I’m a shopping specialist – the secret techniques Lush use to make you to shop & it starts before you’ve seen the store | The Sun

WHETHER you love it or hate it, as soon as the powerful fragrance hits your nostrils, you instantly know you’re in the vicinity of a Lush store – often before you’ve even set eyes on the shop.

But while the enticing aroma might just seem like a happy coincidence – the result of a shop packed to the rafters full of aromatic bath bombs, haircare and skin products – it’s actually a far more thought-out tactic, according to the experts.


Dr Amna Khan, senior lecturer in consumer behaviour and retail at Manchester Metropolitan University, explains it’s part of a clever ploy from the brand, who purposefully try to captivate all your basic senses to create a memorable shopping experience.

In turn, this lures you into the store and encourages you to buy their products.

Dr Khan said: “Lush use the sensory experience a lot more than other retailers. They activate nearly all of your senses.

“Before you even get into the store, Lush has absolutely captivated your sense of smell.

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“You can smell a Lush store about four or five shops away – that heightened awareness and that smell is a great strategy to lure you into the store.

“Your memory is linked to sense of smell and what Lush has done is created a smell that’s unique and distinct to them.”

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As well as smell, sight plays a key role in your shopping experience. While the shop front signage itself is rather plain, generally black and white, the window displays are always bright and appealing, and you’ll often find there’s someone at the entrance to greet you.

Amna said: “Once you’re into the store it’s very visual. “It’s a pleasurable store to look at and has bright colours which really connect with consumers’ emotions.

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“You’ve got the yellows, you’ve got the pinks, bright blues… It brings you into a heightened state of emotion straight away.

“The other thing that’s magic about the store is it’s very performative.

“In a retail store the main thing you’re looking which is different from online is the hedonic experience – that ‘touch and feel’ experience – and the retail theatre, where employees are performing and consumers are a part of it.

“You’ve got a huge bath in the middle of the store for example, and a bomb that’s going to explode – it’s a whole sensory experience which really works well in connecting with the consumer. It becomes a memorable experience.”

Given the amount of products on the shelves to try, the sense of touch is also a massive lure in a Lush store – and there’s a good reason why staff are always so keen to showcase the bath bombs or get you to try the latest skincare product.

Amna said: “You’re touching and feeling the products, and employees try the products on you.

“This is to get you to engage with the product.

“Once you touch a product, you’re more likely to buy it, and that’s one of the strategies they use.”

Amelia Ng, 24, from Hampshire, previously worked for Lush as a Christmas temp twice in her late teens, and agrees she was encouraged to demonstrate at least one product or get one product onto each customer’s skin.

She said: “When serving customers we were taught to be friendly, personal, and how to find their shopping style, and work out what they wanted from their visit to the store that day.”

Founded in 1995, Lush has always been proud to be animal cruelty free, and their staff are also at the centre of their brand, with their ethos online stating “people are the heart and soul of our business”.

This is reflected in their marketing to an extent, with stickers on each product telling you which staff member made your product, but also through the training provided to each employee.

Amna said: “If you’re in a store where someone has created that product, it shows they know their craft and you will automatically buy into what they say – they can make the product, so they can also sell them.

“The best thing about the retail, in store experience with Lush is the face-to-face experience with employees.

“They’re so knowledgeable and passionate. They read customers very well too and know the customer who wants to know everything about the product, or if it’s someone who just wants to hurry through the transaction.

“If that’s the case, employees also carry iPads around which stops customers having to go to the till and wait, which improves sales.”

Amelia worked in two stores, including the big Oxford Street store, and agrees there’s a real emphasis on training and customer service.

She said: "Being the flagship store, the training there was very detailed.

“For training about hair products they hired a whole salon, where we tried the products on ourselves after finding the best product for us.

“Same for skincare, body care and across all the different ranges.

“They also give you a staff box every launch and encouraged you to try the products and make samples to familiarise yourself with them.”

Incredibly, despite not selling edible products, even the sense of taste is played upon.

Amna says: “What’s really interesting about Lush is although they don’t have the concept of taste, like brands such as Hotel Chocolat, in their product, they’ve tried to mimic the idea of taste in their visual displays.

“If you look at the counters, you’ve got the ‘deli’ style counter for things like face masks on crushed ice to show it’s fresh produce.

“You’ve got the naked, package free layout of the products which feels like going to a unique grocery retailer.

“It’s really innovative. They can’t make you taste their products because they aren’t edible, but it’s almost saying ‘these products are so good you could eat them’.”

The brand also focus on the product itself, rather than rely on packaging to sell.

Amna said: “It brings it back to the raw authentic product – a customer can touch it straight away.

“You’ve also got their sustainability initiatives – everything’s handmade, fresh, cruelty free.

“It’s almost like they’re saying their so proud of their products, they don’t need packaging. What you see is what you get.”

They also encourage repeat purchasing with offers of money off if you take their pots back to the store.

Amna said: “It’s a way to get consumers engaged and keeps you buying their products instead of going to another store. It keeps you loyal.”

As with all shops, personalisation and interactivity are key to the store’s success.

Lush’s largest London store on Oxford Street for example spans over three floors and includes Kafi Coffee who provide fairly traded coffee and 100 per cent vegan pastries, and also features a spa – another clever way to increase the personalised, interactive customer experience.

For Amna, they could take this to the next level in the future.

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She said: “How can they build personalised packages for customers?

“How can customers get products that are made for them – that’s the next area they could grow in and would be quite cutting edge, or being able to make your own, and take that experience a step further.”

Lush was approached by Fabulous but declined to comment

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