healthcare advice is provided in relation to Pharmacy medicines and this is offered on the Boots Pharmacy pages of Boots.com website by the Pharmacy Superintendent who is known as Stephen Banks. For all services offered on the Boots.com website, there are general terms and conditions to be read and understood for the consumer’s safety.
The company’s use of internet technologies presently has enabled the expansion of consumer outreaches. Most people who do not live within UK or areas with Boots UK outlets have now had an access to the products of the company. Moreover, with use of the internet through the online website, Boots.com has enabled diversity of services offered by the company to reach a large number of consumers with ease. The online portal for Boots UK also has terms and conditions which mainly applies to consumers who access the website from the United Kingdom. For consumers referring to the website from other locations, the company is not liable for the compliance with their local laws if those laws are applicable in this case. Therefore, the website is manned and works under the laws of England and Wales. All parties who access the website to purchase products or get other service are therefore bound by these laws and are subject to the jurisdiction of the English Courts.
Boots UK Limited has its own power brands, especially in the beauty industry. These products are also sold online via Boots.com. The company has its own distribution points to independent pharmacies, retail partners and distributors. In these distribution points, the company also owns the websites through which they sell their products. These sites are in approximately sixteen countries worldwide and they advertise and sell a variety of products, especially beauty brands. In the US, Boots’ beauty products are in over a thousand target stores and their websites. For instance, on Beauty.com website, sales of Boots’ beauty brands grew by over 25% in 2012. The merger with Walgreens stores will see more increased boosts for Walgreens which does not have its own label in beauty and personal care products. Moreover, the Boots’ label names will gain popularity through Walgreens since it is the largest store distributor of pharmaceutical products.
The company Boots UK has also expanded its cosmetic market niche to even Thailand, China and the Middle East. For instance, Dermocare and Luminese are Boots’ sun and skincare products which have found their way into the local markets. Buying economies is a strategy employed by Boots UK to increase its sales of various products. This is mainly through merges with different companies and providing extensive services to consumers in other countries. Skincare R&D is a label of Boots UK and its flagship was in Nottingham and is now online in various countries. The company is also a great innovator of its product and has created popular products like No 7 cosmetics and Soltan sun care, which are available in Boots.com. The merger with Walgreens for instance, will form a strong market basis because Boots has a strong presence in UK, Europe and Far East. The Walgreens coverage is in the States hence having partnership with Boots UK Limited will increase the European market for Walgreens’ and Boots’ market in the United States generally.
Internet technologies in general have boosted sales for the Boots Company and enabled their services to reach many consumers. The company’s website portal has grown strongly during the year 2011 and 2012 in terms of website visitors wanting to sample the kind of products the company offers. In addition, Boots’ partnership with other companies and mergers has also increased the online popularity of the company. The company provides a broadened range of health and beauty products and therefore with partnerships with companies in similar interests, Boots.com will diversify its product range. The online portal has boosted this further and made it easier for many consumers to access these products. In addition, online transactions have enabled consumer convenience because ordering for products online can be done at the comfort of one’s home. This online shopping also provides for consumers to get home delivery services as well as collection from the stores near them.
Boots UK has thoroughly used its online portal to provide products and services to consumers more than manually doing so. The main online customer loyalty scheme for Boots partnerships with other high street retailers is called Treat Street, which also has the same system for customers to save points and use them in any of the Boots’ stores. The Boots UK website has grown tremendously and continues to increase its consumer markets. It has not been a smooth sailing for the company to establish itself as it is now because it has intense competitors. Boots.com faces intense competition from Asda.com, Llyodspharma.com, Superdrug.com and online supermarket stores. However, Boots.com products available online are in different forms and also have a lot of beauty products unlike most of its competitor brands who mainly offer one form of product, drugs and pharmaceuticals mainly. As a health based company, Boots UK has managed to overcome many hurdles and stiff competitors to offer a wide range of superior products that are health and beauty related products.
Boots.com is also very active in advertising as a strategy to make more sales. This is done mainly through social media and television. According to a research done by Nelsen Media, Boots.com emerged as the largest advertiser with a budget of 11.6 million pounds. Boots’ TV advertisements have also spread online to YouTube and Face book. For instance, during the Christmas festivities in 2010, Boots used TV advertising which spread on to social media as a marketing channel. The festive campaign into social media then enabled Boots to engage with their consumers through conversations in Face book mainly. Moreover, this has proved to be a very viable channel to advertise as well as create awareness of Boots products. The online advertising of Boots is very widespread. For instance, there was a recent online advertisement of Boots.com called; Internet Shopping is Safe (ISIS) as a homepage. This advertisement highlights beauty gifts with over 50% discounts weekly and a gift of the week which is available online or in the stores.
With such an advertising strategy online, Boots.com has earned a lot of consumer trust in the United Kingdom. The company has also used other social media channels like Twitter and Google Ad Words. Moreover, Boots.com also held a campaign to promote consumers and offer advice of various products. ‘Ask The Girls’ is one such online page by Boots.com which is an online and in-store initiative aimed at providing product and gift advice to shoppers. This has enabled the company to generate trust among its consumers because of its willingness to be transparent regarding its products to various consumer groups. In recent TV advertisement productions of Boots.com, viewers were allowed to watch a behind the scenes film of the making of a Christmas ad campaign. This campaign is also available at the new Boots YouTube channel and Face book group page. Overall, online advertising of Boots.com has revolutionized the company and steered it further.
Boots.com also plays a role on corporate social responsibility using online channels. The company has cooperated with the Macmillan Cancer Support with an aim of helping cancer patients’ recovery and has also encouraged public participating in volunteering and fundraising online. Within the past two years, this channel has raised about 4.4 million pounds towards the Macmillan Caner Support. Other medical services have strengthened the company’s presence online. The launch of BootsWebMD in 2009 is one example of such. This is a website which offers healthcare services online through providing its users with comprehensive and objective health information. This portal operated with WebMD which the United States leading provider of comprehensive online healthcare service. Provision of healthcare advice and services has been successfully implemented through this avenue without customers of Boots.com having to go physically to the healthcare providers.
With the use of internet technologies to provide an array of service, the Boots Company employs its type of e-Business Models. It does so by combining several business models as its e-business strategy to penetrate different markets. The three main models it has used are the brokerage model, merchant model and the inform diary model. The brokerage model provides an online platform for customers and sellers to transact goods and services in a business-to-business and a business-to-consumer nature. In this scenario, there is a virtual market place and clients are able to purchase any products of beauty, health or pharmaceutical cares online through getting information on price and delivery from an agent. Payment is through third party mechanisms like Master Card, Secure Code, Trust Boots and VISA through PayPal. The inform diary model uses social sites like face book and YouTube and provides incentives such as redeemable points to clients. This has helped maintain a loyal customer base. The merchant model allow for customers to click on the goods online and collect them online or from the stores.
The e-business models of Boots.com have enabled the company to create a large customer base and one that is loyal to Boots UK products. Moreover it gives liberty to customers to order products and services online without unnecessary restrictions. This business working also enables the clients and business partners to review their transactions online in forms of order history and return history. However, in employing the use of e-business as a way of advertising and marketing of its products, the company also faces a number of challenges. The main challenges are external threats and existing rivalry from substitute products from other companies. There are threats from new entrants and customers into the same business as well as different price strategies and market expansion. This is the case because Boots.com has a solid customer base and reputable brands despite it having a lower bargaining power of its prices.
The use of internet technologies by Boots UK Limited has proved more beneficial to the company in terms of expanding the customer base and gaining popularity. Online retailing of Boots.com has created a large market base especially because of its offer of health services. Most people are becoming health conscious hence this offers more opportunities for Boots.com to continually sell its products. Stiff competition remains a threat to this because even other companies also use online services for marketing and furthermore, the internet has low barriers to entry. The company has maintained competitiveness by offering an array of services on its online portal which has increased its diversity, even in terms of consumer preferences. In the use of internet technologies, the company has not used mobile-commerce intensely which could further boost the company. The social media platform has been a source of online advertising for Boots.com and if expanded, it can ensure more consumers are aware of the products and services of the company. Internet technologies will in future expand the market niche of Boots Company if used in diversity and in various online platforms.
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