When Boots got in touch and asked me to review their app I admit I was about “um… yes… but i’m not sure you want me to. I just don’t really DO shopping on my phone”.
But I agreed to give it a go, and duly downloaded the Boots App (I’m on android, but it’s available in the App store for iPads/iPhones too). There are a few permissions you need to grant – nothing that caused me undue concern, but more than you’d usually expect, and pretty soon there it was. On my phone.
But this week has been utterly mad busy, planning as we are to head off for almost a month’s road trip, and trying to squeeze in double the usual workload, plus prepare for going away. Grabbing five minutes yesterday to sit down with a long-overdue cup of coffee I suddenly realised (like your brain does the minute you relax) that I needed to get some insect repellant, and some antihistamine cream for the trip. Handily, I had my phone at my elbow (when don’t we have the phone, let’s be honest), so I thought I’d give the app a try rather than writing a note to myself on yet another post-it note to join the gazillion already stuck to my desk.
I logged in, hit the ‘shop’ option on the so-simple-it’s-fabulous homescreen and searched for what I wanted, adding it to my basket. Then I put my phone down and went right back to my coffee.
Later on while I was at the park with the youngest I remembered that buying painkillers over the counter in France was a pain in the backside, and I had no idea about buying them in Italy. It would probably be a good idea to take a big box with us… whipping out my phone I added them to my basket too (you have to go through a few checkboxes when you buy over the counter meds, to make sure you know what you’re buying and that you’re okay to take whatever it is). It was so handy that I added some anti-histamine tablets while I was there.
Later on I wanted to try out the barcode reader. It’s properly brilliant! You just bring it up on screen and hover over any product’s barcode. Kapow, it finds it and goes straight to that product. It couldn’t find the bigger bottle of Pantene Shampoo in my shower – but when I browsed to it manually it was out of stock. It DID find our favourite shower gel though – and at a bargainous on-offer price too… *adds four to the basket*
It’s like when you do an online shopping grocery order. You spend ages completing it carefully, go through checkout and hit done. Then 20 minutes later realise you forgot the baking powder and have to go back in. And then while you’re cooking tea you notice that you’re actually totally out of sweet chilli sauce. Or tea bags. Going in and out and updating your order is a bit of a pain – but this app made it handy to leave my Boots shopping basket just sitting there. Because I know I’ll remember more stuff over the next day or two as my frantic brain processes everything we need for our trip. I’ll finally checkout tomorrow night, and the stuff will be at my local store on Tuesday (I can have it delivered, obviously, but I’ll be in town anyway).
One slightly annoying bug in the app is that if you’re deep inside the shop, having gone through shop > Sun & holiday > Travel > Travel Accessories > and then choose to look at the Go Travel Snoozer, if I decide it’s not for me, or I want to look at something else in that section I should just tap ‘back’ to view the previous menu, yes?
No – hitting back takes you all the way back to the home screen and you have to start again. That is a bit frustrating, but I’m guessing it’s a temporary bug and not a design flaw.
It’s also a shame you can’t pay with your points through the app – you need to log in to the main site to do so (but there’s nothing to stop you using your phone to do that, of course, you just need your browser rather than the app itself), and I didn’t want to store my card details in my phone (I’m sure it’s safe, it just gives me the heebies) so I tried to checkout via Paypal which kept glitching. So for me, for now, while it’s a new app still being fixed up and ironed out, I’m keeping it for a properly-super-handy shopping basket. It really is fab – I’ve logged into Boots on my computer this evening, and there all my basket items are, waiting for me.
What I possibly love best, though, is the ability to see all the Advantage Card offers and bonuses that are on my card currently. Boots are one of the few stores who genuinely reward with loyalty points, and there;’s nearly always some special offers available on stuff you frequently buy. I NEVER remember to check them when I’m in store, so having it on my phone in a really handy easy-to-see way will mean I definitely use them. Even as I walk into a Boots store (you can’t use them online, you need to be physically in store for most of the offers) I can quickly check them on my phone, load them to my Advantage Card… and hey presto, I have £3 off Revlon make up, or an extra 200 points when I accidentally spend more than £20 when I pop in for some minty shower gel…