Naked Tech for a Plastic-Free World

Lush’s new concept shops are leveraging innovative technology to create a package-free customer experience.

With awareness of plastic pollution at an all-time high, Lush’s newest Naked shops offer literally hundreds of innovative and plastic packaging-free alternatives to your favourite cosmetics, and technology plays a key role in making that work.

“We think the future implications of this technology are they we’re able to further reduce packaging and printed materials and offer a richer alternative that gives consumers education about the benefits of cosmetics plus features such as ordering and sharing.

Lush Lens is an in development experience feature which enables Lush to reduce their impact on the environment by using the phone’s camera and Machine Learning to recognise products through the user’s smartphone camera, and give the customer detailed ingredient information and ‘how to use’ demonstrations via the app.

A while back the company opened the first such shop in Milan, which was a resounding success and convinced them there was definitely an appetite among consumers for this seemingly radical alternative to traditional, over-packaged cosmetics.

“Reducing packaging is something Lush has been working on for many, many years, says Adam Goswell Global Creative Technology, UX, Mobile & Innovation. “However, it is only now, after 20 years of development, that we are able to fill up a whole shop with innovative naked cosmetic alternatives, and offer a brand new shopping experience using technology alongside it.”

Lush Digital’s R&D team, Tech Warriors, are releasing a selection of work-in-progress experiments through the app and are inviting the public into their development process to trial and give open feedback through #LushLabs, Lush’s destination for development and research.

“The launch of the Lush Manchester Naked Shop, was an exciting day with an exciting and loud mix of our customers, staff and the press getting hands on with our packaging free shop concept.

“We’re using the shop as another platform to demonstrate and use our technology which is currently in R&D where we’re using Machine Learning coupled with a camera from a phone, to allow anyone to recognise one of our handmade cosmetics without the need for traditional packaging,” says Goswell.

Here at Tech Trends we’re fan of Lush’s brand of ethical innovation that has been showcased at several events we’ve attended which spans not only its retail shops but also a its amazing spa treatments.

“Technology has a role in reducing our environmental impact, and we’d hope this influences other cosmetics retailers and other industries to look at this technology to also aid in reducing plastic waste,” Goswell concludes.

Tech Trends offers a broad range of Digital Consultancy services to guide companies, individuals and brands in effectively leveraging existing and emerging technologies in their business strategy.

Alice Bonasio is a VR and Digital Transformation Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.

Technology writer for FastCo, Quartz, The Next Web, Ars Technica, Wired + more. Consultant specializing in VR #MixedReality and Strategic Communications

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