How different are these brands?

What are The Body Shop strategies to differentiate itself from L’Occitane?

The Body Shop is always trying to differentiate itself with ethic business image, along with its five core values:

  • Against animal testing
  • For trading fairly
  • Defend Human Rights
  • Activate Self-Esteem
  • Protect our Planet

To re-gain competitive advantages in such a fierce competitive cosmetic market, The Body Shop realized it should re-brand itself by reinventing itself in front of consumers, and re-engage them. It also focused on positioning the brand for the new generation so they understand what the brand and products stand for. All the movements are known as “Beauty with Heart”.

By continuing to insist on its five core values and ethical image, The Body Shop redefined its market segment as “Masstige – higher income, urban man and women” and its target group as “beauty and health conscious women of higher income group, cosmopolitan customers”. The brand position is “Luxury natural care for the body”.

It ran new market programs, involving new innovative products (including men products), store re-designed to make more of the retailer’s ethical stance, refreshed customer shopping experience in stores, also social media focusing on communication with young generations. The POP/POD is built as following:


Competitive Frame of Reference
POP Innovative, sensorial products
Support Nature
POD Truthful, and ethical Business
heart going far beyond conventional corporate social responsibility
Promote self esteem and activism
Products for Men



How do customers perceive the brand?

Customer Perceptions of the Body Shop according to the UK Customer Experience Excellence results in 2013 are:

According to the analysis, there are two key pillars of the customer experience that really encourage customers to go to competitors rather than The Body Shop: integrity and personalization.

Starting out almost 40 years ago with the mission and responsibility to bring ethical beauty products to the masses, The Body Shop performs well on integrity without using traditional advertising, but just not good enough to compete with competitors now. Running in an increasingly competitive marketplace, especially from fresh newcomers, the body shop started to dilute this message. Having been acquired by L’Oreal this has also raised questions for some around ‘integrity’.

Moreover, before re-engagement strategy launching, the body shop always communicated to customers based on “story selling”, that is to say, staffs are trained to sell the story behind the products. Though it is good approach for selling, it makes customers feel less comfortable and they sense they have an impersonalized shopping experience.

However this customer perception is based on customer experience before 2013. We are looking forward to see if customer experience with The Body Shop will grad up.


What are L’Occitane en Provence strategies to differentiate itself from The Body Shop?

Till now L’Occitane knew how to respect the spirit and the values of the group it belongs to (L’Occitane Group): authenticity, efficiency & fun, respect & responsibility. L’Occitane puts theses values in practice through the natural ingredients it uses. In addition to that, L’Occitane doesn’t test its products on animals. Besides, at L’Occitane behind each product, there is a true story and this is a major difference with its competitor The Body Shop. In fact, The Body Shop ingredients are natural ones and each ingredient comes from a specific land. But one must notice that The Body Shop products are not presented to the customers with a story. At The Body Shop stores, the sales people enhance more the natural ingredients contained in the product. At L’Occitane shops, the customer lives a unique experience of senses and stories.

In addition to that, in L’Occitane stores, the customer has the feeling he is travelling from wherever he is to a sunny and bucolic place. A place located not that far from the Mediterranean Sea.

One major element in the differentiation strategy L’Occitane has compared to its other competitors is the strength of its customer service. In fact, in 2014, it has been recognized for the strength of its customer service, ranking first in the prominent 2014 Qualiweb/Sratégies index for email and fourth in the category for social media. In fact, it is the only brand to feature in both categories, demonstrating the strength of its multichannel service and consistency of its approach. Through a centralized knowledgebase, L’Occitane receive fast, consistent answers to their questions, whatever the channel or language they use, improving the customer experience and aiding sales conversions. With this success, L’Occitane managers are moving in this direction. “To provide a 360 degree view of the customer, we implemented Eptica’s software to enable us to manage all channels from the same interface in the interests of efficiency and personalization” says Anne-Sophie Pouyau, International and European customer service manager, L’Occitane.


The POD/POP is built as following:

Competitive Frame of Reference

Point Of Parity (POP) Refined products associated with high quality.
Point Of Difference (POD) Authentic fragrances, Mediterranean packaging, sensoriality and customer based digital strategy.



How do customers perceive the brand?

L’Occitane customers are highly satisfied with the products it offers. In fact, L’Occitane provides complete ingredient lists for some of its products on the company website. In addition to that, L’Occitane keeps its promises by always putting its main natural ingredients. In fact, it does include shea butter in many of its products; it even offers a tin of 100% pure shea butter. The customers believe shea butter has remarkable qualities for the skin.

Besides, the customers are more than satisfied with the customer experience they have in-store. Shopping for skin-care or whatever products they are looking for is to wander into a world of unique fragrances.

If one wants to compare The Body Shop and L’Occitane, s/he will notice that they have definitely points of parity as the natural ingredients the product contain or the strong values they have when it comes to protect the environment. But, a huge difference occurs when one thinks about the customer service as well as the in-store customer experience. These brands are alike but very different in many ways.









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