Boots, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, and IBM have announced that Boots has launched Sales Assist, an IBM MobileFirst for iOS app, across its UK stores to make it easier and simpler for customers to get hold of the products they need.
IBM is working with Boots UK to further evolve the app and support the retailer’s vision to use mobility to change the way customers shop. Boots UK is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.
“At Boots UK we’re investing in innovative new technology to further improve the retail experience for our customers, and mobility is at the forefront of this transformation,” said Robin Phillips, director of omni-channel and development at Boots UK. “By developing Sales Assist, in collaboration with IBM and Apple, and launching it on the 3,700 iPads in our stores, we’re integrating our digital and in-store presence to deliver an even better shopping environment for customers. The unique tool allows our colleagues to quickly show product information, ratings and reviews, look up inventory online and make recommendations based on online analytics, all from the shop floor. It will help even our smallest stores feel like a flagship shop, with access to the entire Boots range at their fingertips.”
Sales Assist is one of more than 100 apps in the IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio made exclusively for iPhone and iPad that are changing the nature of work for global companies in specific industries and professions.
The new app taps into the product databases on boots.com with iPad, and uses its analytics to enable colleagues to easily make personal recommendations to customers, such as additional items or alternatives available, as well as view item location and online inventory. If a product is not in stock in store, the Boots colleague can simply use the app to locate the item in another Boots store nearby or offer to order the product online to be collected in the store of their choice the next day.
Vickie Ward is a Boots customer assistant who was one of the team invited to help design and develop the app based on her experience of supporting the customer journey in store. Ward said: “We worked hard to design the Sales Assist app around the needs of Boots colleagues, and using it gives us the confidence to provide our customers with the most up-to-date advice on products and offers on the spot. It helps us to give customers an even better and more personal experience, so that no one goes home disappointed.”
“Together, IBM and Apple are working with companies and real industry professionals to change how companies do business, and our collaboration with Boots UK is delivering a more contemporary approach to customer service,” said Mahmoud Naghshineh, general manager, Apple partnership, IBM. “By empowering its colleagues with up-to-date data and product information delivered to the Apple device, Boots UK is leading amongst retailers by creating an enriched shopping experience that helps personalize customer engagement and enables faster service.”
Boots is using Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, to link Sales Assist with the company’s applications and data, enabling a high-performance, scalable and flexible hybrid cloud environment. As a result, the company can rapidly deliver recommendations to customers, seamlessly view inventory and more across boots.com, which runs on IBM WebSphere Commerce with integration services from IBM Global Business Services.