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CASE STUDY The Body Shop: reflecting customer values

Image: Willy Barton/

The Body Shop has always been a campaigning brand – and that’s something that remains true today. Back in 1976, Anita Roddick founded the brand as a cruelty free cosmetics company that didn’t test products on animals. Products, sold in refillable packaging, were designed to make customers feel good about themselves. Today the brand is owned by Natura &Co and has been B Corp certified since 2019, with a commitment to campaigning that still endures. In its UK home market, The Body Shop is currently running a campaign to extend the voting age to 16 and 17-year-olds, while a section of its website explores its history of activism, which it sums up as working “for long-term, systemic social change for the next generation”. In-store it is rolling out refill stations where customers top up on their favourite products while using the same long-lasting aluminium packaging. Over the years it has pioneered an approach to brand values that has become more mainstream in recent years. Today the emerging generation of customers expects the brands that they buy from to reflect their own values to a greater extent than in previous decades. 

The Body Shop stands out in The Customer Dimension for its use of product ratings and reviews. The brand illustrates its products with both star ratings and product reviews. Star ratings include sub ratings for performance, quality and value, while the helpfulness of a review is rated by other customers. Website users can then sort reviews by factors including helpfulness, rating, and recency. Reviews sit alongside in-depth product descriptions which include details of how a product’s ingredients and packaging are made and sourced.

The Body Shop website also includes lots of customer-friendly advice, from ‘how to’ guides to skincare advice alongside more general advice on subjects such as how to relax at stressful times to improving sleep quality. A ‘trending’ page points website visitors to the latest products and trends, and the site also has a loyalty club offering points that can be spent on the website as well as special offers and competitions. Customers can also get in touch to ask for help though a live chat service. The Body Shop is one of only 3% of brands listed in this index that continue to offer the service to shoppers after an eight percentage point decline over the last year. However, it is in the category – cosmetics – that has the highest use of live chat, at 8%. 

This case study first featured in the RetailX Brand Index 2022. Click here to download or explore the report further.

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