LUSH’s newest flagship store in Asia opened recently and is it is second-biggest in the world, after the Liverpool megastore. Located in front of Shinjuku station in Tokyo, the store targets the diverse shoppers who pass through cosmopolitan Shinjuku, a vibrant mix of nationalities, religions, and ethnicities.
Opened on 1 June, the new LUSH Shinjuku store features a four-story LED screen exterior that, along with the in-store lighting and music, invokes a Tokyo-pop vibe. In-store textual signage is sparse. Instead, glowing neon icons and digital screens display product imagery and information on how to use products. The concept emphasizes understanding through seeing, rather than reading, making it a store at which visitors can enjoy shopping without any language barrier.
Over 1,200 diverse products and services
More than 1,200 kinds of products and services fill all four floors, emphasizing freshness, organic and hand-made, and reflect LUSH’s policies for contributing to social issues such as opposing animal testing and plastic packaging.
Take the in-store flower shop corner that features seasonal flowers from Japanese organic flower suppliers. Here, LUSH shows its determination towards product traceability and support of organic production.
Other products include skincare items, such as facial packs made from fresh vegetables and fruit, and makeup in a wide range of color variations that, up until recently, had only been available online. Not only can you sample each product, but you can also get staff to apply it for you at makeup counters and event spaces.
Efforts to cut waste drive digital tech
The LUSH products sold here are each handcrafted at a factory in Kanagawa Prefecture. The simple packaging, which aims to reduce resource usage dramatically, comes inscribed with the maker’s name and their portrait caricature too.
Every corner shows evidence of LUSH’s attitude towards reducing waste and raising environmental awareness. This is perhaps best represented in the non-wrapped shampoos and massage oils with the “naked” treatment — solidified through liquid reduction and forgoing the need for packaging. Products can also be wrapped with “Knot Wraps”, cloth items inspired by the Japanese practice of furoshiki that can be reused and come in different designs.
With its lack of packaging and textual signage, LUSH’s Shinjuku store sounds difficult for shoppers to navigate on paper. However, what fills this gap is the app Lush Labs, which was developed with the vision of a packaging-free and “smart retail” store. This digital tool is integrated with full force at the Shinjuku store the app and is usable with an extensive range of products.
Focus your smartphone’s camera lens on a product, and the artificial intelligence (AI) automatically displays information on the product’s ingredients and a video on how to use it and leads you to a purchase screen. You can also change the app’s language to Japanese, English, Korean or Chinese. The app makes detailed product information accessible 24/7, even while the store is closed.
Digital tech adds a playful element to shopping
The Shinjuku store also features several interactive experiences that allow you to explore the world of LUSH.
Lush Moods is a visual experience inspired by the appearance of bath bombs melting in a hot bath. Select the mood you want from six keywords, such as “ambitious” or “peaceful”, and moving colors that capture the essence of your mood are projected on-screen. The technology senses your body movements as you stand in front of the screen and dynamically changes the pattern, then recommends a product to match your mood.
Then there are enormous shower jellies with built-in sensors. When these jellies are touched or tapped on, they emit sounds, delighting unsuspecting customers.
New events and services are also on the horizon. The store will soon be starting Lush Parties, customer events that have been popular at the Liverpool megastore. It will be interesting to see if beauty parties, which flourish in the West, will catch on in Japan.
In late August, LUSH will open a spa on the fourth floor. In addition to 10 existing programs, the store will also offer two different in-chair treatments — quick, 30-minute services that are ideal for busy Tokyoites and tourists. Bookings for treatments are already being taken.
The LUSH Shinjuku store should entice visitors with its unique and vast array of experiences and encourage purchasing by bringing fun and interactivity to customers.
As for LUSH’s global business expansion, the Japanese market is expected to have significant potential. The new Shinjuku store is a one-stop showcase for all things LUSH. Choosing Shinjuku, where foreign visitors and Japan-residing foreigners pass through every day, indicates that LUSH wants to make Tokyo one of its major hubs.
Text: Denyse Yeo
Original text (Japanese): Miki Onishi