Alliance Boots is weighing up allowing other retailers to use its stores as collection points for online orders, as it accelerates its strategy of forming partnerships withother retailers.
The group signed a deal on Tuesday with maternity specialist Mothercare to design and sell an exclusive range of children’s clothes for Boots UK and Ireland, and is considering partnerships with other retailers as part of its multichannel click-and-collect operation. Alliance Boots is looking at whether other retailers’ products could be collected from its 2,600 shops.
Alliance Boots health and beauty chief executive Alex Gourlay told Retail Week: “When you ask customers what they want from Boots, convenience comes high up on the list so if they can pick up their other online shopping at the same time as their Boots products then that should be an added extra.”
He added: “Our click-and-collect service is free to customers and has become very popular over the year. At Christmas 40% of online orders were collected from
stores. Tying in with other non-competitive retailers will also drive footfall back to the high street.”
Boots UK director of multichannel Tim Stacey said: “There are a lot of retailers with great offers, particularly in sectors such as fashion, which don’t have a good reach.
We have over 2,600 stores and can reach many of the small towns where other retailers don’t have a presence. And it could also be another route to market for pure-play retailers who don’t have a store network.”
Gourlay also revealed details of how its partnership with Waitrose will work. Boots has already rebranded the 13 pharmacies it operates in Waitrose shops and during the spring this will be followed by three trials.
Boots will supply and category manage health and beauty products for Waitrose, and four 1,615 sq ft to 2,155 sq ft shop-in-shops will open in Boots stores. Also, Boots’ lunchtime sandwiches will be switched to Waitrose products.
It is likely that in larger Boots stores Waitrose will also supply ready meals and take-home products alongside sandwiches in its shop-in-shop areas.