Wednesday, 13 June 2007

You've got it wrong Boots

You may have seen recent advertising for Boots.

The latest campaign is all about personal consultation rooms. The concept behind the idea is that we're all too busy these days to go to the doctor and we need an alternative.

I'm sure most of us know that pharmacists are a great source of information but Boots feel that they can enhance this service that pharmacies provide.

They have decided that we need to have access to personal consultation rooms that will afford us some privacy when we need to ask a pharmacist for advice.

Well I disagree. If I need to ask the pharmacist about something I'm quite happy to do so over the counter. "Aha" I hear you cry "but what if you have an embarrassing condition?"

Well frankly I'd just ask over the counter in a slightly quieter voice. I think asking for some time in a personal consultation room would be just as embarrassing as discussing a medical condition.

This isn't just a point of disagreement though. There are practical implications for this new strategic direction and I have an example of a downside.

The Boots store in Brentwood is quite small but it had one service that it provided that I used to use, a lot. They had a room set aside for baby change/baby feeding. There are very few places in Brentwood where this facility exists and the Boots facility was spacious, clean and convenient.

I think you can guess where I'm going with this. The decision they've made is to replace a baby care room for a personal consultation room.

A room that was used regularly throughout the day is now, I suspect, lying dormant.

A room that was appreciated by customers and drew people into the store even if they hadn't planned to shop there is now a room with a closed door that's probably getting dusty through neglect.

A poorly conceived and executed marketing campaign.

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