Lush Develops AR App, And Further Solidifies Themselves a Truly Package-Free Shop

by Rudy Sanchez on 05/15/2019 | 2 Minute Read

The widespread adoption of mobile technology has changed how consumers purchase goods and services. An estimated 60% of the globe is connected online via their mobile phones, over 70% of which are smartphones. While the focus so far has mostly been in marketing and product sales and fulfillment, one cosmetics and personal care company is testing the possibilities afforded by our pocket computers to reimagine the shopping experience in-store.

Believing that innovation comes from our enormous environmental challenges, UK-based Lush Cosmetics tasked themselves with creating a waterless, signage and package-free shop. This came to a head while developing their Lush Harajuku bath bomb shop in Japan, and they decided this store would be their first location without any demos or signage indicating price and ingredients. Lush looked towards their tech R&D team (their “Tech Warriors”) to create digital solutions to accomplish this feat with their Lush Labs app. They developed a new feature called Lush Lens that lets customers identify and learn about a product by taking a photo of it.

Editorial photograph

Customers can now identify package-free products using Augmented Reality (AR), and the app shows the user ingredients, benefits and video demos. There’s even an AR bath bomb hunt where shoppers gather clues and discover AR bath bombs.

Another feature is Lush Connect which aims to engage with fans directly and is linked to customer service, removing the need for social network intermediaries such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The cosmetic company’s approach to technology is less about long planning strategies and market research and more about developing and releasing apps quickly, gathering feedback, and reiterating to match customer needs.

Rather than supplant physical retail, in many ways, e-commerce has improved the shopping experience. Lush Lab’s AR-driven app is the latest in a line of in-store retail experiments, following Dirty Lemon’s staff-less store and Kroger-Microsoft’s digital supermarket demo last year. But an app that further takes us away from traditional packaging? That's innovation.

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