Bath & Body Works Going Multi-Channel Route
By George Anderson
Bath & Body Works, the 1,600-store division of Limited Brands, figured it was time it had an online store.
“Our customers were telling us strongly they wanted an e-commerce site, and we felt like we’ve gotten to a point in our brand, which is 15 years old, to do that,” said the company’s chief executive Neil Fiske to USA Today.
Up until last week when it went live with its e-commerce function, the Bath & Body Works’ web site (www.bathandbodyworks.com)
was for information purposes only.
The new site offers customers the opportunity to buy Bath & Body Works’ personal care items, such as shower gels, fragrances, lotions and hair care products online.
Bath & Body Works generates nearly 40 percent of Limited Brands’ operating profit through the sale of its personal care products. Mr. Fiske estimates sales of these items will grow an additional 14 percent this year.
The web site includes a number of special features intended to appeal to shoppers.
Customer and Pre-packaged Gift Sets
For example, customers will be able to create custom gift sets in addition to prepackaged offerings by mixing and matching items.
Online Only Items
Customers disappointed in the past by a decision to discontinue a favorite fragrance will be able in the future to go to Bath & Body Works online “classics” section and buy items that are no longer sold in stores.
Shop by Customer Criteria
Shoppers will be able to shop for products based on a variety of pre-established criteria, including solutions to personal issues such as finding lip balms for dry lips.
John Morris, a retail analyst at Harris Nesbitt, believes the retail chain is on the right track with its move into online selling. “We view this strategy positively, given Bath & Body Works’ status as a gifting destination and the expectation that we will see growth in overall Internet sales due to higher gas and oil prices.”
GSI Commerce is handling order fulfillment and customer service for the Bath & Body Works Web site.
Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Bath & Body Works’ decision to expand beyond a stores-only approach to selling goods? In the area of
personal care products, what company is doing the best job of selling online and/or through catalogs?
In addition to going online for the first time, Bath & Body Works is looking to establish a stronger presence for itself this Christmas holiday season
with a mailing of 10 million gift guides to consumers. USA Today reports, “The guide is the first step toward a full-blown catalog, another new direction for the retailer,
planned for spring.” –
George Anderson – Moderator