Boots and MIW

In summer 2019, the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer, Boots, embarked on a programme to improve sustainability in retail. Beginning with a single concept store in London’s Covent Garden, the company began researching how customers would respond to greener retail products and practices. These included the replacement of plastic carrier bags with brown paper bags, stocking a broader range of sustainable health and beauty brands, and the provision of free public drinking water. The Boots Project Management Team contacted MIW Water Cooler Experts for assistance with the latter.

The Brief

For the initial installation, Boots’ main priority was to find a water dispenser that would appeal to the brand’s very broad customer base. MIW’s role would be:

  • To advise upon the most appropriate equipment for the site, taking into account the particular specifications of the client.
  • To ensure that all equipment installed complied with stringent water authority and Government health and safety guidelines. It also needed to be capable of consistently serving an extremely high number of users, durable, easy to maintain and easy to use. Importantly, the bottle filler would have to be accessible to as wide a range of users as possible, including the less able. And, if possible, the unit needed to be energy efficient, in line with the Boots ‘store of the future’ ethos.
  • To provide advice on water dispenser installation, including logistics, siting and technical requirements.
  • To source, and install the unit to an agreed timetable.
  • To provide any necessary aftercare, including servicing and sanitisation.

The Process

Once specification had been agreed, MIW’s first task was to conduct a site inspection to ensure that the relevant space and groundworks were in place. And to offer logistical solutions should that not be the case. Then it came to identifying the best equipment for the job.

Taking all of Boots’ requirements into consideration, MIW recommended the Halsey Taylor HTHB8-WF Hydroboost in-wall bottle filler. WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) approved electronic bottle filler has been rigorously tested and guaranteed to be fully compliant with all health and safety requirements. Wall-fitted, it needs very little space, and with hands-free operation there is very little opportunity for accidental damage, or water overflow. The sensor operation also makes the unit extremely easy to use for all-comers, including those in wheelchairs. With both ambient and chilled water available, the bottle filler will appeal to a wide number of users. And yet, despite the chilling facility, it is GreenSpec™ Listed, the sensor operation meaning that minimal energy is consumed, and no water is wasted. Additionally, the HTHB8-WF comes with an inbuilt bottle counter, so both staff and customers are able to see how much plastic is being saved by the use of the bottle filler.

With suitable equipment identified, MIW worked with the Boots Project Management Team to agree an installation timetable, sourcing, and installing the bottle filler as agreed.

The Project Continues

Working closely with the Boots Project Management Team throughout, MIW was able to complete the Covent Garden installation on budget and on time, ensuring that the bottle filler was in place and full working order prior to the store’s grand opening.

The initial project proved an almost immediate success with customers, leading Boots to invest in further trial stores. In the intervening months, two additional Boots branches – Meadowhall (Sheffield) and Dublin (Dawson Street) – have been converted to follow the ‘store of the future’ model. For each of these locations, MIW has worked to identify the best sites for water dispenser installation, and managed all aspects of equipment procurement and fitting.

MIW continues to provide support and aftersales care for the three existing Boots bottle fillers. And is in conversation regarding further installations as new ‘store of the future’ branches come on board.