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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Why Boots Online? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I'm sure you've heard of Boots. They have a store in just about every shopping centre and high street in the UK. They have been in business since 1849 starting out as family run herbalist and over the years they have expanded their range of products and services and turned into the great shop we know today. Now I love Boots. Although it's not the cheapest of places to shop, I find that it has just about everything cosmetics wise under one roof. Which is great for me because I hate shopping. If I absolutely have to visit a shop in person then I like to be able to go into one shop, get what I want and go home. Nowadays I have discovered that most of my favourite shops have developed websites so I don't even have to battle the crowds YAY!!!
~~~~~~~~~~ Navigation ~~~~~~~~~~ I will start with navigation because the design of the website itself is the feature that we come across first. Navigating around the site is pretty easy. The pages for departments load fairly quickly despite the amount of pictures. Clearly the site has been designed with time saving in mind!!!
On the left hand side, a list of departments is displayed in clear, easy to read text. These links open up sub departments, making it easier to browse around the aisles. The products available are well organised and everything is where you would expect it to be.
There is a border which remains with you throughout the shopping pages. This contains all the official bits like your basket, login/out pages, search feature, your account, etc. So you have easy access to the parts of the site which you will frequently use. Also, a row of tabs remains with you. These tabs are links to all the main departments which means that you don't have to flick back through pages to get back to the departments list.
If you don't want to browse then you can use the search option which will quickly bring up a list of relevant products. By relevant I mean that if you type in shower gel then you wont get a list of shampoo products. It does occasionally bring up something random but this is very rare and the products that I have searched for have always come up first time.
The actual look of the site is very similar to the in store decor. Lots of white with a bit of blue or pink thrown in here and there. It can be pretty glaring sometimes but it's probably like this to remind you of the clinical-ness of a Boots store! The other problem is that sometimes I find that pictures are too small to see details which can be a problem with Christmas presents. Like those gift
Pictures of Boots Internet
A Boots store in 1916. The Boots logo hasn't changed much has it!!!
sets. It would be nice to have a large picture to get a better idea of what it looks like.
~~~~~~~~~ Features ~~~~~~~~~ Boots.com has loads of time saving features to make shopping with them easier. The first thing you will have to do is to create an account so that you can place orders. Signing up is necessary as with all shopping sites. Signing up is easily done it's just the bog standard name, address and email details. You can also link your Boots Advantage card here to earn those points. Unfortunately you must go instore to spend your points. The good thing about this is that it's easier to save your points if you will only be going in store to treat yourself. But I don't see it this way! I find it really annoying as my main reason for using the website is because I don't want to go in store. With my other two loyalty cards from GAME and Tesco, I can spend my rewards online so I think it's a bit pants that I cant with Boots.
The shop again feature remembers recent orders and brings up a list of your recently ordered products. So if you buy the same shampoo every month then it's there on this page. No tiresome searches!!!
Quickshop, if you have a boots catalogue then you can enter the product codes to add the items to your basket. This is great for when you cant be bothered to browse through the departments or use the search engine. You can enter up to 12 products at once which is allright mostly until it comes to Christmas when you're wanting to order about 50 items!!! Still it's got to be quicker than searching for each item individually.
The basket updates every time you add a product. One thing to watch for is that, as with a lot of shopping sites, the displayed total doesn't include special offer reductions. The actual cost of your shopping is not calculated until you reach the checkout. The contents of the basket saves automatically which I found out when my laptop's battery conked in the middle of a huge shopping spree!!!
A final great feature of this site is that you can also can earn money through a lot of cash back websites such as topcashback.co.uk. So even more pennies there for you!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ How secure is it? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well as far as I'm concerned it's fine. Nobody can access my account details without the knowledge of my password and user name. If I forget my password then I can only reset it through an email link sent to my email address. So that part is secure. Now as far as my card details go they are a huge and well known company so you would presume that they would have the latest in Internet security programmes. According to Boots they use VeriSign. Another added security option is that you have the choice to store your payment details or just enter them each time you shop. This can be a little annoying when your in a rush but at least then you don't have to worry about who really has access to this data when your card details aren't stored there.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Checkout and Delivery ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Paying for your purchases is simplicity itself. After making the rest of the website so simple it would probably be stupid not to make giving them your money easy as well !!! Clicking the checkout tab brings up a list of your items and the total including special offers. You can use any promotional codes from vouchers here and chose to have your purchases gift wrapped.
The next page allows you to change the delivery address. You can just enter a post code here and the site will find the address for you to save having to type the whole lot in. There is a small space here for you to give the delivery guy some further instructions but there's not much room so you have to be brief. You can also save these address details for the next time you shop if you wish.
A swift click on the proceed to checkout button will bring up the delivery date options page. Here you can select when you want your shopping to arrive. Now unlike Tesco they do not give you a delivery slot based on the time of day, only the day of the week. So your shopping could arrive at any time between 9am and 5pm. You have the choice of standard delivery which is the cheapest option at £2.95. Next day delivery costs £5.50. If these options are not convenient then you can select any day Monday to Saturday, from the calendar. Weekdays are charged at £4.50 and Saturdays at £7.50. If you've spent more than £40 then the standard delivery option is free of charge which is okay I suppose but in my opinion the delivery rates are a little steep. £7.50 to pick a Saturday for delivery what a rip off. Personally this is all right for me, as if I place my order on a Wednesday and chose the free option, I know I can be at home for the rest of the week to wait in for the delivery. If I worked 9-5 Monday to Friday like most people, this would be a problem. You can leave instructions for the delivery guy to leave your parcel with a neighbour or in a safe place but if you have any medicines on your order then these must be signed for so this can pose a problem if none of your neighbours are available to sign for your delivery.
The fourth page is for your payment details. Boots.com accept payments from Visa Mastercard, Electron, Solo/Maestro, Delta and Amex. You do have to enter the address details of the card holder which is a bit of a hassle but to save time, you can also use paypal if you have an account with them.
The fifth page is confirmation of your order and then the sixth and final page shows you your receipt which you can save for future reference if you wish. I never bother to save this page even though you should because a few minutes after I place my order I get an email with a copy of my receipt included. Also on the day of dispatch you will get another email to let you know.
~~~~~~~~~~~~ Packaging ~~~~~~~~~~~~
So you've placed your order, the next thing you will want to know about is the packaging. Well it's pretty bog standard stuff. Cardboard box, paper stuffing inside to restrict movement of the contents and any liquids in bottles are put into plastic bags in case of spillages. Everything is recyclable so I've got no qualms there either. The gift wrapping is brilliant. Way better than I can do! When I made my order for last Christmas I asked for git wrapping on the items that I knew were going to be awkward. It was all done beautifully with Christmas paper and ribbons, well worth the money!
The last thing I would like to mention is their returns policy. You can send back any unwanted items free of charge for a full refund or an exchange. The details of how to do this are included in your delivery note. There is a label with a freepost address for your use and you can just stick this on the box your stuff came in to post it back. I've never had to send anything back so I can't really comment on Boots performance in this but I've never heard of anyone having any problems with this so I'm presuming that it must be okay.
SO to sum it up I'm very happy to shop on this site. I find it a great time saver and enjoyable. Delivery charges are a little steep if you want to choose your delivery slot and the times are a little general compared to the likes of Tesco.com. However this is not a problem for me as I only work 3nights a week and am available for the rest of the week. Delivery has always been prompt and there is good communication from Boots regarding your orders. The range of products is brilliant and you can buy everything that you would be able to in store. Around Christmas time I even noticed that there were a few items that were only available online and not in store. They do however have some items which are unavailable due to stock shortages which can be annoying. It always seems to be on popular items and it can take up to a week for these items to become available. Other than those little niggles I am happy to recommend this site to those of us who just can't be bothered to do the shopping centres. Especially around Christmas time when the chavs are off school and the White Rose Centre is packed!!!