API Development

The Body Shop’s Fresh Take on Lasting Customer Relationships

Everywhere they turn, today’s shoppers are bombarded with offers from retailers competing for their attention. For a brand, cutting through all that noise has never been more difficult. Recognizing this, The Body Shop’s Switzerland stores saw an opportunity for a different approach: one that focused on better understanding their customers and building relationships, not blasting offers into the ether and hoping shoppers bite.

A Deeper Understanding

One size doesn’t fit all, and The Body Shop knew that sending offers or messages that weren’t relevant to a user or that were out of context would cause customers to tune out, or worse, to opt out. That’s why The Body Shop, working with Smilla AG, began by first ensuring they understood the customer and their unique preferences.

They began by creating a Web Dashboard to act as the brains behind their loyalty experience. Armed with the ability to understand and group users based on demographics, purchase history and other factors, they can now create promotions that mean the most to each person. For instance, The Body Shop could target women in a certain age group who have made more than five purchases of a certain product in the last year. This deeper insight into preferences, when coupled with time- or location-based notifications, lets The Body Shop provide the right offer to the right person at the right time for more personalized interactions.

The Loyalty Card Goes Digital

With this more intelligent foundation, The Body Shop was set to reimagine customer loyalty and their “Love Your Body” program from the ground up. The face of the program – the app – needed to support both iOS and Android to reach as many shoppers as possible. After looking at various cross-platform solutions, they landed on Appcelerator for speed of development and the ability to monitor apps once live.

The resulting loyalty app lets customers receive tailored offers, earn vouchers based on purchases, get invited to special events, shop for products, view their purchase history and locate stores. The interactions revolve around The Body Shop’s retail model – and with many of the stores in train stations and other busy public places, the user’s location is a key factor. By using beacons, a passerby that has signed up for the program is notified of their offers as they near a store. If they are interested, the app presents them with a QR code that can be redeemed at checkout. (Vouchers can also be redeemed in the online shop.) The objective is to engage customers in a timely fashion and make the shopping experience as convenient as possible.

The Details Matter

With access to The Body Shop’s point of sale system and online shop, the team used their backend API to create an integrated experience across the different channels and keep all data in sync.

There were a number of seemingly small details added that went a long way to providing a frictionless experience for both customers and store staff. The team included the ability to view and re-purchase recently bought items since customers frequently make repeat transactions. Because there are many languages used across Switzerland, they incorporated simple in-app language switching that doesn’t require changing device system settings. They also found it helped the checkout process to temporarily auto-adjust the user’s screen brightness for easy scanning of QR codes by the point of sale system. And of course, they included the ability to contribute to The Body Shop’s foundation, reinforcing the company’s brand and founding values which are important to regular Body Shop customers.

Shopping for Success

Currently, more than 71,000 customers in Switzerland are using the app. Its popularity makes sense. Thanks in large part to moves by Apple and Google, digital wallets are a growing part of many shoppers’ lives. Like other leading retailers, The Body Shop is saying goodbye to the days of plastic loyalty cards in favor of something more personal that is always at shoppers’ fingertips.

The Body Shop has big plans to continue to grow their loyalty program. As it expands and they refine the app, their cross-platform approach will let them act quickly to enhance the experience they provide to their best customers.