You are here: Home Newsroom Features Boots UK Creates Unique Digital Shopping Experience by Developing Mobile App with IBM

Boots UK Creates Unique Digital Shopping Experience by Developing Mobile App with IBM

22 June 2016
Feature Brand

Boots UK is the first retailer in the world to roll out the IBM MobileFirst for iOS Sales Assist app -- powered by analytics -- for colleagues across its 2,500 store network

Boots, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Boots has launched Sales Assist, an IBM MobileFirst for iOS app, across its UK stores to make it easier and simpler for customers to get hold of the products they need. 

IBM is working with Boots UK to further evolve the app and support the retailer’s vision to use mobility to change the way customers shop. Boots UK is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.

 “At Boots UK we’re investing in innovative new technology to further improve the retail experience for our customers, and mobility is at the forefront of this transformation,” said Robin Phillips, Director of Omnichannel and Development at Boots UK. “By developing Sales Assist, in collaboration with IBM and Apple, and launching it on the 3,700 iPads in our stores, we’re integrating our digital and in-store presence to deliver an even better shopping environment for customers. The unique tool allows our colleagues to quickly show product information, ratings and reviews, look up inventory online and make recommendations based on online analytics, all from the shop floor. It will help even our smallest stores feel like a flagship shop, with access to the entire Boots range at their fingertips.” 

Sales Assist is one of more than 100 apps in the IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio made exclusively for iPhone and iPad that are changing the nature of work for global companies in specific industries and professions.

 The new app taps into the product databases on with iPad, and uses its analytics to enable colleagues to easily make personal recommendations to customers, such as additional items or alternatives available, as well as view item location and online inventory. If a product is not in stock in store, the Boots colleague can simply use the app to locate the item in another Boots store nearby or offer to order the product online to be collected in the store of their choice the next day*.

Vickie Ward is a Boots Customer Assistant who was one of the team invited to help design and develop the app based on her experience of supporting the customer journey in store. Vickie said: “We worked hard to design the Sales Assist app around the needs of Boots colleagues, and using it gives us the confidence to provide our customers with the most up-to-date advice on products and offers on the spot. It helps us to give customers an even better and more personal experience, so that no one goes home disappointed.” 

“Together, IBM and Apple are working with companies and real industry professionals to change how companies do business, and our collaboration with Boots UK is delivering a more contemporary approach to customer service,” said Mahmoud Naghshineh, general manager, Apple partnership, IBM. “By empowering its colleagues with up-to-date data and product information delivered to the Apple device, Boots UK is leading amongst retailers by creating an enriched shopping experience that helps personalize customer engagement and enables faster service.”

Boots is using Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, tolink Sales Assist with the company’s applications and data, enabling a high-performance, scalable and flexible hybrid cloud environment. As a result, the company can rapidly deliver recommendations to customers, seamlessly view inventory and more across, which runs on IBM WebSphere Commerce with integration services from IBM Global Business Services.


*Place an order online or in store before 8pm, for free collection in store after 12pm the next day, exclusions apply. The service is available Monday-Saturday in over 2,300 stores, excluding the Scottish Highlands/Islands, Jersey/Guernsey and Northern Ireland Stores. See the store locator on for your local store opening hours. See for details.


What’s new at Boots? Find out the latest updates from the UK’s largest pharmacy-led health and beauty chain – from new products and services to important business developments.



Read the views of our team members at Boots, who are experts in their field. Find out what they think about the most important issues of the day – from healthcare equality to sustainability.


Media Resources

A you are a journalist looking for information and resources about Boot? Visit our media resources hub to access images, reports, spokespeople and videos.


Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer. Its mission is to be the first choice for pharmacy, health and beauty caring for people, customers and communities everywhere.

With around 52,000 team members and 2,200 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores, Boots serves its customer and patients’ wellbeing for life.

Boots is the UK’s number one beauty destination and largest pharmacy chain, dispensing medicines and providing essential healthcare services. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of product offering including its innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek MakeUP and YourGoodSkin. For over 170 years, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail. More company information is available on


*Figures accurate as of 31 May 2023