The Body Shop: An Analysis
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Published: Mon, 24 Apr 2017
The Company was first founded by Anita Roddick in March, 1976. Known as Anita Perella back then, she yearned for adventure as she had never travelled during her childhood. After training as a teacher at Bath College of Education and striking a job at the United Nations in Geneva, she saved up her earnings to spend a year to travel across the globe. During her trips to different countries, she sparked a new interest in how indigenous people used natural ingredients for beauty and remedial purposes. In Morocco, she witnessed women washing their hair with mud as a raw form of ‘shampoo’.
When she arrived back at England, she was introduced to Gordon Roddick by her mother and they both set up a store together named ‘The Body Shop’ at Brighton, UK. At that time, Anita’s vision in mind was not to earn huge profits, but only enough to support her family consisting of two children when Gordon left to achieve his dream of traveling from Buenos Aires to Argentina to New York by a horse.
The shop gained free early publicity from the newspapers after she anonymously called The Argus when two funeral directors complained that they were affecting their business and wanted her to change the name of her shop. During that time, Anita already showed creative entrepreneurship skills by having a range of 25 products in her store, but packed in different sizes to make it look like there were four times that of her number of products.
As a driven social activist, Anita’s vision for her business is to be environmentally friendly. She persuaded customers to reuse their old bottles instead of buying new ones by selling them at a reduced price. Until now, The Body Shop has been reaching out to many international social and environmental causes. Fliers and posters are also found displayed in the store to show their support of those causes, hence raising awareness to the public.
The Body shops get their ingredients and materials by community trade, which allows both the suppliers and the buyer to trade responsibly and fairly. These suppliers are usually indigeneous people and farmers found on rural areas or villages.
Over the years, The Body Shop started to expand. Its first store outside the country’s borders is in Brussels, Belgium in 1978. By 1980, it has opened several franchise stores across United Kingdom and The Body Shop was growing at a rate of 50% annually. In March 2006, The Body Shop has 2085 outlets around the world, including 304 in United Kingdom. Its product portfolio had an inventory of more than 600 products.
On March 17, 2006, The Body Shop released an official public statement that The Body Shop has been sold to L’Oreal at $1.14 Billion US dollars. Although both companies have different marketing ethics, The Body Shop was entitled to its remain its own personal company identity.
The Body Shop’s Commitments
Anita wanted her business to benefit for the good not only to the company but also externally. By using ‘nature’s ingredients’, she was determined that she could in return, create a positive change socially and environmentally.
The Body Shop is committed to their mission statement as it was thirty years ago. As mentioned earlier, the company aims to shape the world in a positive way with their business and pledged to stabilize the demands (such as monetary needs) of the company’s stakeholders without altering the business’s principles. The Body Shop, with great pride and passion, constantly supports campaigns and causes relating to preserving our planet, supporting civil rights and preventing animal testing and ardently contribute to the marginalised parts of the world through community trade, thereby making certain that honesty and fairness is demonstrated.
As a firm that practices Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), five values were created to be acknowledged and respected. These values also act as a guide when making decisions, planning or managing the business is involved, so as to act by their mission statement.
Activate Self Esteem
As a merchandiser that offers natural cosmetic and beauty care products, The Body Shop encourages every individual to bring out the best in themselves by motivating self esteem. Self esteem is defined by accepting yourself, hence being comfortable in your own skin, feeling great, looking good and being proud of who you are.
In 1997, The Body Shop launched the Ruby campaign. Ruby is actually a happy UK-sized 18 doll that resembles real women in the world. In most cosmetic companies, skinny models were used to be part of their advertisements as they were stereotypically considered ‘real beauty’, but The Body Shop was against that and wanted to change the mindsets of women that there is true beauty in every woman.
However, there were some limitations to publicity. The Ruby campaign came into conflict with Mattel, a toy firm that it was spoiling the image of ‘Barbie’ the doll and wanted them to take down the posters displayed on shop walls. In addition, in Hong Kong, Ruby posters were not permitted in the Mass Transit Railways due to the doll’s nudity, which may be offensive to people. Other than these couple of problems, Ruby gave people a second thought about our body and self esteem and encourages women to accept their own unique beauty, regardless of size or appearance.
To boost the wellbeing of the employees, they were advised to join the ‘Learning is of Value to Everyone (LOVE)’ programme, which offers them courses that trains them to learn new skills and self development of up to a fixed amount (approx. US$100) per staff which is funded by The Body Shop. Employees are able to enjoy what The Body Shop offers which allows them to improve their well being, hence The Body Shop has respected their mission statement in supporting the needs of the stakeholders’.
Furthermore, The Body Shop also enable their employees to be actively involved in helping to shape other people’s lives while working, as well as external events. With a ‘global volunteering’ policy that started in 2008, Body Shop provides an opportunity for their staff in helping out charity organisations. For example, several staffs were in East Timor for ten days to help out ‘Children on the Edge’, which supports children rights and those in vulnerability.
Since the birth of this company, The Body Shop has been firmly against animal cruelty and guarantee that none of their products or materials purchased from their suppliers are tested on animals. To ensure that the materials and ingredients purchased are animal test-free, the suppliers need to certify the statement through a declaration letter. The Body shop has been conducted an assessment with the internationally recognized Humane Cosmetics Standard (HCS) in 2008 and attained a ‘Gold Standard’. Being complied to the HCS standards, The Body Shop needs to create an establishment, such as whereby all materials are to be reviewed and oversee that the processes are not ‘animal-tested’ to meet and maintain the requirements of this standard.
Instead of animal testing, The Body Shop and L’Oreal have alternative methods to testing their products. One such method was artificial human skin know as Episkin, to test for irritancy on the skin. This unique technology was approved by the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM).
During 1986, The Body Shop had launched its first windows campaign, named ‘Save The Whale’, that aims to ban whaling for good. Jojoba oil was sold in The Body Shop as it sets alternative for Sperm Whale oil, thus helping to save the lives and preserve the population of the whales.
The Body Shop believes that their business should influence the world in a positive way and has been dealing with their suppliers from marginalized communities through community trade, with a vision of enhancing their standards of living, and enabling them to be aware of environmental and social issues. This also offers them an exciting opportunity to produce for a global market, which is for them, hard to come by.
According to The Body Shop’s 2009 Value Report, these are the factors taken into consideration in the decision making process before making a deal with a supplier. Furthermore, The Body Shop needs to ensure that these suppliers are not heavily reliant or too dependent on the firm, but supply for other purchasers as well, as the business agreement between the supplier and buyer does not last forever. This is important because if the company’s business is affected, the supplier’s side may be affected as well. For example, if the demands from the retailers are low and the company is making very little profit, they may cut down the number of supplies purchased or may even stop buying from them.
The Body Shop is dedicated to promoting and encouraging environmental protection. During the early years of the company, refillable bottles were encouraged to be reused by offering discounts to the buyers. However, this has been disallowed used to authorised safety legalisations. Nonetheless, The Body Shop had come up with more ways to stay ‘green’.
The Body Shop used to buy Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles for packaging for several years as the plastic is able to be recycled again. Until 2008, The Body Shop is using 60% recycled PET bottles for packaging.
Shopping bags provided by The Body Shop are also made from completely recycled and biodegradable paper. Environmentally friendly water-based inks are used on the bags. In order to prevent wastage on the bags, employees are trained to always ask a customer if they need a shopping bag for their purchases. This allows the company to cut expenses on these bags.
Humans rights are defined as rights as a human individual that are morally and legally justifiable. The Body Shop has been consistently campaigning for human rights as it stands against domestic violence and injustice and helped those who are vulnerable while respecting people from diverse backgrounds such as nationality, race or religion.
The Body Shop also plays a role in ensuring that all its supplier workers are entitled to their human rights too. A Code of Conduct supporting The Body Shop’s Ethical Trade Programme helps to improve the working environments of these workers such as not enforcing child labour, non-prejudicial, and the workers’ salary and working hours.
The SWOT analysis is a form of strategic planning evaluation tool that is used by organisations, companies and businesses. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats which is identified in this analysis process. Strengths and Weaknesses are mainly considered as part of the internal factors within the company while Opportunities and threats are external factors outside the company. As there are always changes of events happening in the internal and external environments, the company is able to use this framework as a clear view of these factors involved during decision making or have a better overlook on areas of improvement that can be adjusted to benefit the company.
The Body Shop sells a diverse range of beauty and cosmetic needs for women and men. It offers fragrances for home and body, cosmetics, skin care, hair care and accessories. Each product category offers a wide range of items to choose from, as they are have different fruit scents and colours allow the customer to have more room for preference. In addition, each product can made from different exotic natural ingredients such as the Brazil Nut Hair Mask that other companies within the beauty industry do not offer, giving The Body Shop an advantage to its company.
Large number of franchise outlets worldwide
To this date, The Body shop owns at least 2400 franchise outlets in 61 countries around the world. This is a great example of how the company has expanded internationally as Anita never knew that this would happen. As these outlets continue to increase in number across the globe, The Body Shop shows international dominance to its market and allows consumers to gain better access to its products when it was harder before.
Niche market attracts loyal customers
One of the top reasons for the success of this company is that it is one of the few ‘Green’ companies in the beauty industry. Furthermore, their values such as ‘Against animal-testing’ and other slogans are labelled on their products. This attracts customers who also supports organic shopping, buys non- animal tested products or simply want to play a part in helping to create a positive impact in the world, and in return, increasing making them feel good about themselves. At shopping malls, there are usually one or few organic stores in the area. Hence, having a retail or franchise outlet at those places adds an advantage to the company.
L’Oreal is a well-known global company that its beauty products take over the shelves of most markets. Having L’Oreal by its side can provide financial assistance as well help The Body Shop open more doors into the industry. This can allow The Body Shop to strengthen and grow as a company while working with L’Oreal.
Not only does The Body Shop appeals to the customers, but to the employees as well. Employees were given incentives to improve their skills and knowledge to drive this company as well as to improve their well being, which enforces a stronger connection between the staff and company.
As The Body Shop offers to help out many charitable organisations, it not only creates a positive change towards the other party but to The Body Shop as well as it adds exciting experiences to help and support them, and broaden the company’s knowledge about such causes.
In order to market products successfully, there are advertisements to help gain exposure, attract viewers and promote the items. Such adverts can be seen the newspapers, magazines transportation systems such as bus stops and trains, posters, and even on the internet. The Body Shop, which does not advertise its products except within their franchise or company outlets, may lose out to the other companies offering similar products like The Body Shop due to high publicity.
In almost any industry, many companies love to hire attractive celebrities or famous people to be the spokesperson or ‘the face’ for their company as a form of promotion and advertising. People who admire or look up to these celebrities may be influenced to purchase these products. The Body Shop, however, does not follow this method and hence, do not attract as much people as other companies do.
As The Body Shop consistently releases a new range of products to its shelves, the features on the products are not really convincing in allowing the consumers to distinguish the characteristics from one product to another. Take for example there are two kinds of shampoos with different ingredients. Although the label states the nutrients it contains, it does not provide detailed features and effects of the product, or, when two products have the same effects but different ingredients. Hence, consumers may be confused, doubtful or annoyed when they are unable to find the most suitable item to meet their needs.
Being bought over by L’Oreal, many stakeholders feel that The Body Shop is not acknowledging its values and ethics. This is because L’Oreal is known to test their products on animals. Hence, these stakeholders may lose trust in The Body Shop and give negative criticism about the company, affecting their business and image.
As The Body shop continues to expand its franchise outlets and stores globally, it might want to consider reaching into the China market. In China, the rich are getting richer as the poor are getting poorer mainly due to globalisation and economic factors as China is rapidly developing its country. There are many marginalised areas where poverty still exists and communities have difficulty trying to earn a living. This gives an opportunity for The Body Shop to help them such as having fair trade or offering support to their needs.
At the same time, China has a massive population of 1,324,655,000 people. With its booming population , economicdevelopment and higher standards of living, it also means that there are increasing chances of consumers purchasing The Body Shop products. By having The Body Shop to expand their market there, it creates a great opportunity for these chinese consumers to learn and understand more about environmental protection and ethical values.
Men with beauty concerns
Increasingly more men are becoming concerned with their outer appearances and may want to look good and feel good as much as women do. As in the beauty industry, majority of the products are manufactured mainly for women and only a minor range for men. The Body Shop has a wide range for products mostly for women, and recently just launched a small range for men. Men do not require as much “touching up” as women do, but they do need shaving products and colognes. By extending the men product line that offers more male grooming products than most cosmetic companies, it will lead to potential male customers.
The Body Shop’s constantly support with campaigns and can help to educate the public about the causes, and allows shoppers to gain awareness about social and environemental issues. In order for them to play a role in building a positive change, there are always a petition or pamphlet regarding a cause or campaign for people to read and browse through. In addition, they also learn about how The Body Shop get their ingredients through community trade. From there, they will learn about what community trade is and the other supporting values of the company.
Fair trade is the way for The Body Shop to get the supplies it needs, though at times, there may be unforeseen circumstances that can inhibit the supply chain or meet the required provisions for the buyer. If this happens, complications may arise as the cause of it needs to be identified and it can be very time consuming. Furthermore, manufacturing production line for The Body Shop will take up a longer time before distribution and drastically affect the company.
Although the company emphasizes about its ethics and management system, the company does not clearly show any official certificates it has attained. One such legit certification would be The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO), where it ensures all requirements and criteria are met in the company which The Body Shop does not own. If there is a lack of official certifications, it is harder for stakeholders and consumers to trust a company without legal official proof.
On their official websites, there are also no certificated logos of standards it has qualified for. Hence it is harder for stakeholders and anyone who wants legal evidence of its quality service and have to browse through many official releases to be updated with their standards.
Being part of the beauty and cosmetic industry, it has to face strong competition with many companies. In order for the company to have stand on a solid ground in it, The Body Shop needs to maintain its a well-planned marketing strategy to sustain success of the company.
Taking that into consideration, The Body Shop is aware that there are other competing companies have wider distribution channels, meaning that their products are sold on the shelves of departmental stores or supermarkets while The Body Shop products have a narrower distribution channel, which are usually found at their franchise or company outlets and online stores.
Also, there is an increasing number of ‘green’ companies entering the market. As they have work in a similar marketing strategy as The Body Shop or offers ‘natural’ products at lower prices, it can lose The Body Shop’s unique identity and people may consider less about The Body Shop.
The Body Shop is a very respectable company, yet there are still areas of improvement in order to reach their full potential of marketing and be a stronger activist.
The Body Shop should consider releasing an innovative line of children products would help boost awareness as well as income, as it appeals to a very young generation of consumers. At school, many programmes concerning social and environmental issues are taught to students, and they gain better understanding about these issues. Although these adolescents do require cosmetic needs, The Body Shop may come up with products like toothbrushes and hair accessories to meet the needs for these age range, while part of the income goes to charity.
It is commonly seen in the store that items are either sold individually, or several items packed together in a medium to large sized package. The Body Shop should sell products in travel sized packages can help cater to the needs of different kinds of consumers.
For the fickle-minded customers who cannot seem to decide on which item to pick or are doubtful can choose to get the travel-sized package because it will be relatively cheaper and the package offers more than one item. There are also “curious” customers who wish to try own the five different perfumes (an example) but cannot afford to because of the hefty price she/he will have to pay if she chooses to buy all of them. Hence the travel-sized package is suitable for them because it allows them to own all of the 5 perfumes although the sizing is smaller. It also acts as a ‘sample pack’ because it allows the consumer to experiment with which product suits them most and in the future purchase that preferred item individually. Lastly, small and convenient product package makes it portable and easier to carry around. Hence, it also suits consumers searching for convenient, non-bulky and portable products.
In conclusion, The Body Shop plays a very good role model by having a ‘Profit with a principle’ policy in their management and able to uphold its positive image and reputation. The company has always demonstrated good ethics within the company since the birth of the company, and have greatly benefited the environment and people surrounding it as well.
However, The Body Shop needs to constantly look into the areas of improvement and make its decisions wisely during strategic planning. The Body Shop has to continue to grow and strengthen as a company as there are always threats facing them. In order to prevent losing out from its tough competitors in their industry, The Body Shop needs keep in mind of the great potential and leadership skills it have, and continue to be driven and strong-willed to increase the success and achievements of this company.
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