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What’s gone Wrong in Boots?
So your business has been around a while. Some time ago you used to be quite the big thing. You were well known in your field. You made quite a bit of money.
And then other people started to do what you do. They started to do it cheaper. In some cases they started to do it better. And all that good-will, wealth and kudos has just gone. You’re almost forgotten.
You’ve become a ‘Stuck Steve’. No new ideas. No inspiration. No re-invention. You have become ‘Boots’ and it’s not even Pantomime season.
Boots announced yesterday that they intend to close 200 stores across the country. Again putting jobs at risk and actually in some cases it’s not a bad shout. That’s harsh I know. No job losses are good, but allow me a moment. Let’s take where I live in Leicester. In 40 seconds of walking I can walk between two branches of Boots. I mean I know it’s a little town, 10 minute drive from the city centre, with an ageing population, (My son calls it WestWorld as he’s convinced between the hours of 5pm and 7pm people go home and recharge), but there’s also a THIRD pharmacist in between the two. Plus an Asda and a Sainsbury’s within a 5 minute driving distance. That’s bonkers. How has nobody addressed that until now?
The brand formed in 1849, merged with other drugs based companies in the early 2000’s and has since been merged, sold and bought by a private equity firm. And this is where it’s gone and got itself stuck. Whilst the supermarkets and Lloyds and Superdrug have been making hay, it would seem that Boots just got stuck. The stores haven’t changed in 20 odd years. The ones in Worcester and Malvern, (where I lived before here), are classic examples. As I walk in I feel I’ve jumped in a Delorean and travelled back to 1985. Same staff. Same lay out’s. Same ‘vibe’.
So why do they become stuck? It falls to the management and always will. I’m not saying there hasn’t been investment, but certainly a lack of desire to make themselves #1 in their field again. Yes there has been more competition, but a lack of innovation and focus on message for their ideal customer has just made them a ‘meh’ brand. I’m sure that 20 years ago Boots was the ‘go-to’ brand, in the same ways Debenhams and House of Fraser were. It just goes to show that ‘If you stand still long enough, you’ll get run over.’
– Who is your ideal customer? Not enough time is spent on this. If you’re ideal customer was 60-70 twenty years ago, a good gauge is that they’re dead now. Fact. So the 60-70 year old now, has different ideas, thoughts, goals and attitudes. And it’s the last one that is the killer. If you don’t mirror the attitude…they’ll find someone who does.
– When was the last time you offered something different to your customers or clients? Standing still in business means it’s going backwards. Not innovating and offering your customers what they want, will kill your business. Have conversations with them…what more can you offer that will keep them and grow your business?
– Check on what your competition is doing. Do what they do well…better. Do what you do, sensationally. Do a SWOT and STEP analysis…be determined to be ahead of the game…Passion, desire and vision all play parts here. If neither of those three are there when you finish your analysis, perhaps ask yourself this question…”Do you still want to do it?”
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