Retail Marketing Case Study – The Body Shop and the Retail Marketing Mix

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Retail Marketing Case Study - The Body Shop and the Retail Marketing Mix

Technology and globalisation are the two largest and most significant influences on the world's economic landscape. Technology is the propelling force behind globalisation. Today's technology is extensive and rapidly progressing on a constant basis. This is inherent in the products widely available today. Satellites, VCRs, fax machines, e-mail, the internet, laptop computers, answering machines, photocopiers, digital watches, camcorders etc... All these would astonish even people who lived thirty years ago. The 'global village', as predicted by McLuhan, is now reality, Daniels & Radebaugh (1998:23).

Marketing & Retailing

"Marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and exchanging products of value with others," Kotler (1994:6).

Marketing can be explained as people satisfying their needs and wants through an exchange. Exchange is when a person acquires something they need or want from someone by sacrificing something in return. Therefore, it can be said that exchange is at the very heart of marketing, Baker (1990:189).

"Retailing is... a very visible form of economic activity, and one that exerts a major influence upon the lives of customers... The marketing concept may be simply expressed as the identification and satisfaction of consumer needs and wants, at a profit," McGoldrick (1998:1).

The Retail Marketing Mix

Just as marketing has a marketing mix so does retailing. The retail marketing mix can be defined as:

"...the total package of goods and services that a store offers for sale to the public. The retail mix, then, is the composite of all effort which was programmed by management and which embodies the adjustment of the retail store to its market environment," Lazar & Kelley (1961:237).

The retail marketing mix is composed of three main dimensions:

* Goods and service mix

* Physical distribution mix

* Communications mix

Lazar & Kelley (1961:238).

This is quite a broad framework of the retail marketing mix but is good in that it summarises the collective aspects of the mix under three main headings. These three main headings can be further broken down into the nine different elements of the retail marketing mix.

The nine different elements of the retail marketing mix are:

* Product Characteristics

* Price Considerations

* Customer Service

* Store Location

* Facilities

* Customer Communication

* Institutional Profile/Image

* Design

* Instore Ambience

Walters & White (1987:64).

This is illustrated in the following comprehensive framework for the retail marketing mix:

Product Characteristics

The product range is the most important factor to be considered here. The company must have a thorough understanding and knowledge of consumer expectations of quality, variety, style and individuality.

Price Considerations

"Customers are increasingly choosing vendors on the basis of long-term value...," Anonymous as cited by Kotler (1999:17).

However, price is still a vital element of the consumer's selection of retailer and consequently, their purchasing decision. Price is very important because it communicates the company's position in the market to the consumer. It is still too often assumed that consumers are attracted by 'value for money' alone. Other important factors include quality, design and uniqueness etc...

As Adam Smith commented, over two hundred years ago:

"The real price of anything is the toil and trouble of acquiring it."

Stoetzel (1954:153) suggests that consumers consider two price limits when deciding upon a purchase. One is an upper limit, any higher than this is considered too expensive. The second is a lower limit, anything below this causes the consumer to question the quality of the product.

Gabor, Granger & Sowter (1984:59) conducted a study of retail advertising which, led them to the conclusion that price acts as an informant to the consumer (a relative view was mentioned earlier). This is important in terms of new products being introduced alongside existing branded products.

Customer Service

"Increasingly, marketing is moving away from a focus on individual transactions and towards a focus on building value-laden relationships and marketing networks," Kotler (1999:450).

Consumer expectations are a huge determinant of the extent of customer service. For many consumers, the extent of the customer service is the very basis on which, they decide with what retailer their loyalty lies. Rainbow (1987:29) stated that the manner, appearance and knowledge of the sales personnel is extremely important to consumers.

It can be wrongly believed that customer service adds cost to the consumer and that it is only offered by retailers of expensive products. However, personal selling (one aspect of customer service) is often used for the selling of expensive and/or rarely bought products e.g, expensive men's suits.

Store Location

It is often though to be the most important aspect of the retail marketing mix. Store location relates to the convenience of the location to the consumers. Where to shop is often a decision based upon the provision of parking facilities, travelling distance, travelling time, ease of access etc... The convenience of the location is extremely important to consumers when deciding between retailers.

Retailers have an almost endless amount of factors to consider when deciding on a location for opening a new store. Many retailers have standard checklists for such a process. Some of the factors listed will be seen on all lists throughout the retailing industry but a huge amount will be specific to the retailer and the market in which it operates.
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Nelson (1958:43) first developed a standard checklist over forty years ago. It was to be one of the most in depth checklists ever created. The checklist was made up of eight main categories and then further broken down into thirty-six particular elements for analysis.

Pope (1984:184) proposed the concept of a list composed of external and internal sources of information, for the evaluation of a potential site for a new store:


Population totals Retail sales

Population types Sales areas

Income Sales productivities

Unemployment Stock and stock areas


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