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The Body Shop: a mobile-first strategy

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With more than half of all traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices, it’s no surprise French-owned The Body Shop has adopted a mobile-first digital strategy for its website. By the end of this year the retailer expects all its brand sites, almost 30 in total, to have migrated to the new platform. That’s a significant step away from the previous situation, where only the UK site was optimised for mobile.

Despite that investment and commitment, and the inclusion of PayPal at the checkout, the move is not focused exclusively on maximising sales through digital channels; greater customer engagement is the goal.

The Body Shop’s analysis of sales data and shopper behaviour has revealed to it that majority of people coming to its website are there to research products before then visiting a store in person.

Consequently, more effort is now being placed on producing content customers will find useful, and providing fast, easy mechanisms for those customers to get one-to-one help and support if they feel they need it.

The Body Shop website allows shoppers to create a shareable wishlist, provides details on trending products and best sellers, and advice on what items are best for your particular skin type. There are product reviews in abundance, with full written commentary accompanied by a star ratings system, and lots of options to share products and opinions via social media.

There’s lots of content, covering everything from how to relax, to Japanese beauty trends, how to stay bronzed all year round, plus advice on male grooming, although ‘shower regularly’ is perhaps not quite the ground-breaking advice you might have been hoping to find. While most of that content is produced centrally in the UK it is also localised to meet the needs of different regions, allowing local Body Shop teams to tailor promotions and merchandising to fit around important dates in their particular market, while highlighting products that have sold well in individual markets.

The retailer’s use of social channels means it can effectively test out all the content it produces to see what is being well received, and what is not. Things that go down well with customers get more widely rolled out, helping the Body Shop to ensure it is producing content that is in tune with what its customers want expect. So, images that get plenty of likes on Facebook and Instagram are more likely to appear as part of a wider marketing push.

The Body Shop is also making great use of live chat sessions, which capitalise on the immediacy expected by many social-savvy shoppers, and has rolled out its loyalty programme to include all shopping channels. Next year it is expected to launch a UK-wide click and collect service, which – although a late arrival compared with many other retailers – is another clear attempt to ensure a consistent customer experience whether in-store or digital.

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