Boots aims to personalize experiences for 50 million customers with Adobe Experience Cloud.
Open rate with targeted loyalty email campaign
Improve experiences across the full customer journey spanning all channels
Modernize the website and mobile app to meet customer expectations for digital experiences
Create personalized experiences for 50 million Boots customers
Reduced time to update website content from days to minutes
Achieved a 41.5% open rate with targeted loyalty email campaign
Optimized web experiences through A/B testing that increased engagement by up to 5%
Uses audience segments to deliver the right messaging across all digital channels
Whether people are getting a flu shot, picking up baby formula, or even shopping for Christmas presents, Boots is the first stop for millions of shoppers across the United Kingdom. Its popularity is well known, with 85% of the UK population living within 10 minutes of one of Boots’ 2,200+ retail stores.
“Boots has thrived as a bricks-and-mortar business since the first retail store opened in 1849,” explains Fiona Brown, Head of Digital Transformation at boots.com. “Shoppers still like popping around the corner to their closest Boots store but more and more are shopping online and we have big ambitions for how we can use digital channels to improve experiences for our customers.”
Boots customers love the brand for the convenience, familiarity, and great service that they experience every time they walk into a store. However, in recent years digital channels have become an increasingly important way to give customers what they need without requiring in-person contact.
“Customer expectations are just as high for digital experiences as for in-store interactions,” says Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Officer at Boots. “Our goal is to deliver the exact experience that every customer wants, every time they interact with Boots. This means our website and mobile app need to be easy to use and offer personalized experiences that meet the needs of each individual customer.”
For digital specialists such as Brown and her colleague Dave Robinson, Head of Customer Engagement Development at Boots, the high bar for customer experiences only makes their jobs more exciting. They have a passion for finding new ways of meeting – and exceeding – customer expectations.
Today, this means taking advantage of every available digital channel to better connect customers. Personalization was a big part of that goal, with Boots looking to give customers the same timely, helpful, and friendly interactions they’re used to when shopping in a Boots store. But with the existing marketing technology stack, identifying the right experience for each customer was a slow and manual process – meaning that scaling personalization to Boots’ 50 million customers was a huge challenge.
“We know that having a strong digital presence is critical, so we’ve made investments to ensure our customers have the same great experience online as they do in stores,” says Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer at Boots. “Personalizing experiences when customers engage with us through digital channels is key to deepening customer relationships and delivering real value in their lives.”
The company decided to transform its digital experiences with Adobe Experience Cloud. Adobe Experience Cloud apps, including Adobe Experience Manager Sites, Adobe Target, Adobe Campaign, Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Audience Manager, deliver all of the integrated functionality that Boots needs to give customers the exact information they’re looking for, no matter how they interact with Boots digitally.
“Digital transformation is a journey, not a one-and-done process,” says Robinson. “That’s why the partnership with Adobe is so important. Adobe shares our vision of continuously evolving to meet the changing needs of our customers. With Adobe Experience Cloud, we can move along the digital journey together.”
Head of Digital Transformation, boots.com
Boots took its first step towards digital transformation by migrating its website to Adobe Experience Manager Sites as its new content management system. Before Adobe Experience Manager Sites, website content updates were slow and technical. Even simple changes, such as adjusting text size or swapping out a single banner, could require working with developers and scheduling an update. That meant at least 24 hours for even minor changes.
With Adobe Experience Manager, content velocity has taken off. Reusable templates and components, combined with easy drag-and-drop operations, simplify content creation. Marketers and website content authors can roll out changes in minutes. If a featured product sells out, Boots can instantly swap out a banner to a new product. Migrating to Adobe Experience Manager has also allowed Boots to adopt modern website features such as tabs and content carousels.
“The new website is fresh, modern, and more appealing,” says Brown. “It’s good for suppliers, because we can showcase products more effectively and optimize content for our customers.”
Boots worked closely with Adobe Consulting Services and partner IBM iX to launch Adobe Experience Manager as a headless implementation. “We use Adobe Experience Manager as a headless content management system because it provides maximum flexibility and future-proofs our content,” says Brown. “When we update one piece of content, it propagates changes across digital channels, helping us be even more agile and give customers access to the latest news and deals from Boots.”
With Adobe Experience Manager in place, Boots is turning to Adobe Target to run A/B tests and optimize content across its website and mobile app. Since it takes less time to create content, Boots can support more variations and more tests. The real-time metrics from Adobe Analytics help measure how tests perform to quickly spot winning test variations.
“Our big goal over the next year is to improve navigation,” says Brown. “It’s a challenging area since we have so much information that we want to share. Adobe Target helps us determine the right balance of information and ease of use for customers.
Adobe Target also serves as the backbone of the Boots personalization initiative. Adobe Audience Manager brings together all customer information, including customer loyalty membership and real-time website behaviors from Adobe Analytics, to create audience segments. Adobe Target uses those segments to deliver the right messages to the right customers.
Initial tests have shown that even small navigation tests can yield significant results. One test explored incorporating tiles highlighting content such as pharmacy services, the Boots mobile app, or delivery deals when browsing through boots.com. This simple change increased engagement up to 5%. Another navigation test took a closer look at how to highlight filters, comparing whether ratings, price, or brand filters were most relevant to customers. The Optimization team explored multiple iterations, achieving up to a 4% increase in conversion rate for the most successful test.
“Having a fully integrated martech platform with Adobe Experience Cloud has opened up so many doors for how we can personalize customer experiences,” says Robinson. “Currently everyone gets the same experience, much like they get the same experience when they walk into their local Boots store. But imagine if we could rearrange our digital store for every customer and make it a wholly unique shopping experience. With Adobe Experience Cloud, we can make it happen.”
Head of Customer Engagement Development, Boots UK
Boots uses data not just for personalization on the website or mobile app, but also to drive relevant messaging across all digital channels, from push notifications to emails to digital ads online. Handling data for 50 million customers and 15 million active loyalty members is no easy feat, but Adobe Analytics streamlines much of the data management. This gives the customer engagement team access to much more granular – and timely – customer data.
“Adobe Campaign and Adobe Analytics are game-changing,” says Robinson. “We send one billion emails every year through Adobe Campaign, and since the emails are timely and targeted, open and click rates are better than ever.”
Partners Cognizant and Merkle worked with Boots to migrate existing campaigns to Adobe Campaign and support exciting new use cases. The online customer prospecting campaign emails offers to hot leads, resulting in a promising 7.7% click-through rate. Around the holidays, an Advent calendar campaign offered one deal a day on full-sized versions of products featured in the No 7 Advent Calendar.
The abandoned basket email campaign reminds customers to come back and check out when they leave products in their digital shopping carts. The product replacement campaign goes a step further, sending email reminders for people to repurchase items when their supply is running low. If a customer buys a 30-day supply of vitamins, for example, they might get an email on day 25 reminding them to purchase more vitamins soon so they don’t run out.
“We could send reminder emails before, but they would be much less accurate and effective,” says Robinson. “For instance, we might send an email to everyone who bought vitamins during a two-week time period, but by the time we put together an audience and sent out the email, it wouldn’t be relevant. With Adobe Experience Cloud, customers get a reminder email at just the right time.”
Boots can also combine data from multiple sources to create better messages. For example, instead of simply sending a customer an email telling them how many loyalty points they’ve accrued, the email might tell them that they’ve earned enough Boots points to spend on their favorite brand of lipstick. The campaign is achieving an open rate of 41.5% with initial analysis suggesting that more than 40% of redemptions result in additional purchases. Using Adobe Campaign, Boots can scale out these types of complex, personalized campaigns with ease and develop a more personal relationship with customers.
“The exciting part about Adobe Experience Cloud is how we can use audience segments across email and all other digital channels,” says Robinson. “It’s really powerful because it allows us to reinforce messages for customers across channels and show them relevant messages no matter how they choose to interact with us.”
Head of Digital Transformation, boots.com
Adobe Experience Cloud changes the customer experience and is transforming how Boots teams view their work. Marketers spend less time trying to work with developers on technical issues, giving them more time to focus on finding creative ways to connect with customers. CRM specialists spend less time manually going through data, so they can spend more time working with business teams to suggest how data can be used to shape the customer journey.
With less reliance on developers, digital teams have more ownership over content, which has helped them feel much more empowered. The higher level of engagement can be seen in how eager team members are to participate in learning programs, from bespoke training from Wunderman Thompson Commerce to completing courses in Adobe Experience League.
“Transforming the digital journey is a team effort,” says Brown. “We need to collaborate and bring together all sorts of perspectives around the technology and the customers. Adobe Experience Cloud gives us integrated apps that work together to bring the excellent Boots experiences customers expect throughout their shopping journeys.”