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Scrubbing up online: beauty brand Lush polishes digital techniques

By Lucy Whitehouse , 06-May-2014
Last updated the 09-Jul-2014 at 15:33 GMT

Lush, well-known for the heady scents and visual identity of its high street outlets, is now attempting to translate its very physical retail offering onto the web.

The brand’s MD of digital, Jack Constantine, sat down with Cosmetics Design to reveal how their new digital ‘Kitchen’ initiative, a more interactive extension to their website, looks to push the boundaries of online beauty retail.

Constantine told us that internet-age consumers are now participating much more in beauty product development, with the ‘Kitchen’ coming as a response to that.

‘It’s about community; it’s about sharing’

The digital MD highlights the emerging consumer desire for greater personalization opportunities, their increased interest in transparency, and a demand for a more immersive e-retail experience as key e-commerce beauty trends.

 “We’re now in an environment where it’s about community, it’s about sharing, it’s about interacting with the products, and being able to have that reactive mentality,” he observed.

Consumers can purchase exclusive and limited-edition products via the new ‘Kitchen’ website, where they are also able to communicate with the brand, and are given an insight into the manufacturing process: all of which sets it apart from the traditional e-retail experience, according to the brand.

Immersive and tactile

Brands, he puts forward, could benefit from playing to digital’s particular strengths when it comes to retail, rather than just like-for-like imitation of the high street.

“We don’t emulate in a literal sense, which is I think where [other brands] make the mistakes - when they try to literally emulate a shop environment on the internet,” observes Constantine.

Instead, he notes, the brand is “learning about the best ways to maximise digital tools, to really create tactile environments for customers, and for users to be able to feel like it’s actually something more tangible and a bit more real.”

The ‘Kitchen’ attempts to offer a more tactile experience, focusing heavily on the visuality of cosmetics creation in a kitchen environment, and giving the e-retail experience what Constantine calls a “deli-style, ‘make this at home’” feel.

Transparency

The beauty consumer is no longer buying into “celebrity-endorsed pseudo-science”, the marketing expert asserts.

I think transparency is going to be hugely important as over the coming years with the access we now have,’ Constantine observes, referring to the availability of information for the consumer via such platforms as the recent ‘Think Dirty’ app, which lists ingredients of individual cosmetics products.

Efforts to display a kind of corporate transparency are increasingly appreciated by cosmetics customers, Constantine believes, and he reckons the Kitchen offers just that.

“We have an opportunity here to present a new way of thinking about beauty products,” he says, concluding that the brand is now keen to gauge consumer reception to the concept: with their American Cream body lotion selling out in just two hours, so far, it's looking good. 

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