The campaign, which launches on TV on Wednesday (23 June), will communicate Boots’ new commitment with a ‘Clearer prices, clearer vision. No exceptions, no hidden costs’ message. That will be supported by print, outdoor and digital activity, as well as in-store point of sale and direct marketing to customers.
Speaking to Marketing Week, Boots Opticians’ managing director Ben Fletcher says he is confident the campaign will achieve cut-through by leading on a health message, rather than price like much of the market. He says the main aim is to shift customer awareness, with key metrics being perception, top-of-mind awareness and in-store customer feedback.
“In the past the opticians industry defined itself by communicating price points. We will be different by communicating the customer benefit – what is it you get when you come to an opticians – and the health aspect. Plus the fact you only get this at Boots. Our commitment is ‘no exceptions, no hidden costs’, a world away from how customers perceive the industry today,” he says.
Fletcher says the previous experience of going to the opticians was a little like buying a Ryanair flight in that the price customers thought they were going to pay when they first walked in was not the price they paid when they walked out due to “confusing” added extras. Boots wants to improve that “transparency” by making it very clear what customers will pay from the outset.
That means it will include health benefits such as UV protection, anti-reflection protection and scratch-resistant lenses in all its glasses, rather than forcing customers to pay more for them. It will also include these health benefits in glasses for NHS customers, which Fletcher says have typically received “the worst” glasses opticians have to offer, as well as in kids’ glasses.
This will form a core part of its communications as well, with Boots planning to run ads highlighting the fact that it wants to “banish the stigma of NHS glasses” and educate children and their parents on eye health.
Boots is also getting rid of buy one get one free offers. Instead it will offer all subsequent pairs for half price and include all the same eye health benefits, including those that come as standard as well as features such as varifocals, in subsequent pairs.
“We have walked away from buy one get one free deals. What is much more important is to construct an offer that puts health at the heart of what we do and makes the industry much more accessible and easier to shop by stripping away the things customers tell us they hate,” he says.
Fletcher says Boots is also looking to create a more complete healthcare system that will integrate its opticians, pharmacy, consumer healthcare and hearing businesses. For example, it can refer smokers that come in to get glasses to the pharmacy for a smoking cessation kit.
“We are part of the Boots healthcare system and we want to bring that to life more and more. We will refer in pursuit of offering complete care for every person,” he said.