Boots overhauls beauty proposition to keep its grip on booming market

Boots understands that its 170-year heritage is not enough for today's customer' / Boots

Boots is to up investment in its beauty proposition, overhauling its bricks-and-mortar stores and bringing fresh brands into the fold as it looks to keep is grip on the burgeoning market.

In a statement explaining the shift in strategy, the brand admitted its 170-year heritage was "not enough for today's customer".

Boots already has a 20% share of the UK beauty market (which GlobalData estimates will reach £26.7bn by 2022). However, in the face of competition from online players like Glossier and the likes of Sainsbury’s planning to push hard into space Boots is readying its offering for the future.

First off, Boots is "reinventing" its in-store beauty hall experience, refitting 24 of its flagship spaces to replace traditional beauty counters with what it's calling "trending zones" and "discovery areas" where customers can browse products, experiment and take part in live demos.

It will also introduce 200 Boots "beauty specialists" into shops over the coming months to personalise the shopping experience and help people who are looking for beauty solutions across many brands, rather than one-brand solutions.

In addition to its existing brands, Boots will also be launching 20 new beauty brands in the next six months. 805 products alone will be launched throughout April and May from the likes of Becca, Nude by Nature, Nip & Fab and Bondi Sands.

In reimagining its stores and having staff work across brands, Boots looks to be bringing its beauty hall model closer in line with US company Sephora. Though it's not replacing its in-store brand experts.

The announcement follows on from the launch of a 12-month partnership with Hearst title Glamour, which will see Boots sponsor the magazine's forthcoming live beauty festivals in London and Manchester.

Helen Normoyle, marketing director at Boots UK, said the collaboration would help bring Boots' beauty overhaul to life for consumers.

Seb James, Boots managing director, added: “With 800 million people walking through our doors every year, it is no surprise that we are already the market leader in beauty, but we want customers to never have any reason to go anywhere else. Adding a little glamour, some great new service and lots of new brands to our beauty offer represents the first few steps of that journey."

Boots has been heavily focusing on beauty in its marketing. Its 2018 Christmas ad from Ogilvy married its brand purpose with its beauty proposition, telling the story of a mother and daughter to showcase how giving the gift of beauty can make someone feel.

Boots’ parent firm Walgreens Boots Alliance noted in its fourth quarter 2018 results that sales in its international retail pharmacy division, which houses Boots UK, fell 1.9% from the same period last year to record $2.9bn (£2.2bn). The decrease was attributed to a "challenging" beauty market in the region.

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