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'Unified commerce' central to Lush strategy

Lush is rolling out its own till system, as part of a “unified commerce” approach to customer engagement.

The fresh hand-made cosmetics company is also considering how to expand its digital offering with a personal assistance app, as well as a visual app called “Lush Lens”, as part of its customer engagement strategy.

Speaking at the Drapers Fashion Forum at London’s County Hall, Lush finance business partner Mike West said its previous online strategy was too “disparate”.

“What we found was disparate websites: our branding was inconsistent, and we offered certain services in some countries and not in others. As a unified business globally, it didn’t make sense to us or the customer.

“So we decided to build our own in-house global platform. The benefits of this were that we could essentially control new content, features and bug fixes, and push these out globally […] to ensure a consistent brand message.”

The company has built its own till system, which it is trialling at its store in Poole, Dorset. It partnered with payment company Adyen 18 months ago to support payments.

It is now planning a full rollout at the Poole store, as well as its Oxford Street flagship and other selected shops, ahead of a wider UK rollout.

West identified three barriers to entry: cost, legal complications relating to trade in different geographies and time. However, he said the potential benefits outweighed the disadvantages.

West said: “Even with all these challenges we thought, ’Sod it, we’ll give it a go.’ We invested heavily in taking global architecture online across [all channels], and delivering content in real time and broadening the customer journey in that way.”

West said this was key in bringing together its customer channels to build a “harmonised” omnichannel offering.

Meanwhile, Lush is considering how to develop its customer engagement strategy beyond its payment systems, and is mulling a “Lush Lens” visual product-recognition app, as well as its own artificial intelligence-powered chatbot personal assistant.

For the former, West outlined the potential for tablet devices to scan products in a basket and transfer them instantly to the till.

West said for the latter, it wanted to introduce something like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa but “put [its] own spin on it”.

“We’re a bit fun and cheeky, and use lots of double entendres [in our marketing] – we want to bring this to life in the form of an app, not just using a cut-and-dry Siri or Alexa standard,” he said.

It is aiming for the chatbot to offer insights such as products’ health benefits, where ingredients are sourced from and even music suggestions for specific bath bombs.

Lush, which was founded in 1995 in Poole, Dorset, operates 900 shops across 49 markets.

 

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