#TOTPU: Marketing plans behind Boots 'Bootiques' pop-ups

This week, the last of three experimental Boots UK pop-up stores will close its doors in what has marked a new approach to Christmas marketing from the high street health and beauty retailer.

In London’s Soho, Liverpool One shopping centre and – most recently – Birmingham’s Bullring, Boots has opened temporary ‘Bootiques’ stores showcasing themed product ranges aimed at making consumers think differently about its Christmas offering.

From its love-themed shop in Soho, which sold beauty and sexual wellness products, to its Liverpool sleep boutique, which helped spread a healthy sleeping message, Boots moved away from its typical marketing comfort zone. Meanwhile, the ‘Tween Bootique’, which comes to the end of its tenure in Birmingham on 18 December, gave visitors a chance to find items for the ‘moody tweenager formally known as your little angel’.

Essential Retail (ER) caught up with Boots’ senior marketing manager, Julie Bentley (JB), to find out the details behind the new pop-up approach, which is a part of the retailer’s ‘Gift Like You Get Them’ Christmas marketing campaign launched in November.

ER: What do you hope to achieve from the pop-ups?

JB: The entire 'Gift Like You Get Them' campaign is a concerted effort by Boots to help the nation become better gifters and to put the fun back into finding the perfect present.

As part of our shift to a mass personalisation marketing strategy, each Bootique has been developed around data showing what people want most this Christmas. As each of the physical Bootiques are rooted in research, they will appear when and where they are needed most to address a specific customer need. For example, our research revealed that Birmingham is the ‘Tween Capital of the UK’, being home to 45% more tweens compared to the national average.

ER: What happens once the pop-ups have closed down?

JB: Whilst our fully shoppable pop-up Bootiques will each live for just one week, they will also be available to shop in over 350 stores nationwide, online and in shoppable ads throughout Christmas.

ER: What inspired the love-themed Soho store?

JB: Our research revealed that Londoners are more likely to prioritise their sexual wellbeing the most – spending 32% more money on it and spending twice as long having sex.

Our ‘Heels Over Head’ Bootique opened in the capital for one week so couples could visit, browse and buy their relationship a Christmas present from our surprisingly broad range of products, from massage oils and candles to sex toys and lubricant.

ER: What role have Bootiques played in peak trading marketing?

JB: The pop-up Bootiques have been designed to be genuinely helpful to anyone who is struggling for gift ideas, but they are just one component of a much bigger 'Gift Like You Get Them' campaign.  

Following the launch of our TV film back in November, the campaign has rolled out across digital, social, PR, experiential and even through the Boots Advantage Card. Throughout the festive period, thousands of Bootiques will be appearing wherever our customers are. Some of them will live online and in-store, whilst others will use QR technology to convert traditional media formats into fully shoppable retail spaces.

ER: What does this new approach mean for Boots?

JB: It really is unlike anything we’ve ever done before and embodies what we think of as the new Boots – fresh, contemporary but, most importantly, completely customer-centric.

Boots on trend

The entire ‘Gift Like You Get Them’ campaign has been devised and delivered by Boots alongside the team at ad and PR agency, WPP, which involved recruiting pop-up shop staff from external agencies rather than utilising existing shop workers.

You can read more about the Soho pop-up and other retailers' pop-up strategies in an Essential Retail feature, which marks the start of a new Top of the Pop-Ups series exploring the industry trend for temporary store space involving consumer brands, online companies, and traditional retailers alike.

Please contact freelance news and features writer, Ben Sillitoe, to alert us about your pop-up plans.

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