Boots readies mobile platform

Boots is to launch a mobile platform to boost its digital operations and help it stay ahead of the supermarkets, which are extending their health and beauty offerings.

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The retailer is also considering trialling pharmacy-specific smartphone apps for its prescription services to complement its existing online prescription service.

Alliance Boots director of insight, loyalty and multi-channel Ruth Spencer says a mobile-optimised site will take priority over smartphone apps. A launch date has not been confirmed.

Spencer adds: “Our first priority is mobile commerce because customers want product details. There is a difference between fun apps and healthcare so we’re gauging customer reaction for what they actually want.”

“Wherever people ’touch’ it, it’s got to feel like Boots. We’re being more cautious than lots of other brands, and not rushing out Boots-branded apps, because we’ve got to have a reason why people would come back to it.”

The health and beauty retailer operates 2,500 UK stores, an online store and health advice portal and an online affiliate loyalty scheme, Treat Street.

Boots is facing tough competition from the supermarkets as they increase the number of health and beauty products they offer. Direct rival Superdrug is preparing to launch its first loyalty scheme later this year and is refreshing its store portfolio with a new fashion-inspired store concept.

Last week it was announced that Alliance Boots CEO Andy Hornby is to step down after less than two years in the role.

The group reported profit for the year to 31 March increased to £602m, while sales rose to £22.5bn.

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