Thursday, 11 October 2007

Online shop review: Boots the chemist

The first in an occasional series of online shopping reviews.

A few weeks ago, I did our biannual Boots online shop. This is where I buy stuff like shampoo, shower gel, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and lots of other bathroom stuff in one go. Gets delivered to my door, and cuts down on including the same items in the weekly shop.

The website itself am not too keen on. It's a bit 2001 in style, and Boots haven't found a way of comfortably showing all the products they sell. You can search and browse, but it's quite fiddly to hunt down a specific product that you use; the categorisation of items is not intuitive. Having said that, the various offers available in their branches are also available through their e-shop, and it's easy to add and remove things from your online basket and do a cost-efficient shop online. I'm quite astonished at what I get for the total amount.

The last Boots shop I did I wasn't too chuffed at, as it took an unacceptable two weeks to deliver. This time, when I ordered, I was informed that the goods would arrive the same week, which I sceptically read. Online tracking provided some information, though with cryptic status messages. Including this: 


I know that the Outer Hebrides is way out for some people, organisations and delivery companies, but ... Saturn? What does that mean? 

Anyway, the goods turned up in two very large boxes three days after the order was placed, which is pretty good.

Box 1 was fine. All the stuff tightly packaged, no problems.

Box 2 was not fine. Not enough filler meant that one bottle of shower gel had split, though thankfully all the bottles were well wrapped so there was no leakage elsewhere. Also, three items were not in either box, despite the despatch note saying they were.

A quick email was despatched; I refuse to use phone services and sit in a stupid queuing system; defeats the point of online shopping off to them. They rang back, apologetic, and confirmed that replacement items for the split one and the missing ones would be despatched. And they duly arrived a few days later (this time, well packaged).

  • Value for money of order: 9

  • Web site and ordering process: 7 

  • Delivery and tracking: 8

  • Packaging: 6

  • Problem handling: 9

  • Overall score: 78%

  • Would I use it again?: Yes


  • quick delivery

  • free delivery for orders over £45

  • problem handling was quick and online

  • website has the full product range, and all the "3 for 2" and other offers


  • goods not packaged well 

  • website is fiddly and takes some searching and browsing to find items

  • can collect, but can't redeem, Advantage Card points in an online shop - why?

1 comment:

  1. Obviously all computer tracking programs are named from the American space program. I occasionally work in a train depot in the Midlands whose computer system for tracking the trains is called Gemini!