Consumers returning to the high street? The Body Shop thanks new shop format for recent growth

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers returning to the high street? The Body Shop thanks new shop format for recent growth

Related tags Body shop The body shop

The Body Shop enjoyed a pre-tax profits rise to £57 million in 2013, up nearly £6 million on the year preceding it, and the L’Oreal-owned beauty brand said it has its new ‘Pulse’ shop layout to thank for the favourable figures. 

The new format involves an open-plan shop floor layout, giving the stores a “fresh and vibrant boutique look​” and leaving salespeople room for product demonstrations, and is in place across the brand’s 292 UK stores.

The brand says it is now looking to roll out the Pulse format across its international stores too: Jeremy Schwartz, chief executive at The Body Shop, says the format led to an improvement in “performance, footfall and sales​”.

The brand also attributed last year’s growth partly to its seasonal marketing drive over the Christmas period.

Interactive in-store experience

The recent rise of e-commerce seemed to spell the end for high street shopping; but the Body Shop’s focus on the in-store experience taps into a rising emphasis on returning to bricks-and-mortar now emerging from industry experts.

Indeed, packaging supplier MeadWestvaco's former vice president of global creative, Steve Kazanjian, noted that when it comes to beauty, investment in enhancing the in-store experience will be worth brands’ while.

"We have found that there’s a great opportunity for differentiation within that space to create a more measurable experience where you can engage the consumer on a much more emotional or visceral level,​” he said.

Beauty brand Lush’s MD of digital, Jack Constantine, agrees.

We’re now in an environment where it’s about community, it’s about sharing, it’s about interacting with the products​,” he recently told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

Digital on the high street

Research firm Euromonitor confirms that having made strong strides with digital in the online space, brands are making moves to digitalize the in-store experience too.

Indeed, earlier this summer, Sephora announced the launch of its new in-store 3D Augmented Reality Mirror, which the company claims is the first which can simulate cosmetics on a user's face in real-time and in 3D.

L’Oreal has also made strides into similar technology, recently launching an app which sets up a virtual mirror on a user’s phone, and allows consumers to see an impression of what they might look like with products from the beauty brand’s ranges applied on their faces.

As shoppers return to the high streets, brands are set to continue investing in making physical retail increasingly immersive and tactile through digital devices. 

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