Body Shop ups e-commerce stakes
Shop has made a significant investment in software designed to
increase the efficiency and sales options available for on-line
transactions, reports Simon Pitman.
The company has invested in Art Technology Group's (ATG) US e-commerce Customer Experience Platform - a multi-channel software package designed to increase the flexibility and usability of e-commerce platforms.
Thebodyshop.com provides consumers with a brand experience across multiple sales channels, and has been nominated by the Webby Awards as one of the five best Internet sites of the year in cosmetics and beauty.
In recent quarters the cosmetics maker has reported a distinct financial turn around, that has been largely put down to a rapid increase in sales from internet sales, particularly in the US.
At the end of last week the company announced full-year results that showed total sales for the 12 months ending 26 February were up 5 per cent from £381.1 million in the previous trading year to reach £419.0 million.
On a regional basis Asia Pacific led the way with sales growth coming in at 12 per cent, due in part to a big jump in internet sales. The US registered 7 per cent growth, due largely to a 57 per cent increase in internet sales, while Europe grew by 4 per cent, where internet sales have not yet been launched.
Flagging retail sales in the UK and Ireland were counteracted by a jump in internet sales, leaving total sales unchanged for the year-on-year.
For The Body shop, creating an online shopping experience became critical to increasing market presence and strengthening relationships with consumers actively seeking easier access to the full breadth and depth of its product line.
The increasing number of products being sold over the internet, combined with increasing consumer demands for a more comprehensive e-commerce service meant that the company was bound to upgrade and redesign the system.
Alongside other aspects of improving the system the company the company conducted a thorough evaluation process that involved possible solutions from five vendors, before choosing the ATG software.
Mariam Naficy, vice president of The Body Shop's e-commerce division said, "The scalability of ATG solutions and promotional and personalization capabilities of the ATG Customer Experience Platform allow us to support our diverse customer base and the physical characteristics that define them. Offering an adaptive, personalized e-commerce site is critical to our strategy because we are offering a wide range of products to customers with varying skin, hair, and complexion types."
ATG's says that its multi-channel commerce capabilities can push relevant information and promotions across any purchase point, such as a register, kiosk or online portal. In turn The Body Shop has implemented this technology in their web storefront in an attempt to enrich the customer's on-line shopping experience.
"The Body Shop has the opportunity to provide the personalization, commerce and online self-service backbone of the company's e-commerce initiative," said Cliff Conneighton, senior vice president of marketing, ATG. "With the software, The Body Shop will be able grow their brand while creating a unique, relevant online experience for their multi-channel customer base."
The Body Shop has now launched the new site with a managed service provider model, with hosting and operation of the site off-premises.