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LUSH Cosmetics Implements ‘People First’ Phased Reopening of Stores in Canada

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Popular brand Lush Cosmetics is taking a people-first phased approach to its reopening strategy.

The retailer’s reopening strategy includes a phased roll-out of contactless pickup, before moving towards shops opening at reduced capacity.

Each phase is based on current local government regulations, health authority recommendations, the establishment of cleanliness standards, supplies and training in shops, and local staff sentiment and comfort with reopening.

“We’ve missed our community more than you can know and want to take a moment to thank all of our fans for sticking with us through this,” said Elisa Torres, Director of Retail for Lush North America. “While things continue to evolve, we’re doing everything we can to bring fresh products back into the hands of our Lushies—whether that be carefully welcoming folks into a store or safely passing parcels of handmade goodies on.

“Needless to say, the road back to normality is bound to be a little uncertain as the world changes around us, but we’re committed to safely and consciously starting afresh together.

“We have a phased approach to our openings. We were one of the first to close. We closed quite promptly. And I would say that we’re not necessarily one of the first that has rushed to reopen. We’ve really taken a good look at what is required to open safely not just for our customers but for our staff and we’ve taken into account a lot of considerations.”

INTERIOR OF LUSH STORE. PHOTO: INTERIOR DESIGN

In Canada, the company has about 50 stores. In total, it has 264 stores.

Phases of Reopening for Lush Cosmetics

Torres said the retailer has created five phases so shops can open in a phase one which is completely contactless and curbside only. Customers place BOPIS (buy online pick-up in store) order and can walk up to the shop door to collect their purchase.

“Phase two means they can shop at the door, contactless again through mobile but they can also place an order at the door to be fulfilled right there and then the rest of the stages are really opening the store but with limited capacity. The reason we did that is we want to be able to operate safely no matter what’s happening externally with the virus and the virus count,” said Torres.

“We want to be able to allow stores to operate in different phases and be able to flex phases if they need to. One of the things that we’re certainly hearing right now is that in some areas that reopened early the case count is starting to spike so the idea is not well let’s just shut down all the stores again but the idea is to go back to a phase one and still be able to learn how to operate safely but be able not have to have a full closure.”

Additional phases include customers being able to enter the shop, but at a reduced capacity, with a socially spaced line up outside the door. Customers are advised to continue to check the status of their local shop through Lush’s online store locator at www.lush.ca, Google listing and on local shop Facebook pages.

The retailer said that from day one, the health and wellbeing of Lush staff, customers, and the community has been top priority. While customers can expect the same highly personalized service Lush is known for, the instore experience will look just a little different in order to maintain everybody’s comfort and safety, it said.

Here are some of the new health and safety protocols that will be in place:

  • Reduced capacity;

  • Six-foot social distance guide markers;

  • Access to clean sinks and soap for requested hand-washing upon entry (no purchase required);

  • Contactless payment only;

  • Sanitized cash desk and debit terminal after each customer;

  • Regular sanitization of surfaces throughout the shop;

  • Compulsory hand washing before staff assist different customers;

  • New product available if customers are not comfortable purchasing package-free or display product on shelves;

  • Masks for Lush team members and a request that customers wear them, too; and

  • At this stage, demos will also be paused to maintain hygiene levels.

Maintaining Morale Within the Lush Community has been Imperative

Lush shop managers have stepped into offering one-to-one online consultations for those seeking advice on bath, shower and skincare regimes, and individual shop Facebook pages have become a hub for groups of local Lushies to swap tips, tricks, and product recommendations, echoing the close-knit online discussion boards that spurred a cult following Lush still attracts today.

“We’re really trying to keep it a good experience from the knowledge that our staff have and the engagement that they can have with the customer but also looking at other ways versus having the tester out there and that kind of engagement where we would do demonstrations directly on their skin,” said Torres.

“We have to provide different ways for customers to engage with us.

“We’ve taken a lot of precautions to make sure it can still be a good environment but a safe environment because we’re certainly not by any means out of the woods at this point.”

Torres said the retailer is really known for doing private parties and events in the stores. So because it has not been able to do that during this environment, it has done virtual parties.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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