The Body Shop International Limited is a British beauty brand specializing in cosmetics, skincare, and perfumeries, founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick in Brighton, UK. Since then, The Body Shop marketing strategy hasn’t stopped challenging the world of the beauty industry, holding up the sector to high standards, and encouraging radical changes. It is no secret that the brand’s positioning in beauty and personal care was different from the start, and it was a critical factor in making it one of the most renowned companies with ~3000 stores worldwide in more than 65 countries.
To fully understand the components that drove its growth, we will dig deeper into the Body Shop marketing mix and analyze it in detail. This case study will give readers a complete understanding of how a small store transformed into a global enterprise that reached success and became a beacon of change in the beauty industry. Learn more about the unique case of The Body Shop and take notes because it can be a great source of inspiration and an example to follow.
A walk through the history of The Body Shop
For the last 47 years, The Body Shop has been a pioneer in eco-friendly, sustainable, and cruelty-free products, a feat that has given the brand significant awards, certifications, and recognition. Activism has been at the forefront of the company’s character, and its mission is to empower women and girls all over the world to be their best, natural selves. Let’s see in detail how The Body Shop started and evolved through the years.
When Dame Anita Roddick launched her business in 1976, she only did it to sustain her family as her husband was traveling abroad. Right off the bat, she was interested in an ethical, cruelty-free store based on natural ingredients sourced from producers. Attempting to save the bottles for her products, as they were not enough, Anita created the refillable system, where her customers would return the empty bottles to reuse them. Funnily enough, she was using urine sample bottles from a nearby hospital with handwritten labels.
Expansion and development
When Anita’s husband returned from America in 1977, the couple started investing in the Body Shop’s growth through franchising. By 1984 the business was operating 138 stores under its name, and in 1988, The Body Shop started trading in the United States, a move that skyrocketed the business. The franchising strategy allowed Anita and Gordon to expand their brand, and by 1994, 89% of the stores were franchises.
One of the most significant events in the history of The Body Shop was its acquisition from L’Oréal in 2006. That move brought major changes, scrutiny, and controversy in the brand’s name since L’Oréal was already known about its animal testing practices for its products. Even though they terminated animal testing in 1989, their strategic opening to the Chinese market complicated operations, as China is known for its harsh laws on cosmetics.
The Body Shop and Anita’s defense on this subject were clear, though. She insisted that she wished to bring change from within and act as a “Trojan horse”. The Body Shop’s mission would be instilled in the big corporation, resolving environmental and animal testing issues. Unfortunately, Anita passed away in 2007 and didn’t get the chance to fulfill her goal.
Years later, in 2017, L’Oréal sold The Body Shop to the Brazilian eco-friendly brand, Natura & Co group. Currently, along with Avon, Natura, and Aesop, The Body Shop is a subsidiary of the 4th largest pure-play cosmetics company worldwide.
Awards and recognitions
A company with great impact such as The Body Shop is bound to be widely celebrated and acknowledged for its achievements. We have gathered the most important ones, so feel free to have a look.
- Lifetime Achievement Award – RSPCA Britain, 2018
- Best Glow-Boosting Serum (Edelweiss Daily Serum Concentrate) – Marie Claire Awards, 2022
- Best Make-Up Remover (Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter) – Marie Claire Awards, 2022
- Best Glow Giving Serum: Vitamin C Glow Revealing Serum – Woman & Home Beauty Awards, 2022
- Beauty Brand Making a Difference – The Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards, 2022
Last but not least, The Body Shop is a B Corp Certified company, an award given to corporations that live up to the highest social and environmental standards. Recently, The Body Shop became a member of the B Corp Beauty Coalition, a group of 25 global companies with sustainable strategies in the beauty industry.
The Components of The Body Shop Marketing Strategy
What differentiates The Body Shop from other beauty brands is that social and environmental positive change is integrated into the company in every aspect, defining its objectives. Anita Roddick firmly believed that businesses can inspire social change and shape the status quo. That is why she founded the first cosmetics company that supported cruelty-free and ethical approaches.
The Body Shop marketing mix is based on redefining and disrupting the ordinary beauty standards, making women and girls around the world feel valued, and bringing out their inner beauty with everyday rituals of self-love. Browse below to deeply understand the components that contributed to The Body Shop’s success story.
Being a force of change in the beauty industry
The Body Shop marketing strategy has ethical values at the heart of its operations and always aims to better the beauty industry and lead by example. To achieve this goal, the company collaborates with independent organizations that hold it accountable and encourage it to keep up the fine work. Thus, they work closely with The Vegan Society, Cruelty-Free International, the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, the UEBT (Union for Ethical Biotrade), and Ecocert Environment.
Recycling policies, and the Community Trade recycled plastic program
In the ‘70s, when Anita initiated the recycling program, it was mostly a means to an end, as she didn’t have enough resources to buy enough bottles for her products. This tactic turned into a pioneering strategy that made The Body Shop a recycling, revolutionary brand. Nowadays, the corporation runs 718 in-store, large-scale refill stations in 40 countries, intending to eliminate waste plastic while giving a second life to recyclable packages.
Moreover, The Body Shop marketing strategy is not just a tactic to promote the business. It is a genuine attempt to inspire the beauty industry and bring a positive impact on a worldwide scale. The Community Trade recycled plastic initiative is a collaboration between The Body Shop and the Plastics for Change for-profit organization, an organization that works together with local Indian NGOs, Hasiru Dala and Hasiru Dala Innovation (HDI).
The purpose of this partnership is to support waste pickers from Bengaluru, India, provide an income for this community, and use their expertise in waste management. It’s not about stopping using plastic already but coming up with an effective solution that makes it recyclable and sustainable.
The Community Fair Trade Initiative and the 2020 Modern Slavery Statement
The essence of the Body Shop marketing strategy is to empower people all over the world, not only through its products but also through its partnerships. The Community Fair Trade program started in 1987, and it’s still going strong today, even after 36 years. The idea behind this program is to implement strong, long-term trading collaborations with producers, farmers, and artisans globally and receive high-quality ingredients with ethical means. The Body Shop’s suppliers are located in developing countries and are given fair prices for their goods, helping them provide financial opportunities for their people and communities. Some of these communities are located in Ghana, Nepal, and India, to name a few.
The Modern Slavery Statement is a complete report on the brand’s actions in 2020 to prevent and abolish all forms of modern slavery. This complex and significant issue meant that The Body Shop would have to partner with Hestia, a support organization, to find the resources to fund the travel documents of 100 London-based survivors and aid them rebuild their lives again.
Activist campaigning: Turning The Body Shop stores into “Activist Hubs”
The Body Shop marketing campaign in 2019 was a rebranding strategy that gave a new purpose to the beauty retailer. Supporting the feminist movement, The Body Shop renewed its stores to turn them into hubs and meeting points where customers could gather and participate in various activist projects, such as workshops.
Target markets, product diversity, and distribution strategies
The target demographic of The Body Shop marketing strategy focuses mainly on female audiences, and the majority of its products appeal to teen girls and adult women of different ages. Recently, the enterprise expanded some of its product lines to men, acknowledging that self-care and self-love is not only a female character trait but a ritual that we all need.
The Body Shop product variations include goods for skincare, hair and body treatments, makeup, and fragrances for both men and women. Regarding the distribution and supply chain strategies, The Body Shop marketing strategy focuses on distributing and selling its products in-store or online to its consumers, wholesale to its distributors, and via its direct selling program, “The Body Shop at Home”.
How The Body Shop marketing strategy embraced omnichannel
Personalization is a crucial part of omnichannel customer engagement and an essential asset for understanding customer behavior. The Body Shop marketing mix has these tactics woven into its overall approach, so take a page out of its book for inspiration.
#1: Making perfect use of a personalized omnichannel customer engagement strategy
One of the most effective ways that The Body Shop manages to sustain its high conversions and retention rates is the initiation of a personalized omnichannel experience. A seamless customer journey ensures that the needs of its customers are comprehended and addressed. The first step towards that goal was revamping its engagement strategy with appealing creatives, a new app for its loyalty scheme, and a product recommendations engine installed on its website.
Additionally, as we are referring to a global brand, localization was a second step to achieving growth. Offering optimized content according to different countries across different channels was the key to implementing a unified customer experience. Specifically, the Greek franchise of The Body Shop has been cooperating with ContactPigeon for its marketing efforts to engage with its loyal customers through several channels and multiple features.
#2: A full overview of customer shopping habits with customer data and analytics
Data-driven decision-making is paramount for any retail business that wants to stay competitive. Accordingly, The Body Shop marketing strategy digitally transformed, and accumulated data from different sources, such as surveys, social listings, and its loyalty club. This feed of data is what drives the brand’s personalization strategy, enabling it to communicate with its audience with relevant content and campaigns.
#3: The “Love Your Body” exclusive loyalty club
Loyalty clubs are the bread and butter of customer lifetime value and retention rates, and The Body Shop marketing strategy would include such a move. Rewarding loyal customers is a chance to thank them for their preferences and acknowledge their contribution to The Body Shop’s growth. The “Love Your Body” is one of the most generous clubs in the UK retail industry, giving £5 for every in-store £50 purchase.
Another interesting fact of this particular scheme is that consumers can donate their points to charity, enforcing The Body Shop’s vision even more. Moreover, it offers limited discounts and exclusive events to its followers and can be used as an in-store online wallet, creating a bridge between online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Analyzing The Body Shop’s eCommerce website
Body Shop is undoubtedly one of the top and most highly evaluated retail brands. We’ve analyzed four-page templates of their site to identify eCommerce best practices and mistakes you should avoid.
A. Analyzing The Body Shop’s Homepage
What we liked
- Seasonal content is prominently displayed, above the fold
- Store locator functionality in the top left corner
- Sticky cart and header
- New arrivals section informing the visitors
- Advice & tips section on the header
- Easy-to-navigate, beautiful design
- Detailed drop-down menu
What we didn’t
- Too much information and links to follow that may cause confusion
B. Analyzing The Body Shop’s Category Page
What we liked
- Bestsellers option
- Tips for each category at the top of the page
- Quick-add-to-cart functionality
- Wishlist button
- Filtering option
What we didn’t
- When the user reloads the page the items of configured differently making it hard to track the desired item
C. Analyzing The Body Shop’s Product Page
What we liked
- Two add-to-cart CTAs, one in the middle of the page, the second at the footer with a sticky function
- Indication of the points that the user will collect
- High-definition images with a variety and interesting creatives
- “How to use it” section with videos
- Components of each product
What we didn’t
- The descriptions are too detailed and may be distracting
D. Analyzing Body Shop’s Checkout Process
What we liked
- Sign in/log in CTAs to the “Love your Body” club
- Eye-catchy, free shipping reminder that boosts AOV
- Buy online, pick up in-store option
- PayPal payment method
- Gift wrapping option
What we didn’t
- No guest checkout option
- At the final stage of the checkout, the header disappears, making it hard to navigate back to the homepage
The technologies that The Body Shop is now using
Using the buildwith tool, we scanned the Greek branch’s website of The Body Shop, and we highlighted the most impressive technologies spotted:
Robust omnichannel customer engagement solution designed for retailers. Like Tommy Hilfiger, the Greek franchise of The Body Shop is cooperating with the ContactPigeon team to deliver personalized messages at the right time, with the right content.
Interesting statistics regarding The Body Shop
- In 2020 over 5 million people in the UK were using the brand’s shower gels and bath products. (Statista)
- The Body Shop’s products are popular mainly in European and Middle Eastern (EMEA region) countries. The Asia Pacific region follows. (Statista)
- In Europe, the counties with the highest consumption rates of the Body Shop’s products are Germany and France. (Statista)
- The United Kingdom sends the most traffic to the Body Shop’s website. (similarweb.com)
- 30.10% of the website’s traffic comes from visitors between the ages of 25-34, and its audience is 33.26% male and 66.72% female. (similarweb.com)
- In 2022 The Body Shop’s revenue reached $1.1B. (zippia.com)
The Body Shop’s latest news
- Natura to focus on The Body Shop as it sells Aesop (Retail Week)
- The Body Shop chief executive David Boynton steps down (Retail Week)
- The Body Shop buys 250 tonnes of recycled plastic in a bid to tackle pollution (Independent.co.uk)
- The Body Shop stands with Ukraine (The Body Shop)
- The Body Shop Canada continues to expand new concept stores nationally (Newswire.ca)
What to keep from The Body Shop marketing strategy
The Body Shop success story is a brilliant example of a brand dedicated to disrupting the beauty industry and taking the world by storm. The brand’s ethics and moral practices pave the way for a fairer world with equal opportunities and sustainability. Of course, all these were not done by chance but with strategy, sacrifices, and organization.
Apart from being one of the most eco-friendly brands worldwide, The Body Shop marketing strategy has a few aces up on its sleeve. Combining technology with a powerful message made the brand reach the top of the cosmetics business and drive change from within. If you wish to follow in the footsteps of retail giants such as The Body Shop, conducting deep market research before investing in a powerful customer engagement platform should be a top priority. The second would be to stay updated on the latest eCommerce trends, so don’t forget to book a free 30-min customer engagement session with one of our experts for a consultation.
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