On June 15, Lush will reopen all stores across England, bar one, in line with the UK government’s announcement that non-essential retailers may restart operations on this date. Its store in High Wycombe would remain closed as the team continued to recruit new management. Openings dates for Lush stores across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were yet to be confirmed.
The move comes after three months of store closures across England, including a period where even e-commerce operations ceased entirely.
Lush UK to apply learnings from Europe – pre-filled samples and mobile apps
The England store openings come more than one month behind Lush stores openings elsewhere in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region after COVID-19 closures.
In April, the company kickstarted a phased reopening plan in Germany and Austria, and stores across UAE, Russia, South Africa, Netherlands and Greece also started to reopen around a similar time. All 16 stores in Spain opened last week and all but one in Italy were also recently reopened.
Lush UK said that given it was one of the last markets in the region to reopen stores, it had taken the opportunity to review feedback on what had worked well in other countries.
Shops across England, therefore, would no longer offer product testers but instead provide pre-filled sample pots packaged with a tamper proof seal. Stores would also promote the company’s app Lush Lens that enabled customers to scan unpackaged products for ingredient information, pricing and ‘how to’ demonstrations. The app, developed in-house by Lush earlier this year and available in 20 different languages, worked on half of the company’s in-store product ranges and would help provide a more personal experience in the context of COVID-19.
Lush said it would certainly be “a new shopping experience” for customers.
“Lush has been getting creative with different ways customers can shop with them to provide as many options as possible,” the company said.
Stores across England, like elsewhere in EMEA, would also be able to offer ‘order and collect’ options; take orders from the queue outside to limit customer in-store time; and even provide virtual consultations ahead of store pick-ups.
“Finding new ways to provide such a personal service to customers is an interesting challenge and the brand anticipates a change in customer experience whilst virus control measures remain in place.”
CTPA supports ‘new normal’ for beauty industry and consumers
Earlier this week, the UK Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) published a customer charter ‘Protecting Us All at the Beauty Counter’, supported by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), that aimed to protect customers and enable them to browse beauty counters safely.
CTPA said the charter had been developed to ensure customers felt confident “every precaution” was being taken to ensure their own safety and the safety of staff.
The association also published industry guidance, ahead of the June 15 reopening of non-essential retail stores. Its ‘COVID-19 Guidance on In-Store Testers and Cosmetic Counters, Beauty – Safe in Store’ document was available for both retailers and companies and had been developed according to government advice and industry input.
Dr Emma Meredith, director-general of the CTPA, said the reopening of retail stores and beauty counters after months of closure was “an exciting and encouraging step”, both for consumers and industry.
“The new BRC-backed CTPA customer charter has been created to help boost customer and returning staff confidence that every precaution, based on sound scientific evidence, is being taken and applied, to ensure the safety in store as we continue to navigate these unparalleled times,” Meredith said.
The CTPA said the customer charter and industry guidance would be reviewed regularly and evolve as the situation demanded, based on science and UK and devolved government advice.