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How The Body Shop Manages Its Online-To-Offline Marketing

Email marketing and social media are the two main ways The Body Shop drives traffic to its 120 U.S. (3,000 global) stores, says GM Andrea Blieden, as it keeps an eye on voice and on-demand.

Cosmetics and skincare retailer The Body Shop has been carefully refining its marketing over the past year. Last month, it embraced out-of-home for the first time last month to extend its campaign with non-profit organization Cruelty Free International.

For the most part, The Body Shop has remained focused on its use of email and social media to drive loyalty and visits to its 120 U.S. locations and its 3,000 global outlets, says Andrea Blieden, The Body Shop General Manager, U.S. We followed up with Blieden to get a sense of The Body Shop’s priorities and how it manages its reputation and reviews, and views the rise of voice and on-demand among its customers.

GeoMarketing: What are the most important digital tools that The Body Shop uses to drive foot traffic to its stores?

Andrea Blieden: The Body Shop has a strong social and online following – with more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram, 42,000 followers on Twitter, and more than 7.6 million followers on our U.S. Facebook channel, for example.

We are always looking for ways to reach our customers via unique and exciting social content – it’s a great way to get people excited to try our new and core products. In addition, The Body Shop leverages email marketing for our customers. We also just launched a new weekly e-newsletter, which provides customers with information on new offerings, upcoming events, and campaign news – including our Forever Against Animal Testing campaign.

The “cruelty free” message has been a core message of The Body Shop since 1989 officially, as well as since its beginnings 40 years ago. How do you update and personalize that message for 2018?

The Body Shop and our founder Anita Roddick have always been passionate about animal rights and safety. Anita initially launched the Against Animal Testing campaign in 1996. It was the largest petition at the time, and garnered four million signatures. In fact, our campaign helped to push through the November 1998 ban on animal testing in cosmetics in the UK – soon leading to a larger ban across Europe. The EU just celebrated 5 years since testing on animals! Since then, our messaging hasn’t changed, but rather The Body Shop is bringing the campaign again to the forefront of consumer awareness. Our goal is to garner 8 million signatures and present the campaign and collected signatures to the UN later this year to ban animal testing in cosmetics forever, everywhere.

That said, yes – the channels and methods we’re using to get the campaign message to consumers has advanced with the times. So much of our culture is digital, and so The Body Shop is leveraging our social channels and website to promote the campaign’s messaging and call-to-action for people to sign the petition. In addition, The Body Shop launched our first ever out of home marketing campaign. The billboard ads are currently live in Time Square and Grand Central in New York City. We’re hoping this added visibility will raise awareness of the campaign, and help us reach our goal of 8 million signatures worldwide.

How has the importance and the role of the physical store changed as e-commerce has become more mainstream?

The Body Shop does not currently utilize any on-demand delivery services like Postmates, or offer shop online and pick-up in-store options. These are both more prevalent shopping trends that we will continue to keep an eye on, should it be a fit for our consumers. We do, however, currently offer the option for customers to return online purchases in-store, and have plans for in-store pick-up in the coming years.

Reviews and reputation management are also a big part of brands’ online/offline focus. How does The Body Shop address that issue?

The Body Shop has a Customer Care line available via phone, email, social media, and website chat that is available for any customer issues or inquiries. Ensuring that our customers are happy is extremely important to us, and is a large part of how we maintain our strong brand reputation.

Regarding reviews – we are always excited to hear what our customers think of our products. We see significant reviews and engagement via product pages on our website, as well as on partnering retailer sites. We always encourage our customers to share their feedback.

How do you regard the use of voice-activated digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri?

The Body Shop does not currently have plans to leverage artificial intelligence tools. That said, however, we are monitoring the trend of AI and will continue to adapt to growing trends, should it make sense for our consumers.

How important is email in terms of generating store visits and loyalty/rewards? 

Email marketing and our loyalty program are extremely important to us. Email marketing is a quick and efficient tool to reaching our growing customer base, and our loyalty program allows us to celebrate our consumers.

The Body Shop’s Love Your Body Club lets our customers collect points and be rewarded for every purchase they make. The club has many great perks including a gift on your birthday, exclusive special offers, new product previews and personalized skincare.

Points quickly become rewards, which customers can use to treat themselves to their favorite product, or choose to help others by donating their rewards to charity. Our loyalty program is also a friendly community for our customers, and lets them chat with other members and share their personal thoughts on all things The Body Shop products and beauty.

Are there any new digital initiatives planned for 2018 that are designed to enhance the store experience you’d like to highlight? 

The Body Shop is always monitoring for the changing customer landscape – specifically the shift of digital marketing as a drive to store tactic – and is excited to continue to grow with the times and reach our consumers in new and exciting ways.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.