How Boots used influencers to get Gen Z to spend more on beauty

Boots launched a platform to engage young shoppers and help them rethink the retailer as a beauty destination.

To arrest a decline in beauty spend among younger consumers, Boots created a platform called Boots X with the aim of increasing engagement within this key demographic, through the involvement of trusted influencers.

The WPP project used the insight that Gen Z consumers see themselves as being on a path of self-discovery, yet are distrustful of overt marketing campaigns.

Boots X was tailored to focus on self-expression, offering more than just loyalty rewards by putting social media at its centre. The scheme offered incremental benefits that resonated with the target market. Exclusive offers, free – but limited – samples designed to tap into the ‘fear of missing out’ sensibilities of Gen Z shoppers, and news on new product launches were key to this.

Boots X brought together influencers from a range of backgrounds, including make-up artists, musicians and shoppers. Experimental sessions saw them swap looks, talk about experiences and compete in mystery challenges. Video content hosted on Boots’ Instagram channel quickly became some of the most-viewed content on the brand platform.

Prior to Boots X, Gen Z consumers had been showing the lowest engagement with Boots of any customer group. Targeting consumers under the age of 30, the campaign exceeded its KPIs, which were to drive incremental beauty sales, increase average spend, drive sign-up to the Boots Advantage Card, and spark a reappraisal of the beauty offer at Boots. All this contributed to Boots winning the 2020 Marketing Week Masters award for best use of influencers.

The judging panel described the platform as “a strong campaign built on solid customer insight”, with clearly articulated objectives and results.