“We have completely reinvented our opticians space”

Boots Opticians reveals new in-store experience, products and collaborations as part of its relaunch of the Covent Garden London flagship store

Boots store

June 2019 saw the relaunch of Boots flagship Covent Garden London store, which includes a Boots Opticians concession. OT spoke to the marketing director at Boots Opticians, Madeline Shaw, to understand what drove the changes and what patients will find in the practice.

How does the Covent Garden store represent a change in direction for Boots Opticians?

We have completely reinvented our opticians space in Covent Garden based on customer insights. It feels cool, warm, stylish and inviting with a new and improved waiting area, new ‘Frame Bar’ and unisex (not gender-specific) frames.

Our range of glasses in the Covent Garden store have been curated specifically and include many desirable designer brands. Some of our existing ranges have introduced new styles, including Chloe with its optical and sun ranges, Mont Blanc which is new to Boots Opticians, and dedicated non-prescription sun styles, including a Ray-ban collection that includes popular styles like the square ‘1971.’ We have also launched a limited-edition range of 24 trend-led frames, which will be displayed as part of our new frame furniture.

We have listened to customer feedback and reviewed styles that customers are buying from our product range. Our buying teams, who have a vast level of expertise, go to industry trend shows and research fashion trends to understand not only what customers are looking for but what styles and materials are currently in fashion.

Boots Opticians is collaborating with Tom Davies to create a new frame range. What was the thinking behind this move?

We are launching Catch London, a new range that is exclusive to Boots Opticians. The range is designed and produced by Tom Davies, who creates bespoke eyewear for the rich and famous. This is a completely new range for Boots Opticians, and we will be the only practice in the UK to stock these frames when they launch. Customers are not able to buy these frames yet. They will be placed on a waiting list, and the launch date is still to be confirmed.

Boots has collaborated with the London School of Styling. What does this partnership bring?

We believe that glasses shouldn’t just be the perfect fit for our customers’ eyes; they should also reflect their style and personality too. That’s why we’ve partnered with the London School of Styling. Between September 2018 and December 2019, and as part of this exciting partnership, we’re training our colleagues to become ‘frame stylists.’ From helping customers to understand their face shapes and how their colouring impacts which glasses suit them, to talking them through our huge range of frames, our frame stylists will help inspire our customers to find the perfect pair for them.

Has Boots made any changes to the sight test experience in the Covent Garden store?

We haven’t made any changes to the sight test experience – the new store comes fully equipped with all the latest ophthalmic testing equipment as you would expect with any new practice. We have new seating in the consultation rooms, which is brighter and less clinical and the ‘teach’ area for contact lenses is more relaxed and friendlier.

Is Covent Garden a pilot for a potential nationwide rollout? If so, if there a timescale in mind?

We are always looking for ways to adapt and evolve our stores to ensure our customers have the best possible experience. We’ll be looking at opportunities to roll out some of the new elements from Covent Garden into our other stores.