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The Body Shop lathers up loyalty integration, mobile widget

The Body Shop UK is integrating its loyalty program into its shopping application after confirming mobile’s unstoppable role in commerce, enabling users to view and spend rewards points, as well as add a branded widget to their home screens.

The cosmetics retailer is furthering its mobile-led digital initiatives in Britain by transferring its Love Your Body Club loyalty program into its mobile app so that users can more easily keep track of – and spend – accumulated points. Although The Body Shop is a late adopter of mobile-first loyalty schemes, the brand is taking steps to set itself apart from its competitors in the beauty industry, most notably by offering a downloadable smartphone widget to fans.

“While the retail sector was among the earliest adopters of mobile apps as an extension of digital commerce strategies, many are still not evolving at a pace in accordance with the hyper-evolving demands of customers,” said Scott Forshay, senior mobility strategist of mobile product strategy and innovation at IBM. “While the opportunity cost of no action certainly applies in this case, better late than never certainly does as well.”

Swirling up loyalty
The Body Shop claims that mobile is becoming the primary channel of choice for many customers, prompting the retailer to merge its existing loyalty platform with its mobile app in a bid to centralize all offerings and simultaneously drive more transactions.

Love Your Body Club members can now receive, view and spend their points, as well as digital vouchers, in the app. This strategy is likely to fuel an uptick in sales, as a consumer who has accumulated a high number of points may be inspired to make an impromptu purchase on mobile – if he or she knows that the points will cover all or part of the item’s cost.

The days of paper coupons and physical loyalty cards are ebbing away, due to consumers’ tendencies to misplace or lose them. Their digitized counterparts will always be available on individuals’ omnipresent smartphones, meaning that shoppers will be prepared to make a purchase at any time, regardless of their location.

The Body Shop’s app users will also gain access to promotions such as free delivery.

Other unique features include the ability to view The Body Shop’s charity partners and make a donation, an option that could resonate well with altruistic people.

In 2014, GameStop and Chili’s Bar and Grill were among the brands hoping to ramp up donations for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital’s annual campaign by encouraging consumers to donate via mobile devices, online and in-store (see story).

Additionally, The Body Shop’s customers will be able to add digital vouchers to their smartphones’ wallet apps, and be notified when they are in the vicinity of a The Body Shop bricks-and-mortar store.

Rolling out widgets
The Body Shop has teamed up with mobile commerce platform NN4M to introduce a new widget that can be added to an app user’s smartphone home screen. This lets Love Your Body Club members monitor their rewards balances and vouchers without having to open the app.

This tool is especially useful for the retailer’s frequent shoppers. If app users are able to see how many rewards points they have whenever they glance at their smartphone’s home screen, they may become persuaded to spend those points, even if they were not originally planning to make a purchase at The Body Shop.

“The essence of effective mobile user experience design exists in increasing utility and efficiency by removing unnecessary taps and navigation,” Mr. Forshay said. “Through the development of the home screen widget, the brand has smartly developed a shortcut to checking points balance and loyalty offers.”

The Body Shop’s loyalty program integration bookended a larger app revamp that included a checkout experience redesign. PayPal and PayPal Express were also added to the brand’s payment options.

Cosmetics marketers are among the best-suited brands to leverage strong mobile loyalty initiatives, due to the programs’ ability to collect valuable data about each customer’s purchasing behavior.

A Sephora executive at eTail West 2016 discussed the beauty brand’s focus on collecting individual customer data in addition to data gleaned from its loyalty program as it ramps up to drive sales among frequent and first-time customers (see story).

“The beauty products segment is an ideal one for mass adoption of mobile commerce, given its heavy focus on replenishment models,” Mr. Forshay said. “The ability for loyal customers to quickly replenish products using loyalty program points, coupled with the brand’s integration of PayPal single-tap payment options, adds efficiency and utility to the shopper’s experience with the brand.”