Founded in 1976 in Brighton, England by Anita Roddick, The Body Shop pioneered the philosophy that business can be a force for good and after being acquired by L’Oréal in 2006, it is scaling up its vision.
The Body Shop spans 3,000 retail locations in 66 countries and has been operational in India for the past decade, retailing its products across 150+ stores.
In an elaborate conversation with Images Retail’s Shubhra Saini, Head Marketing, The Body Shop, Aradhika S Mehta talks about the brand journey and future plans.
Provide details about brand, product range and services available at your stores. Are the products offered at your stores imported or made in India? What is the price range for products and which price band is the most popular?
The Body Shop was founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick, in Littlehampton, England. Anita built the brand on the philosophy that business can be a force for social good. Today, The Body Shop has over 3,000 stores spread across more than 60 countries.
In The Body Shop India, we have two very special services:
Love Your Body Programme: It is a customer loyalty programme wherein we engage our loyal consumers with additional offers, special discounts as well as organise special parties to pamper them. Through our e-mailers, loyal members also get a ‘sneak preview’ of our upcoming launches.
Best Face Forward: This is a makeover service at our stores. This complimentary service is designed to empower women providing them free make up consultation as well as provide them with a makeover service.
Talking of price range, we have products from all price brackets. From lip balm to special skin care regimes, we have various gamut of offerings to satisfy our consumers from different facets of life and age groups.
Tell us about The Body Shop’s retail footprint in India.
The Body Shop reached India on June 5, 2006 and today the brand has 150+ stores across 50+ cities. The Body Shop has endeared itself not only to consumers in big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata but is also hugely popular in Guwahati, Siliguri, Jammu, Aurangabad, Patna, Nashik, Mysore, Calicut, Rajkot, Thrissur and many more towns and cities.
How big is the market for the company in India and what is the growth rate? What are the factors propelling the industry’s growth? Please share some insights on key trends in India over the past few years.
The Body Shop completed 10 years in India in 2016. This was a huge celebration for us. The Indian market has always been very positive for the brand and despite the challenges of the marketplace, we continue to grow. Our growth is coming across all our channels: retail stores, travel retail and online stores. Despite our new store expansion, existing store growth is vital to us and our endeavor is to achieve double digit same store growth.
The Body Shop, just like all other businesses, is impacted by market factors, policy changes, consumer confidence, retail spending and overall consumer environment. At the same time, it is our endeavour to provide innovative products, multiple shopping options and tools, delightful customer service and a strong customer brand engagement program to ensure we continue to excite and delight our audiences and consumers. The main factor propelling the industry’s growth are easy accessibility of information by the consumers. Today’s consumers are well read, more informed and sensitive. They prefer products that are more natural, animal cruelty-free and contain less harmful chemicals, especially in the make-up range. This makes our brand more loved and preferred brand. However, factors like high retail rentals, high import duties and taxes have a very high impact on the growth radar of a brand.
What is your market positioning?
The Body shop is more than just a beauty company. We exist to make a positive difference in people’s lives through our pioneering products and our inspiring retail experience. Our products are made with love and the world’s finest natural ingredients sourced from all across the globe. Our irreverence and quirky tonality sits well with our consumers. In India too, we have been loved and appreciated for our authenticity and strong brand voice. We have been a force for positive social and environmental change and campaigning for causes close to our heart. We have more than 150 stores in 50 towns and cities. Out of these, 120 are stand-alone stores. The Body Shop Online Store delivers to more than 600 towns and cities in India. Our aim has always been to be a truly accessible brand. We are growing at a very promising speed as we plan to open more stores focusing on all tier I, II and III cities.
What is the location strategy for your stores – malls or high streets? Which locations do you prefer? Are you also looking at shop-in-shops?
We are present across all major store formats in India – malls stores, highstreet outlets, smaller format department stores, SIS and travel retail.
Are there any interesting concepts or innovations you have introduced at your stores? Please share some details.
We have recently launched a new format of stores called the ‘Asia Fit Store’ in India. The Body Shop India’s Asia Fit Store is a wonderful way to present our ‘Commitment to Life’ for our customers. We have always been recognised for the positive values we embody, so we’ve increased the spotlight on our iconic products as well as the fine ingredients and communities we work with.
The new store adds to The Body Shop’s repertoire of ethically and sustainably-produced quality products with new bespoke elements that allow for even more personalised consultations that the brand is known and loved for. The Body Shop India is the third country in the world after Japan and Singapore to have launched and showcased the new design elements that help create a more inviting ambience for consumers. Wood furniture made from FSC-certified timber in natural oak finish and a warmer colour palette accompany a ‘hanging garden’ ceiling raft, which brings consumers back to the brand’s roots.
What are your future plans and targets in terms of opening new stores and new product off erings and initiatives?
The focus will be on bringing to our consumers the finest products packed with finest ingredients sourced ethically, consistently and besides that increasing customer engagement through our iconic and innovative products, expanding reach through our retail and online channels and increasing social and digital media connect with existing and new customers.
How focussed are you on e-commerce and what is your strategy on the virtual platform? What percentage of your revenues come from e-commerce, and what revenue targets do you have from e-commerce over the next few years?
We launched our e-commerce portal www.thebodyshop. in in 2013. It is the extension of our physical stores. Today, e-commerce is our fastest channel of reaching 600+ cities and towns and caters to a wide base, adding 15,000 customers to The Body Shop family every year. In fact, we have a new customer every five seconds on our website!