Lush anticipated a number of current retail trends before they hit the mainstream. The UK skincare and beauty retailer has built its brand on experiential retail, filling its stores with highly-scented products and offering exceptional customer service from highly-engaged staff. It’s also been ahead of the curve regarding customer demand for ethically-produced products, and is a vocal supporter of social causes such as the Australian vote for marriage equality.
Lush keeps customer engagement high by producing themed products around holidays and events. It launched its Christmas range earlier this month, prominently featuring a range of ‘naked’ products without packaging.
The company has nine stores in New Zealand. Michelle Brindle, property development manager, Lush Australia and New Zealand, shared some information on the recent refurbishment of Lush’s Newmarket store.
Tell us about your store refurbishment? What’s new?
The direction of the new Lush global concept store design is one of sustainability in both the materials and processes used in the style and look. Materials used are either upcycled, reclaimed or have recycled and recyclable content. As a brand we have grown and evolved over the past 22 years and are successfully continuing our journey today. Throughout this evolution, the stores have largely retained the core aesthetic which is that of an experiential, cosmetics ‘delicatessen’.
We aim to provide a magnificent, experiential shopping experience which promotes our core values. In line with this, the Newmarket store features a dark, charcoal ceiling and walls which create a striking backdrop against which our beautiful, colourful products can really stand out.
The store also features reclaimed timber which was salvaged from recently demolished 1950’s and 1960’s Auckland houses. LED lights and an LED screen have been installed, and the layout has been changed so that the till is located at the back of the store which allows more space for customers to move around and browse with ease.
What’s prompted this new look and how long has the store been in its current location?
The store opened its doors for the first time in August 2008 and has proven highly popular since its introduction to Newmarket. Given that it was nearly 10 years old, it was decided that the store needed to be freshened up and brought in line with the new store concept that we’re rolling out globally.
Lush is known for its ‘retail theatre’ style activations which involve customers in demonstrations. Will there be any new facilities along those lines?
These demonstrations have and continue to work well for us which is why we’ve installed two large ceramic butler sinks at Newmarket which will enable staff to assist more customers and enhance the in-store experience overall.
The idea behind our design is to create an intimate yet vibrant space and to showcase our fresh, handmade products in the best light possible. In this shop, everyone is able to find something they need, whether it is our colourful, naked (packaging free) bath products, our quiet perfume bar or a skincare oasis that offers sit down consultations for those looking for escapism from a crazy shopping world.
Can customers expect any more surprises?
Customers are always first in everything we do at Lush which is why we strive to design innovative, shops which feel fun, vibrant, welcoming and exciting. The Newmarket store is one of several New Zealand stores to be refurbished as part of a broader refurbishment programme.
Additional elements which have been introduced include crisp white tiling in skincare areas, signage in key ranges in the store and raw ingredient ‘showcases’ which are used to communicate Lush's handmade and fresh principles to customers at a glance.
The care and detail in each bespoke store design matches the work and care that goes into crafting our handmade products from source to shelf and displays it in a setting that shows it has real value.