Make your store as luscious as LUSH
Retailers should always seek to own their unique visual hallmarks to communicate their brand identity and connect with their customers. Those brands that achieve these objectives are ultimately more successful than those that don’t.
The UK-born natural cosmetics brand LUSH creatively straddles two worlds, ‘the fun and the ethical’, effectively reflecting both within their entire shopping experience.
87% of consumers will have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues, they are more loyal to those brands that do
Through creative brand marketing and visual merchandising, they turn shopping for basic, essential items like soap and shampoo into a fun activity whilst also being a serious campaigner for major ethical issues. From animal testing to the environment, they focus on issues that increasingly matter to today’s customers.
From animal testing to the environment to their latest focus on being anti-social media ‘Be Somewhere Else”, they focus on issues that increasingly matter to today’s customers.
The LUSH Take
There is much that independents can take from the LUSH visual strategy. The brand steers its own path and really is a true retail disruptor, having a clear set of brand values that drives their identity and product presentation. Simply put, they turn the usual way of displaying cosmetics and body care on its head …. to great commercial and visual effect.
Typically, when shopping for hand, face or body products the experience can be pretty passive with rows of regimented branded packaging being the only distinguishing factor. LUSH stores offer the complete opposite. Sensory cues are maximised through a rich explosion of colour, touch and smell.
In keeping with the company’s ethical stance, a large proportion of the products are sold without any packaging which also makes their bright colours a central feature of their visual communication. This lack of packaging works as a major engagement factor as it encourages customers to handle and interact with the products as well as showcasing the product at its very best.
Product displays are incredibly colourful but they are also highly accessible too. Featured at a shoppable height they are designed to be tactile and encourage consumers to browse, touch and smell products. One of the key presentation principles used is to randomly stack product on display boxes to create movement within the product displays … reminiscent of a market stall.
Product demonstrations are also an integral part of the shopping experience. Staff regularly invite consumers to gather round and get involved as they release fun products such as bath bombs into open basins.
Some newer LUSH stores take this experiential stance even further with in-store spas offering a series of LUSH product treatments which customers can then buy and replicate the experience at home for themselves.
What’s the Story?
The brand is proud of their products and demonstrate their knowledge with communication around the store providing details about specific ingredients and their benefits. By letting their customers know the background or specifics about the product it helps explain and justify pricing policy.
Throughout their communication they major on freshness and naturalness reflecting how important it is to the brand. This emphasis on freshness encourages a transparent relationship with consumers and makes it feel personal, encouraging brand loyalty.
There is a big focus on loving yourself which really works on 2 levels. One, supporting an inclusive standpoint whilst at the same time promoting self-love and a confidence in who you are.
Two, a simpler narrative of treating yourself as well as others, which maximises commercial opportunities and ways in which to connect with customers.
Their staff have a deep knowledge and passion for the products too, sharing their recommendations with customers, so as well buying great product they buy into the expertise on offer. A smile and a friendly chat with customers is embedded as part of the business culture, and a nice little touch is they are empowered to “give away” products to customers in ‘random acts of kindness’ to build a rapport and keep customers coming back.
Many are so connected with the brand and what it stands for they’re prepared to strip off to draw attention to ethical issues. Not perhaps everyone’s idea of how to bring the need for no packaging to the fore but yet another demonstration of staff and brand in perfect harmony and the benefits this can bring.
Not Only Inventors of the Bath Bomb
Since 1995, the LUSH brand has been a retail disruptor and innovator. Through product, their ethical stance, how they present their product and their store experience to name a few. The LUSH brand shows that product is only part of the story, building a brand and a connection with consumers are equally important. One of the main ways to communicate with consumers is through the retail experience and executing this takes thought as well as decisive delivery.
To make consumers fizz with excitement for you and your product you must visually stand out from the crowd and be prepared to be that little bit different. Let your product do the talking for you, use all the senses and encourage customers to handle your product. Banish any "do not touch" signs and let customers know that social responsibility is an important part of your DNA.
Make interaction with your product, you and your people at the centre of your shop experience, and if you get this part right, you’ll give your customers great value for money, making you their go-to florist of choice.
This article was brought to you by Two Visual.