By Aimee Chanthadavong

The hot topic at the moment is multi-channelling, with great focus on using websites and social media as key tools, but The Body Shop is taking a different approach with Party At Home.

Cathy Seaholme, The Body Shop national retail and visual merchandise manager, said at the Retail Conference of CeBIT 2011, with aims of increasing market share; the company has devised three ways for how consumers can shop with them through retail, online and at home.

“While most people know about us as a retail channel not many know about us as Body Shop at Home,” she said.

“Our direct channel is a largely untapped model for us. We have over 4,500 consultants holding 55,000 parties. It’s a fantastic way for us to communicate to new and existing customers.”

At the moment, the company’s retail business makes up 75 per cent of total sales, while 24 per cent is at home and only 1 per cent is online. But in the next three to five years The Body Shop has predicted that total sales would be made up of 52 per cent of retail, 43 per cent of at home and 5 per cent of online.

“The retail stores provide the brand platform for online and At Home and they were the key to being able launch a success for At Home. The retail is our brand and the website supports all the parts of the business and enables customers to navigate, to find retail locations and to find about how someone can become a successful direct selling consultant,” Seaholme said.

“The At Home provides an introduction and sometimes a re-introduction to the brand. Anecdotally one in three customers who attend a direct selling party will make their way to retail at some stage.”

Ultimately, Body Shop At Home is directed to customers who want a social outlet while engaging in a personal experience with a sales consultant.