Aiming to reduce plastic, The Body Shop to launch refill stations in India by year end
The Body Shop International Ltd., which runs a cruelty-free skincare brand by the same name, plans to launch product refill stations in India. The development comes a few days after the brand announced that it would go 100 percent vegan by 2023.
“The refill stations will be set up in our existing stores and will let people refill their bottles instead of buying new products. There is a different compliance here (in India) so we are working on that and hope to launch before another wave of pandemic hits us,” says Shriti Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer, The Body Shop (India), over a call with YourStory.
The shops, which are called “The Workshops”, will first be rolled out in stores across Mumbai and then open in other metro cities. “It makes sense to enter metros because that’s where a major chunk of our customers comes from,” Shriti says.
Existing brand stores will be converted into refill stations and the brand's products will also be sold alongside.
The brand currently has more than 200 stores across 65-70 cities and about 60 percent of 700 products are vegan. The brand operated in skin, bath and body, men’s makeup, fragrances and gifting, among other categories.
Shriti, a practicing vegan, has been The Body Shop (India)'s CEO for more than a decade
Originally launched in 1976, The Body Shop was one of the first skincare brands to advocate for no-animal testing while developing products.
After coming to India in 2006, the brand, which had higher price points, has tried to become more mass in its appeal by introducing trial packs and also bringing the price points between Rs 200 and Rs 2,000.
During the pandemic the brand introduced WhatsApp stores and modified their website to facilitate direct ordering, as more and more customers were shopping online due to store closures. Most orders were delivered through the brand's stores across the country.
“We had our shopkeepers delivering products everywhere at any given hour,” Shriti says.
The company has also launched new ranges, including a lemon-based skincare and bath range and a perfume range that can be mixed to create new fragrances.
“There will be more product launches very soon and we are also going to develop our website further for more customer engagement,” Shriti says. About 25-30 percent of the skincare brand’s business comes by selling on online channels.
A few years ago, The Body Shop was probably the only brand operating in the cruelty-free segment in India. But today numerous homegrown direct-to-consumer brands are available to consumers.
These include Sequoia India-backed Mamaearth, Kama Ayurveda, and Kerala-based Juicy Chemistry. Pureplay Skin Sciences, which runs skincare brand Plum, provides incentives to customers who send used bottles back to the firm for recycling.