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Boots breaking American market

Quintessentially British brand Boots could be wholly owned by America’s largest drug-store chain Walgreens by 2015.

In its second of year trade in the US, Boots has opened 15 stores in Manhattan and is growing rapidly with an opening rate of eight stores per week; Walgreens currently values Boots at around 10.5 billion pounds.

Unlike Tesco’s disastrous foray into the US market with Fresh & Easy, Boots has manoeuvred the transatlantic expansion with precision, taking into account and identifying the nuances and preferences of American consumers.

Their key to success so far has been in implementing a ‘tailored service’ in store for customers and targeting under-developed markets such as men’s beauty care.

We look at 5 ways the brand has successfully positioned itself for doing business in America:

  • A tailored service – with a beauty advisor in every store, Boots is positioning itself as a high-end rather than basic drug store. Personalised advice and in-store make-overs will appeal to the US shopper who likes to be engaged with shop assistants and to discuss purchases
  • Under-developed markets such as men’s health – Nowadays men are turning to beauty treatments and skincare products which were once solely for women; last year both Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs launched make-up lines for men. Boots is capitalizing on this growing trend in male beauty products
  • The look and feel of the stores is important – they’re light, airy and modern and a step-up from the basic American drug stores
  • Affordability – the prices are slightly cheaper than in the UK, and a ‘mix’n’match’ approach ensures expensive products are displayed alongside cheaper ranges, giving the customer choice and variety
  • Optimising the British heritage – on UK high streets Boots’ familiar logo is a reassuring sign of quality, longevity and tradition.  Brand recognition and heritage will be considered an asset by American shoppers
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