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An Analysis of the Current and Future Use Of Internet Technologies by ‘The Body Shop’

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Contents

 

Introduction. 3

E-marketing Strategies and Activities. 4

Web Design. 5

Business to Business Relations. 6

Ethics of the Company. 7

Recommendations and Conclusions. 8

References. 13

Bibliography. 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Analysis of the Current and Future Use Of Internet Technologies by ‘The Body Shop’

Introduction

The Body Shop International PLC, commonly known as ‘Body Shop’ is an enterprise that manufactures a wide range of natural cosmetics. These products are marketed as 100% vegetarian and they are not tested on animals (Thebodyshop.co.uk, 2015). Bodyshop has strived to relate to its market bases via its “Beauty with Heart” and “Profit with Principles” philosophies. This has been facilitated via the organization’s adoption of Internet technologies as it seeks to reach a wider market. Rhoy and Ghosh (2008) explain that though the organization has been late arriving, its adoption of Internet technologies has been largely positive. An optimized website that displays and retails Bodyshop’s products is just one example of such efforts. However, trends are emergent in the dynamic world of Internet technologies and commerce. It is with this background that this paper analyses the current and potential implementations of Internet technologies in Bodyshop’s commercial activities.

E-marketing Strategies and Activities

The Body Shop’s products are mainly targeted at a female clientele. The organization therefore sought to establish its target market’s needs and so as to better serve them.  This is demonstrated via the organization’s implementation of a survey that targeted women aged between 18 and 44. This age bracket was selected for its socio-economic importance. A majority of Bodyshop’s customers feature strongly in this demographic. Furthermore, women aged 18 to 44 are more likely to afford the company’s marketed products. Riggs (2007) reports that the survey’s results indicate that most of the participants spent their lunch breaks shopping, browsing catalogues and learning new things (Riggs, 2007). Furthermore, this demographic was likelier to engage in gifting and similar activities. This reflects importance as Bodyshop positions itself as a provider for premium gifts. Xu and Quaddus, (2010), explain that conducting research on the intended clientele places the company in the unique position of understanding its customers and competition.

Over the years, it has become increasingly important for customers to identify with socially responsible companies. (Wake and Van Dam, 2013). This is through ensuring environmental, animal and human safety. The Body Shop, as an international company has identified this need and is well known for its contributions to various causes through its foundation: The Body Shop Foundation. This has also been reflected in Bodyshop’s implementations of Internet technologies. The company’s website is green to portray the picture of a green company. Similarly, the company’s charitable and socially responsible efforts are described briefly on the website with links to pages that discuss them in more detail. Chun, (2014) states that this is important in establishing trust and cementing loyalty with both potential and regular customers. This is because the purchaser feels that the company holds dear the values and principles that he/she does. In future, the company is likely to engage in more of these activities in an effort to give back to society.

Use of the 4 P’s: price, product, promotion and place.

This strategy ensures that the company gets new customers maintains its existing consumer base.  Promotions include the provision of two free select samples to customers for every purchase made. This strategy ensures that customers know about the company’s products and this creates the possibility of future product purchases (Xu and Quaddus, 2010). The company can also display the products that are for sale via its optimised website. This platform provides the prominent marketing required for engineering product sales. The goods on sale are displayed on the right hand side of the website with a summary of the value that the customer will be getting should they choose to purchase the product. Bodyshop’s products are targeted and marketed between the middle and upper tiers. According to Chun (2014), consumers view the company’s prices as fair. This is grounded on the company’s use of natural ingredients for its product lines. Competitors often charge similar products at premiums.  The mentioned strategies of pricing, placing (displaying) the products on the website, a product that is ethically produced, and the mentioned promotions sum up the marketing mix implemented by the company via its Internet platforms.

Web Design

The Bodyshop website’s design, compared to the previous version, has a cleaner, modern look.  This has improved its overall ease of use. The website’s colours are brighter, greener and earthy. One glance at the website is enough to impart that the products being sold are planet friendly and green. The show of vegetation, green plants and simple models highlight the products in a precise manner. Wake and Van Dam (2013) identify that visitors are able to rid themselves of scepticisms through instant insights into the company’s values. The Bodyshop’s website reflects this ethos. In future, the website is likely to undergo further changes so as to match changing technological and demographical needs (Roy and Ghosh, 2008).

The website’s layout is more organised and focused on fulfilling certain purposes. For instance, clicking on the icon labelled hair takes one to products that are to be used for this purpose. This sense of focus is important in that it gives the impression that the company employs professionals. This also enables visitors to easily navigate the website and thus locate products efficiently (Xu and Quaddus, 2010). In future, the company is likely to continue this organized approach since customers do not always have time on their hands.

According to Chun, (2014), Bodyshop’s sales via mobile devices were up 254% for March 2012 compared to March of 2011. In response to this trend, the Body Shop regularly updates the content so that it does not become monotonous for the user. For instance acknowledging upcoming holidays and gifts for the involved people are suggested. Monotony is a problem that The Body Shop e-commerce manager sought to resolve. Fresh content appeals to customers. This presents one avenue for converting regular browsers and first-time viewers to potential sales targets (Chun, 2014). The Body Shop is, therefore, likely to continue this trend in future so as to ensure that they stay ahead of their competition.

Business to Business (B2B) Relations

The Body Shop franchises its products. Franchising affords its partners some level of independence but this does not limit the company from helping assisting the franchises in get ahead. For The Body Shop, this is through the use of an affiliate dashboard that enables the retailers to access information on new products and tools to use in marketing (Roy and Ghosh, 2008). This includes videos that may be downloaded from the product’s dashboard. These videos are a marketing tool that enables the affiliates to advertise the products on their sites. The videos are social media friendly and provide links to online and physical stores where the products are sold (Roy and Ghosh, 2008).

The company also uses its optimized website to disperse information concerning its franchising policies. Bodyshop also uses this as an opportunity to make the company more attractive to new franchisees. The website outlines the franchising requirements and the organization’s desired qualities. Contact information is also provided there. Dennis, Neck and Goldsby (1998) highlight the importance of this practice in creating a trustful and appealing environment for interested parties.

Company Ethics

The Body Shop prides itself on being transparent. These values are reflected in the company’s annual ethics reports. However, the mentioned undertakings do not make one ethical. Robinson, (2010) outlines that some companies’ CSR activities are a façade so as to distract people from the atrocities that they commit in truth. For this reason, investigations have been conducted on such companies so as to determine their stand. The Body Shop is not exempted from this. The company has been accused of using threats and law suits to silence critics (Roy and Ghosh, 2008). This approach seems aggressive for a company that holds to transparency and; social and environmental responsibility as its primary values.

However, maintenance of such an identity does not make it the reality. The Bodyshop claims that it has provided fair and reliable wages to the indigenous communities where they source ingredients for their beauty products (Robinson, 2010). However, this may not be the case. Robinson argues that these indigenous communities receive less than 1% of the company’s profits, yet they contribute over 60% of the product line’s ingredients. This casts doubts on the organization’s ethical stand.

Recommendations and Conclusions

It is recommended that the company integrate the use of mobile applications such as Applepay as other online retailers have done. This should make their services more personalized and convenient hence improving loyalty to the Bodyshop brand and identity. The company could also improve their mobile check out process in such a way that it has fewer steps. In view of the limited time that their clientele have for shopping, it is best to make the process as safe and convenient as possible (Xu and Quaddus, 2010). The main focus of the company is in the US and the UK, which may make customers from other countries feel left out or even discriminated against. This is propagated by the listing of the countries that the shop delivers to in alphabetical order. However, the UK and US are listed at the top adjacent to each other, but are not part of the alphabetical list. This is showing favour to the two countries, which may offend some customers and thus act as a deterrent (Xu and Quaddus, 2010). The company could also improve its social responsibility reputation by keeping its promises in their entirety so as to prevent contradictions as is the case with the indigenous communities that supply them. This will enable them to be more trustworthy as they continue trudging on in the world of internet technologies.

In general, the company’s trend for waiting for their competition to try new internet technologies and learning from their mistakes is likely to continue in the future. This is because it has worked for the company before, making it widely successful as an online retailer. It is, therefore, the direction that the company is likely to take.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a pictorial presentation of one of The Body Shop’s marketing strategies. This is the use of ethical values held dear by the customers as a way to attract them. Customers who value recycling so as to avoid wastage of new raw materials would warm to this display of recycling. Source: https://towsontowncenterguru.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/screen-shot-2013-04-15-at-5-26-12-pm.png

This is an example of the kind of information that the company relays to its customers and stakeholders so as to indicate impartial self-regulation. Source: The Body Shop Values Report, 2011-2013 URL; http://www.thebodyshop.com.hk/tc/image/values-campaigns/VALUES_REPORT_2014_INVALLC020.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The company started using the optimized website in 2004. Its impact on the yearly turnover is clearly reflected, with it being a higher turnover than the company has ever had since its inception. Source: ; [Accessed 3, May 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference List

Chun, R., 2014. What Holds Ethical Consumers to a Cosmetics Brand: The Body Shop Case. Business & Society.

Dennis, B., Neck, C. and Goldsby, M., 1998. Body Shop International: an exploration of corporate social responsibility. Management Decision, 36(10), pp.649-653.

Riggs, T., 2007. Encyclopedia of major marketing campaigns. Detroit, MI: Gale.

Robinson, D., 2010. Confronting biopiracy. London: Earthscan.

Roy, S. and Ghosh, L., 2008. “BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL”: A CASE STUDY ON THE BODY SHOP. Journal of Applied Case Research. [online] Available at: <http://www.management.usm.my/azizahomar/Bodyshop.pdf> [Accessed 3 May 2015].

Thebodyshop.co.uk, 2015. Beauty Products, Make-up and Skincare from The Body Shop. [online] Available at: <http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/> [Accessed 1 May 2015].

Wake, J. and Van Dam, E., 2013. Body Shop Sustainability: Cleaner, Leaner, Competitive. Auto Tech Rev, 2(1), pp.50-52.

Xu, J. and Quaddus, M., 2010. E-business in the 21st century. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific.

 

 

 

 

                                                             Bibliography

Anon, 2014. The Body Shop Values Report 2011-2013. 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: <http://www.thebodyshop.com.hk/tc/image/values-campaigns/VALUES_REPORT_2014_INVALLC020.pdf> [Accessed 3 May 2015].

Brown, P., 1996. Anita Roddick and the Body Shop. Watford: Exley.

Chun, R., 2014. What Holds Ethical Consumers to a Cosmetics Brand: The Body Shop Case. Business & Society.

Dennis, B., Neck, C. and Goldsby, M., 1998. Body Shop International: an exploration of corporate social responsibility. Management Decision, 36(10), pp.649-653.

Gray, A., 1997. Indigenous rights and development. Providence: Berghahn Books.

Keinert, C., 2008. Corporate social responsibility as an international strategy. Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag.

Riggs, T., 2007. Encyclopedia of major marketing campaigns. Detroit, MI: Gale.

Robinson, D., 2010. Confronting biopiracy. London: Earthscan.

Roy, S. and Ghosh, L., 2008. “BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL”: A CASE STUDY ON THE BODY SHOP. Journal of Applied Case Research. [online] Available at: <http://www.management.usm.my/azizahomar/Bodyshop.pdf> [Accessed 3 May 2015].

Thebodyshop.co.uk, 2015. Beauty Products, Make-up and Skincare from The Body Shop. [online] Available at: <http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/> [Accessed 1 May 2015].

Wake, J. and Van Dam, E., 2013. Body Shop Sustainability: Cleaner, Leaner, Competitive. Auto Tech Rev, 2(1), pp.50-52.

Xu, J. and Quaddus, M., 2010. E-business in the 21st century. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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