LUSH Handmade Cosmetics was a real bright spot in a recent mall visit, and has consistently shown robust activity over the past year. Crowds were seen excitedly shopping the store and leaving with bags of merchandise in an otherwise sparsely populated mall. The brand is known for their display of colorful scented soaps, bubblebath bars, skincare and other toiletries, abundantly merchandised with handwritten chalkboard signage. The hook is that there is an authenticity to the brand with everything being handmade, vegetarian, packaging-free, fair-trade sourced and against animal testing, adding up to a specialness that appeals to the millennial customer. While prices are not cheap (a one- to two-time use bath bars are priced between $5.95 to over $12), the pricing squarely fits in between drug stores and specialty beauty stores, such as Sephora. Paired with cause marketing and unique products (a soap-bar-like shampoo, pictured above for example) there are lots of reasons for repeat purchase.
Like the store, the site has innovative product presentation such as videos running in line with product browsing, providing information during the shopping. The site shows strong traffic skewing towards college- and post-college women who are clearly responding to the product, and shows considerable social connectivity driving traffic to the site.
Our take: There are lessons that other retailers can glean from LUSH as more and more stores try to woo millennials through the doors.
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