High street brands adopt new physical retail strategies

By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe

- Last updated on GMT

High street brands adopt new physical retail strategies
High street brands adopt new physical retail strategies
Amid the changing selling environment, leading beauty and health retailers, Boots and Superdrug, pursue new methods and approaches to consumer engagement and brand positioning.

Staples of the British high street, Boots and Superdrug, have tactically placed themselves at the heart of the shopping experience for 170 and 54 years, respectively.

As the digital era arrived — bringing with it the rise of e-commerce, convenience and personalised shopping  — the big household names on the high street have struggled.

As such, the likes of physical beauty names like Boots and Superdrug are now diversifying their retail channel and distribution strategies to increase engagement through optimising the customer experience.

Masterclass event

The second largest beauty retailer in the UK, Superdrug, plans to launch its first masterclass showcase later in the year.

With experiential beauty​ at the forefront of consumer demands and market trends, the masterclass — the central focus of the event  — will provide the latest knowledge and experience on health and wellbeing through the company’s teams.

Tipped for September following an announcement​, the event aims to offer beauty buyers the opportunity to connect with cosmetics brands, engage with their products and sample upcoming ranges.

“We are so delighted to announce the launch of Superdrug Presents, which is the culmination of over a year’s work to ensure it really is the ultimate event for health and beauty lovers,” ​revealed Gemma Mason, Head of Customer Experience, Superdrug.

As part of its sales strategy, Superdrug is also concentrating on specific segments such as eyebrows and eyelashes, where it aims to open 70 brow and lash bars across the UK and Ireland by 2020.

Specialist health and personalisation

Additionally, the retailer is focusing on specialist health services across its 200 pharmacies and through its online doctor service. The business has experienced an 84% rise in the number of consumers using its specialist health services. Superdrug now offers customers a skin renewal service, which make dermal fillers and Botox accessible.

Providing insights on the direction of the retailer, Peter Macnab, CEO of Superdrug’s parent company A.S. Watson Health and Beauty UK, commented: “Our strategy for 2019 is to ensure we are offering all our customers everyday accessible health and beauty, giving them the...services they need in a vibrant and friendly store environment.”

Speaking of 2019, so far this year we have also seen Superdrug launch its vegan beauty pop-up shop. Featuring vegan products including the retailer's own vegan and cruelty-free collection B. Cosmetics, the Little Vegan pop-up shop was placed in Shoreditch, London. 

New, engaging formats

In June 2019, Boots also revealed it was launching its new format store in Covent Garden, London. Complete with beauty and wellness halls, the store of the future will have new and innovative brands, novel experiences and experts on hand to provide advice and information. Home to the largest wellness range, more than 300 beauty brands in total will feature in the Beauty Hall, Boots revealed.

To show its commitment to environmental and social responsibility, there will be no single use plastic bags in store; but rather, unbleached paper bags will be offered to customers. The stance supports the business’s chain-wide dedication to reduce its plastic bag usage; a figure it hopes to lower by over 1000 tonnes in 2019.

"Our new Covent Garden store starts a journey of reinventing Boots for the future. The store is full of exciting beauty brands, ideas for living well and services to help you get better, all with the great care that Boots colleagues give,”​ enthused Sebastian James, Managing Director, Boots UK and ROI.

Boots does not have plans for the emergence of its first store to end there, as James went on to say: “We will learn what people love and want from this shop and this will help us shape a blueprint for our whole 2,500 store estate.”

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