The Body Shop is one of such organizations that have oriented itself in the market based on the sustainable initiatives that it undertakes. For instance, The Body Shop products are developed through processes that are against animal testing, support community fair trade, activate self-esteem, defend human rights and protect the planet. These values are the core of everything that The Body Shop stands for, in today’s competitive environment.
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Product: Tea Tree Oil
Sustainable initiative undertaken: Tea tree oil comes from the organically grown plants from the foothill of the Mount Kenya. Once the plants are ready, the best ones are handpicked and steam-distilled to extract the oil. For a country like Kenya which is hit by droughts, tea tree plants survive. Most of the tea tree growers are women supporting their families because of AIDS-related deaths thereby allowing a steady stream of income. KOOFA is also made of the effort of all these women (USAID-Kenya, n.d). Tea tree plant is also used entirely and none of the part goes to waste. KOOFA ensures clean water supply and that these farmers are paid their due share.
According to Kimpton Hotels strategy, whatever is good for the planet is good for the bottom line as well. This is an effective way to ensure green practices as well as generate profits for the shareholders and value for the company. In today’s world of competitiveness, this seems like a relevant approach to be doing business with in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Moreover, for Kimpton these initiatives have been more than a way of survival in the progressive way of doing business.
Kimpton has been doing this all since approximately thirty years however; it made its green practices official in all fifty of its restaurants and hotels in 2005. The practices have been penetrated at all levels of operations. Just as the COO says “how we do what we do defines us”. This implies that the implementation of these operations has been the core way of doing business for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. Therefore, at this point, the standardization of the processes makes total sense to ensure uniformity and total acceptance of the EarthCare program.
EarthCare program aims to maximize the experience of the guests by not compromising it but rather by making the experience green for the customers. There are aspects such as waste management which focuses on recycling and reusing almost everything. Standard guidelines have been set across all hotels and restaurants that cover almost every aspect of the operations ranging from water, plumbing, lighting, documents, linens and towels. The supplier channel decisions have been easier to make because the goals and guidelines have been set for the fifty restaurants and hotels. At every level, it is known what is to be done and how to ensure bottom line as well as staying true to the values of the chain.
Zappos has a unique business model for an online store that would sell shoes. The shipping and returns are free on the website because the CEO believes that happy customers are the ones that are willing to come back to the store and make more purchases and do the actual marketing. Therefore, Zappos has been based on the philosophy of customer care to the utmost, addressing the concerns and queries of its customers relentlessly. Zappos has a customer loyalty department that not only communicates between the different departments of the company but also maintains communication with the customers. This is done in ways that are first hand responses to the customers such as sending personal emails or notes, sending them flowers on special occasions. This is a superior initiative considering the fact that online stores are more distant especially when it comes to selling shoes that the customers cannot even try. Therefore, the relentless efforts have paid off and today Zappos belongs to Amazon and also sells other various things such as apparel. However, the customer orientation has not changed and to date, it has been one of the most impressive and distinct capabilities of the business model.
Moreover, in online shopping the customers are willing to spend 11 percent more if the customer service is remarkable. So for Zappos, that has been an advantage and allowed the company to cash in on the strong foothold it has when it comes to customer service. This formula works for the company because Zappos has reported that 75 percent of the business is generated by the existing customers and their purchases. Retaining customers is a very important element when it comes to developing business models and for Zappos to be able to do that in an online store is a strong feature.
Boutique hotels are known for the luxury facilities they offer in varying sizes and settings based on different themes. Therefore, for such comforting environments in the boutique hotels, the staff is more important than providing advanced gadgets and technicalities. The staff is to be available 24 hours and should be more focused towards the guests and addressing their comforts by making them feel at home.
Similar is the case with Kimpton Hotels where employees are treated as business partners and given importance irrespective of the role they have. This is because a hotel business runs through employees more than anything else. It is the employees that are the key aspect in a hotel and that the guests interact with. Hence, the relationship with the employees at Kimpton is of immense importance. The general managers of each restaurant are treated as entrepreneurs more than employees so that there is more pressure on them because they have ownership of what they do. This way they are solely responsible for maintaining impressive staff that thinks out of the box and doesn’t have to rely on the calls made by the guests. Employees are free to make decisions on the spot and supported as well. This is essential in the hotel business because each hotel is in a different and unique location amongst different people hence, the employees are the ones who understand really what has to be done. Hence, there are a lot of expectations from the employees. This provision of empowerment has gotten a lot of attention for Kimpton and has frequently made to the Fortune list of “100 best companies to work for”.
At Kimpton the employees are the brand. They represent the chain and what the hotels have to offer to the people. Even though there are challenges in maintaining the innovation amongst the employees, most of the times it works in favor of Kimpton and what it stands for.
Tea Tree | The Body Shop. 2012. Tea Tree | The Body Shop. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.thebodyshop.com/values/Ingredient_teatree.aspx. [Accessed 09 August 2012].
Michael J. O’Fallon, 2010. Hotel Management and Operations. 5 Edition. Wiley.
USAID-Kenya, n.d. Two Million Tea Trees. Available at http://www.earthoil.com/mediacentre/%7B9BBB67D1-C13C-4022-96C4-2349E2A959B7%7D_USAID%20Kenya.pdf [Accessed 09 August 2012].