The synergies to flow between Boots, Walgreens have only begun to be tapped
LONDON — As part of its multi-channel strategy, Boots UK is currently testing the use of iPads to support in-store ordering across 30 stores, the London-based drug store retailer recently announced.
Sound familiar? Borrowing a page from the Walgreens playbook is evidence that the sharing of best practices will flow in both directions across the Atlantic. What else could Boots borrow from Walgreens? Creating a pharmacy business that better interacts with the neighboring community is one strength at Walgreens that Boots may successfully plug into.
And how about clinics? While the United Kingdom has universal health care, you can’t just walk into a doctors office in London without an appointment. And Walgreens has plenty of experience not only operating a retail clinic as part of a pharmacy format, but also experience in leveraging that clinic against surrounding healthcare providers and employers in an effort to realize the best healthcare value.
That link between Walgreens and Boots will very quickly become a superhighway with best practices flowing in both directions. Joe Magnacca, Walgreens president daily living products and solutions, recently sat down with DSN regarding the big picture in developing successful retail pharmacy formats.
"[Boots] clearly looks at each category differently," he said. For example, Boots is very health- and beauty-focused when it comes to seasonal merchandise, as opposed to the general merchandise fare that stock the seasonal aisles of many American retailers. Other service models that Boots has instituted across the Pond that might be explored by Walgreens include optical and hearing aids.
“We think there are a lot of great learnings that will come our way and we think similar things will happen the other way, as well, in terms of some of our strategies in private label and innovation,” Magnacca said. “I think the way we approach fresh is different than they do today. We think they have a great infrastructure from a supply chain point of view, but we believe we have some very dominant brands that can be heavily leveraged, including our DeLish and Nice! brands," he added.
Both Walgreens and Boots will have increasing opportunities to leave their respective atypical drug store models behind and be more aggressive with a cross-polination of drug store retailing for the future.