Graduate Trainee – Marketing
September 1998 to March 2000

Having completed my degree in Summer 1998 I joined the Boots graduate management training scheme in September 1998. The scheme incorporated three placements in different marketing business areas.

The scheme gave me a superb grounding in the fundamental workings of a large retail business and an FMCG product marketing environment. As well as the management placements the scheme also included extensive training courses in management, marketing and IT skills.

Read on for more information about my three placements at Boots:

Analysis Manager
January 2000 to March 2000

In January 2000 I moved to the newly formed E-commerce Business Unit in the Boots plc group head office. As Analysis Manager my role involved providing regular and ad-hoc management information and analysis for the Boots home shopping and e-commerce teams.

I set up weekly management reporting systems for sales and call centre performance for the existing catalogue business and the new transactional Boots website. This work involved developing a detailed understanding of multiple IT systems and customer processes.

I also managed a project examining future viability of mail order catalogue business and developing a value-based model for planning sales and measuring profitability of the existing business and potential for further developing the catalogue online.

Whilst in this role I worked within a project team developing the Boots strategy for e-commerce. I had specific responsibility for the provision and analysis of data. This project eventually led to the development of various Boots digital businesses and initiatives.

Sales and Merchandise Manager
August 1999 to January 2000

In August 1999 I moved to the Bluewater branch of Boots the Chemists as Sales and Merchandise Manager for Beauty and Personal Care. Bluewater is one of the largest Boots stores and is used to trial new retail concepts before they are rolled out to the full chain.

In this role I was part of the store management team and was personally responsible for a sales floor with average weekly takings of £130,000. I directly managed four supervisors and a wider team of over 35 sales staff during the four months before Christmas. I was responsible for managing the sales team and other store teams to ensure that daily and weekly sales targets were achieved.

I also took responsibility for overall planning of the Christmas 1999 trading. This included staff recruitment, merchandising, and local marketing. As a part of this work I developed and implemented a Beauty Showcase event in conjunction with other Bluewater retailers.

This role gave me a good insight into how a retail store operates and how customers select and buy products. I also gained a good understanding of the principles of merchandising which have been useful in subsequent roles where I have adapted these principles for application in online sales environments.

Assistant product manager
September 1998 to August 1999

My first placement at Boots was as an Assistant Product Manager in the Dental category at Boots the Chemist head office in Nottingham. I worked in this team for 11 months until August 1999.

My main responsibility was for the promotional programme for the dental area. This programme accounted for an average of 30% of weekly dental sales for all Boots stores. I developed measures to evaluate the performance of promotions and then led the dental team to develop a promotional strategy ensuring the most value creating promotional activity mix for the dental business.

I planned and negotiated with key external suppliers to produce the offer programme for 1999/2000, and managed ongoing supplier relationships involving promotional activity. I also negotiated and managed the introduction of several new product ranges into Boots stores.

Whilst working in the Dental category I also developed a marketing plan for the relaunch of the Boots Advance dental range. This included planning, budgeting, and developing advertisements, advertorials, leaflets and information packs. This gave me early exposure to campaign and operational aspects of marketing management.