Digital information replaces packaging

Dominique Schroller

Published on 20.01.2020

The British natural cosmetics brand Lush is testing a new business concept and relies on unpackaged products and an app.

The company, known for its bath bombs, wants to reduce its ecological footprint. To achieve this, Lush is using digital applications and testing them in a concept store in Shinjuku, Japan. An image-based guide with various motifs signals to customers that information is available at the respective location of the store. The markers are internationally understandable and allow easy navigation through the diverse range of products.

In addition, the company is testing a new way of product presentation. Instead of attaching an information label to each individual soap and fizzy drink bomb, as was previously the case, customers can now scan the products on a large shelf wall with their smartphone and have relevant information displayed via app. In the store decoration, the different soaps are also no longer presented in application. Until now, it was common practice to decorate the products in a water bath to demonstrate their use. Information on ingredients, prices, usage tips and information about the behavior of a soap is now only available to customers digitally via smartphone.

Once the specially programmed Lush app has been loaded on the smartphone and the camera activated, all that is needed is to hold the lens in front of the desired product on the shelf and all the information flows as an augmented reality application.

Customers also have the option of scanning products in the shop windows with the app. The extended counter can be used to call up information and order products at any time of day or night.

The digitalization of the store is intended to help save on packaging. The unpacked rate of a Lush shop is currently around 50 percent. In the new store concept in Shinjuku, which completely dispenses with the individual packaging of products, the company is achieving a significant increase. Lush argues that by digitalizing the store, every customer contributes to waste avoidance with his or her purchase. The packaging, which is still in use for shipping online orders, is made of recycled material and is compostable. Lush wants to roll out this environmentally conscious approach globally and hopes that the concept will also motivate other cosmetics companies to rethink their packaging concepts.