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

22 June 2016
News 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

LONDON and ARMONK, NY -- 22 June 2016: 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.”

Robin Phillips with the IBM MobileFirst for iOS Sales Assist app

Robin Phillips with the IBM MobileFirst for iOS Sales Assist app

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.


About Boots UK

Boots UK (, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.  With 2,510* stores in the UK, Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care, be the first choice for pharmacy and healthcare and offer innovative 'only at Boots' exclusive products such as the UK’s leading skincare brand No7, all delivered with the great value customers love. Created over 165 years ago, the Boots brand is still at the heart of the communities it serves.

*As at 31 August 2015 excluding equity method investments


About IBM

For more information regarding IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps and services please visit or


Media Contacts:


Marisa Conway

IBM Media Relations

(212) 671-9408


Boots UK:

Clare Stafford and Beth Simmons

Corporate and Pharmacy Communications

+44 (0) 115 949 5683



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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, 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 30 November 2023