Lush unveils digital packaging and checkout tech

Lush has debuted its a new ‘digital packaging’ feature on the LushLabs App, as well as its Fairer Tablet payment prototype, at Amazon’s web summit this week in Lisbon.

A statement from the beauty brand explained that technology has become an essential part of its daily practices. “However, technology and electronics in particular, are huge contributors to some of the world’s most serious environmental and human rights problems; from electronic waste and massive CO2 emissions to harsh working conditions and devastating sourcing practices.”

Lush Digital was therefore established to find ethical technological solutions that could fulfil the requirements of the global business, setting out to investigate, research and develop technology that the retailer could trust.

With 950 shops worldwide, using a total of over 3,800 tills, Lush discovered its traditional tills had a big footprint, were full of proprietary software and hard to keep up to date with the speed of product innovation. Lush also had no control of the manufacturing and therefore minimal knowledge of their components and the processes used to build them.

Chief data officer Jack Constantine commented: “Lush has a background in activism, ethical buying, and pushing for positive change within the cosmetics industry, so it wasn’t a huge leap for us to apply these same principles to the ways in which we use and consume technology.”

The new Fairer Tablet, currently in its first prototype stage, will be demoed at Web Summit and is set to launch in Lush’s UK shops by March 2020. It is expected to be used in all its 950 shops worldwide by the end of 2021 and could then be made available for other brands to adapt, given its open source platform.

At the event, the LushLabs concept shop will display wall to wall bath bombs as far as the eye can see and the nose can smell, but is free of any traditional product signage or sinks; instead visitors can use Lush Lens to access information on the unwrapped bath products.

Driven by machine learning technology, the feature reveals everything customers need to know about the bath bomb, and in 13 languages, when scanned with their phone. A statement explained that it therefore supports the sales of ‘naked products’, saving millions of plastic packaging on a yearly basis and representing a broader shift toward incorporating technology and waste-reduction initiatives into the company's strategy.

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