Determinants of Cosmetic Buying Choice: A Descriptive-Correlational Study of Body Shop in the UK

The present study aims to determine the factors which influence the cosmetic buying choice of women in the UK. It has proceeded to assess the degree of importance they attach to certain factors which affect such choice, and to ascertain how Body Shop has actually performed vis-a-vis the same set of metrics. 150 respondents were asked to respond to a self-constructed questionnaire for this purpose.

The results of the study suggest that Body Shop has exceeded patrons expectations on the following factors which affect cosmetic buying choice: quality of the products, the customer service of the store personnel; the variety of product offerings in the store; the convenience of going to the store location; attractiveness of the packaging; the degree to which the product espouses “natural” rather than artificial; the values espoused by the company who sells the product.

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Moreover, it has matched patrons’ expectations on the following factors which affect cosmetic buying choice: brand; the degree to which the product is environment friendly; and positive feedback garnered from significant others. In contrast, it did not meet patrons expectations on the following factors that affect patrons’ cosmetic buying choice: competitive price of the product; trendiness or fashion sense represented by the product; and the sales promotions used for the product. Finally, the results of the correlation indicate that

patronage of Body Shop products because of their being environment friendly is significantly correlated with their being a socially responsible company. In addition, such patronage is also positively and significantly correlated with their expressed support for companies that espouse care for the environment. None of the statements were significantly related to overall satisfaction of Body Shop products. It is recommended that it continue to leverage on its brand image as a socially responsible company, and to improve metrics on price, promotion and trendiness for increased competitiveness.

Chapter 1 Introduction 1. 1 Introduction 1. 2 Background In recent years, the concept of and demand for green companies and green and organic products has become more and more popular. This has started an expanding niche in the consumer market today. Before this trend, however, The Body Shop was already advocating for the development of a more environmental consciousness among companies (Esty & Winston, 2006). From the moment it was created, this company already had a definite idea of going against the usual practices of established organizations.

Its goals were to stimulate a sense of worth in its customers and business partners, to stand up for the rights of all people, and to preserve and care for the environment. In the era when corporate social responsibility was still not a by-word, The Body Shop had already printed out “The Green Book” in 1992, which contained the company’s declaration of its passionate and honest dedication to its environmental core value. It stopped using PVC plastic for its packaging way before the issue of carcinogenic ingredients in PVC cropped up. Its commitment made it a truly environmental company.

However it was not very profitable for many years (Esty & Winston 2006; Schaper 2005). There were also a few bumps along the way, especially when the company learned that it was buying from suppliers who were not meeting its standards of ecological practices. For a while, it had to take back the disclaimer that its products were not tested on animals. However, because of the recent boom of green consumers, The Body Shop is leading the market for ecological products. Because it was a pioneer in the field, new green companies are using The Body Shop’s history of successes and failures as a model for their own environmental advocacies.

The Body Shop is a step ahead of the competition, however, because it has already built a solid brand name. And in this highly commercialised age, brands are important. Because of modern technology, consumers are already bombarded with choices and information. Brands can become visible beacons in the chaotic sea of choices, which consumers can easily recognize and grab on to without having to go through a difficult decision-making process. Through the years, The Body Shop has strengthened its reputation for environmentalism and has gained the trust of its customers.

This has become its edge against its competitions (Esty & Winston, 2006). A brand must be able to get the loyalty and trust of consumers so that they will habitually buy that brand and will never think of switching to another brand despite the temptations of so many choices in the market today. A brand must also have enough influence so that consumers will pick that particular brand as their first-choice. When a purchase has been made and the consumer has become loyal to the brand, this can be seen as a contract signing between brand and consumer.

The brand promises to always deliver the high level of quality product or service that attracted the consumer, while the consumer promises to repeatedly go back to that brand. In this way, the brand also helps the consumer save time, a commodity that is of high regard in this age, because consumers don’t have to analyse their purchases anymore. Without agonising over their decisions, customers can always be assured that each purchase or patronage of their favourite brand will give them the best product and service in the market.

In this way, brand and customer then live out the image behind the name (Kotler 2003). In this regard, the current research aims to determine the perceptions of female patrons of Body Shop as regards its brand. It shall determine the factors that determine patronage and customer satisfaction. 1. 3 Research Aims The current research aims to determine the factors which cause patrons to purchase and patronize Body Shop products. 1. 4 Research Objectives In particular, the objectives of the research are as follows: 1) To determine the importance of the following factors according to Body Shop patrons:

a) Quality of the products b) Having a globally renowned brand name c) Competitive price of the product d) Trendiness or fashion sense represented by the product e) The degree to which the product is environment-friendly f) The customer service of the store personnel g) The variety of product offerings in the store h) The convenience of going to the store location i) The sales promotions used for the product j) Recommendations or positive feedback garnered from my friends, family and acquaintances k) Media advertisements of the product

l) Information on the product’s label m) Attractiveness of the packaging n) The degree to which the product espouses “natural” rather than artificial o) The values espoused by the company who sells the product 2) To ascertain the actual performance of Body Shop on the same factors above. 3) To determine if there is a significant difference between importance and actual performance of Body Shop on these factors. 4) To determine if there are significant correlations among a) Patronage of Body Shop because its products are environmentally friendly

b) Belief that Body Shop is a socially responsible company. c) General patronage products and companies that espouse care for the environment. d) Overall satisfaction of Body Shop products 1. 5 Hypotheses The following hypotheses shall be tested in the study: Ho1: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on quality of the products. Ha1. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on quality of the products.

Ho2: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on having a globally renowned brand name. Ha2. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on having a globally renowned brand name. Ho3: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on competitive price of the product. Ha3. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on competitive price of the product.

Ho4: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on trendiness or fashion sense represented by the product. Ha4. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on trendiness or fashion sense represented by the product. Ho5: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the degree to which the product is environment-friendly.

Ha5. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the degree to which the product is environment-friendly. Ho6: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the customer service of the store personnel. Ha6. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the customer service of the store personnel.

Ho7: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the variety of product offerings in the store. Ha7. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the variety of product offerings in the store. Ho8: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the convenience of going to the store location.

Ha8. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the convenience of going to the store location. Ho9: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the sales promotions used for the product. Ha9. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the sales promotions used for the product.

Ho10: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on recommendations or positive feedback garnered from my friends, family and acquaintances. Ha10. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on recommendations or positive feedback garnered from my friends, family and acquaintances. Ho11: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on media advertisements of the product. Ha11.

There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on media advertisements of the product. Ho12: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on information on the product’s label. Ha12. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on information on the product’s label. Ho13: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on attractiveness of the packaging.

Ha13. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on attractiveness of the packaging. Ho14: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the degree to which the product espouses “natural” rather than artificial. Ha14. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the degree to which the product espouses “natural” rather than artificial.

Ho15: There is no significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the values espoused by the company who sells the product. Ha15. There is a significant difference in the level of importance attached to and the actual performance of Body Shop on the values espoused by the company who sells the product. For the last objective dealing with correlations, the following hypotheses shall be tested: Ho16: There is a no correlation between patronage of Body Shop products because of their being environmentally friendly and the belief that Body Shop is a socially responsible company

Ha16. There is a significant positive correlation between patronage of Body Shop products because of their being environmentally friendly and the belief that Body Shop is a socially responsible company. Ho17: There is a no correlation between patronage of Body Shop products because of their being environmentally friendly and general patronage products and companies that espouse care for the environment. Ha17. There is a significant positive correlation between patronage of Body Shop products because of their being environmentally friendly and general patronage products and companies that espouse care for the environment.

Ho18: There is a no correlation between patronage of Body Shop products because of their being environmentally friendly and overall satisfaction on Body Shop products. Ha18. There is a significant positive correlation between patronage of Body Shop products because of their being environmentally friendly and overall satisfaction on Body Shop products. Ho18: There is a no correlation between belief that Body Shop is a socially responsible company and general patronage products and companies that espouse care for the environment.

Ha18. There is a significant positive correlation between belief that Body Shop is a socially responsible company and general patronage products and companies that espouse care for the environment. Ho19: There is a no correlation between belief that Body Shop is a socially responsible company and overall satisfaction of Body Shop products. Ha19. There is a significant positive correlation between belief that Body Shop is a socially responsible company and overall satisfaction of Body Shop products.

Ho20: There is a no correlation between general patronage products and companies that espouse care for the environment and overall satisfaction of Body Shop products. Ho20: There is a a significant positive correlation between general patronage products and companies that espouse care for the environment and overall satisfaction of Body Shop products. 1. 6 Conclusion The chapter presented a brief background about Body shop, and the intended aims and objectives of the paper. The hypotheses were likewise enumerated. Chapter 2 Review of Literature

2. 1 Introduction 2. 2 A Brief History of Cosmetics Through the ages, cosmetics have been in used to transform appearances. It started with the Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks (Avoncosmeticsnug 2007). In Ancient Egypt, exterior appearance is closely attached to spirituality (Mellor 2008). Looking good is not for vanity but for the gods. During those times, Ancient Egyptians used black kohl to color their eyes. It is a concoction made up of burnt almonds, oxidized copper, a couple of different-colored copper ores, lead, ash, and ochre.

Kohl is applied using a stick and Ancient Egyptians applied it in an almond shape onto their eyes (Mellor 2008). For the lips and cheeks, a blend of red clay and water were applied, while henna was used on the fingernails (Narada 2008). This tradition behind cosmetics started to fade when the Greeks arrived and used cosmetics for aesthetic purposes (Mellor 2008). The use of cosmetics was widely accepted and it was a thriving commerce around the Mediterranean at that time (Narada 2008). Later on during the time of the Romans, perfumes were widely used in baths, fountains and also weapons (Boyd 2008).

Romans also apply kohl just as Egyptians did (Narada 2008). As the nineteenth century ushered in, whitening mixture was applied on the face to be able to achieve a fairer complexion. During those times, whiter skin meant a good social status since darker skin is associated with the working class (Mellor 2008). This cosmetic was composed of carbonate, hydroxide, and lead oxide. But due to lead poisoning that caused muscle paralysis or death, lead oxide was replaced by zinc oxide which is still being used until today (Boyd 2008).

Eventually by the 20th century, safer cosmetics were made available as doctors started to work with cosmetics companies to avoid problems like lead poisoning (Modes in Makeup 2008). The industry got a boost when cinema became popular and the masses tried to imitate actresses on the big screen. Helena Rubinstein and Max Factor both made their mark during this time as they developed an assortment of cosmetic products like mascara, colored powder, and pancake make-up (Boyd 2008). The new century also brought in a new trend – the tan complexion.

Tan was now the symbol of affluent individuals who did not need to work but instead simply went outside and engaged in recreation. The bronze look was the look to go for (Modes in Makeup 2008). The industry continued to grow during the 50’s and the 60’s. Cosmetics companies advertise a great deal in televisions where the focus was on the lips and eyes. Natural products as well have grown in popularity. These are products with botanical components. By the 70’s, the concern for the environment was widespread and harmful ingredients were then banned for manufacturing (Boyd 2008).

Many players now are part of this booming business. The industry will continue to grow as cosmetics continue to be an integral part especially of women lives. 2. 3 Branding Kotler (2003) defines a brand as any mark or label that is attached to a product that means something for people or something that people can be associated with. For example, coffee is a product and Starbucks is a brand that means high quality coffee and is usually associated with yuppies. In other words, a brand produces a certain image, feeling, emotion, personality, or even a set of values in a person’s mind by just hearing or seeing the brand’s name.

For example, Coca-Cola connotes enjoying the moment of having a cool drink with friends or family, FedEx implies fast and safe delivery service, Porsche is expensive but luxurious cars, New York City is the city that never sleeps, and The Body Shop promotes the beauty of each individual while protecting the planet (Kotler 2003). Kotler (2003) further explains that building a brand involves an intricate and interdependent system of devices such as advertisements, public and media networking, financial support for events or issues, and many more.

But the most important device is the customer service provided by the brand’s employees. Friendly and helpful shop employees may determine whether clients will come back or not. Everything about the company, its plans, processes, services, and final merchandise must revolve around the brand it is promoting. This is how valuable a brand should be for a company. On the other hand, to be able to say that a company truly has an effective brand depends on the level of loyalty and influence the brand has on consumers in general and on its clientele in particular (Kotler 2003).

Specifically, branding is a marketing strategy of a business to make its product stand out among competitors. It uses tools like distinctive product names, symbols, slogans and other images (Principles of Marketing 2008). It not only helps in distinguishing a product but also safeguards the consumer from other products that seem to be the same (Hislop 2001). An example of a product with good branding is Nike’s sports apparels and shoes. The brand is strongly associated with sports and the checkmark sign and the slogan just do it sets it apart from other sports brands.

Aside from familiarity branding also invokes emotional responses – Lexus with the feeling of luxury – or cultural responses – Pepsi with the youth (Hislop 2001). It was about 15 years ago when the concept of branding entered the business world. However, until now, the word is still being confused with marketing and advertising. The process of branding should be the first step followed by advertising under the big umbrella of marketing. Research shows that companies that do not establish a brand identity first before advertising only see themselves lose money (Klein 2008).

Branding is not all about raising awareness to the product. It is about getting the consumers perceive the product as the sole answer to their troubles or needs (Lake 2003). The logo or slogan is not the brand of the company instead it is the character of the company. The brand is what the company symbolizes in the customer’s mind (Klein 2008). It is a summation of all the opinions and encounters of the customer with the product or service (Lake 2003). It is imperative for a company to establish a lasting brand if it intends to survive in the very competitive world of business.

2. 3. 1 Approaches to Branding It is essential for a business to build strong relationship with its customers to be able to stay above all competitors. One tool that a company has is a strong brand. The following are the most common ways of how companies use branding in marketing their products or services. Corporate Branding. This type has been around ever since competition among business started. In corporate branding a company uses its own name as the brand for the company. The company usually promotes its products under that brand name (Crystal 2003).

An example of which is Disney, where all products of the company included the name “Disney”. In this approach the corporation or company is the main selling point (Csaba, Schultz & Yun 2005). If successfully used the company can create brand loyalty where customers look for products under that company or under the brand name. The downside of this approach is that the company will have a tendency to be identified with a single product category (Crystal 2003). Employer Branding. With the rise of newer resources like technology, the fact remains that personnel are still the most important resource of any company.

As the competition for first-rate employees becomes tight, companies attract them through Human Resources Marketing or through employer branding (VersantWorks 2008). Employer branding is the impression of the stakeholders – current employees, potential hires, and previous staff – about the company as place of work (Harris 2002). The idea is to instill in the stakeholders mind that the company is “great place to work”. It immerses the employee into the company, gives the employees a sense of pride and belongingness and most important of all job fulfillment (VersantWorks 2008).

A company with a good employer branding is L’Oreal. Voted as one of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods – FMCG – Employer of Choice (Employer Profile 2008). L’Oreal’s career website declares it in black and white. The company’s objective is to provide a sound working environment for its employees. Working for L’Oreal would entail a secure workplace, performance is given credit, a diverse culture, and where privacy and private life are valued (As An Employer 2008). What makes this strategy work for the company is because L’Oreal knows who it wanted to hire and focus the HR endeavor to accomplish the task (Klein 2008).

Cause Branding. This is an approach in branding where a company supports a cause to be able to increase profits or to set it apart from competitors (Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications 2007). As examples will be Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, ConAgra Foods’ Feeding Children Better Program, Reebok’s Human Rights Awards and Rockport’s Fitness Walking Program. This initiative is usually interchanged with cause marketing and corporate social responsibility. Cause marketing just like cause branding seems to have the same objective but the difference lies in the duration.

Short-lived cause marketing initiatives are usually one-time deals like food drives, collection bins, and auctions for charity. While cause branding is a year-long continuous endeavor. Where the company tries to associate a cause to the brand in the customers’ mentality (Evergreen & Partners 2005). On the other hand CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility is the broader initiative that consumers expect from a company. CSR involves labor practices of the company, community activities and environmental programs.

It comprises various causes while cause branding focus only on one cause (Evergreen & Partners 2005). 2. 4 The Buying Decision Process Consumer behavior is term used to describe the manner of how an individual buys and assesses a product or service. It also includes the internal or the mental processes and external or social processes that might affect the individual’s conduct (Consumer Behavior 2008). Purchasing products like buying grocery supplies seems like a mundane activity but a buyer actually foes through several stages of decision making before eventually making the purchase.

It will all start with the problem recognition. A problem arises when the current status or condition does not coincide with the preferred one (Marketing Communications 2008). The awareness of this situation can be caused by an internal stimulus, like feeling thirsty and needing to buy a drink, or an external factor, like advertising of a store for a sale (Buyer Behavior 2008). The consumer may or may not continue to the next stage unless there is a strong desire to improve the condition or fulfill the need (Principles of Marketing 2008).

Once the consumer decides to fulfill the need, the stage of information search occurs. At this stage the consumer seeks out options to be able to solve the problem at hand. It involves internal and external types. Internal search usually occurs with frequently bought items. The consumer just simple remembers past positive experience with the product (Principles of Marketing 2008). The weakness of this type is when the information stored in the memory is limited or the person is having a hard time remembering, the risk of making an incorrect decision is most likely (Consumer Behavior 2008).

On the other hand, the sources for the external types are personal sources like relatives and friends, public sources like reports, commercial sources like ads and lastly experiential sources acquire through experiencing the product (Buyer Behavior 2008). The challenge for any marketing team is to identify how their target audience source product information. After which make sure that the information is always available and can be easily accessed (Principles of Marketing 2008). The information obtained during the second stage will then be evaluated in the alternative evaluation stage.

The information will be put into set of options or evoked set (Consumer Decision Process 2008). The evoked set is the set of brands a consumer consider while in the decision process (Marketing Communications 2008). From the second stage the consumer acquired the criteria he/she is looking for and got the brand names that meet those criteria (Consumer Behavior 2008). This process limits the choices for the consumer, making it easier for them to make the final decision of purchasing the product or getting the service.

The fourth stage of the process, purchase decision, now involves the actual purchase of the product. Since the consumer now knows what to buy in this stage, he decides where, when and how to purchase the product of choice (Marketing Communications 2008). During this process, three methods of purchase may be used by the consumer: fully-planned, partially planned, and unplanned. Fully-planned purchases are purchases where the customer picks out the merchandise and brand ahead of time. This method is usually used with high risk purchases like buying a house or car.

In partial purchase there is a plan to buy a product but to what specific brand is decided later on. Finally, an unplanned purchase is a spur of the moment acquisition (Consumer Decision Process 2008). Although the consumer is already thinking of buying a product, this could still be altered at the point of purchase itself. Factors that could affect it are the store surroundings, time constraint, incentives offered in the store like a sale, product availability, and budget constraint. It is then important for the seller to make sure that these events are anticipated and avoided (Principles of Marketing 2008).

Stores could make sure that the stocks are sufficient, the store is clean and the personnel are trained to provide good shopping experience, promotions like sales are position at the right moment, and that products are well organized and can be easily found. Following the purchase will be the consumption of the product and the consumer will enter the last stage of the process which is post-purchase evaluation. In this stage, the consumer will assess if the purchase solved the problem identified in the first stage. He/she will determine if satisfaction was provided by the action (Consumer Behavior 2008).

Otherwise, the customer will feel cognitive dissonance, which is an unpleasant feeling or tension produced by thinking about two conflicting ideas. This is a state where the consumer stresses on the thought that the other choice should have been selected (Buyer Behavior 2008). Cognitive dissonance could result to product returns, viewing the product in a negative way or not considering the product as part of the evoked set in the future (Principles of Marketing 2008). Companies can prevent this situation by providing good after sale service to customers.

For example. free technical support to electronic device like computers. Other methods are follow-up calls and market research. As shown above the decision making process of consumers is actually a complex process that involves many steps and could be influenced by different factors. The whole process could take a few minutes for simple purchases but could take weeks for important purchases. It is then a good tool for businesses to understand what happens in each stage to be able to present their product favorably to the consumer.