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15 May Personal Care

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Last week I was lucky enough to attend one of AMP Capital Shopping Centres’ ‘Talking Shop’ events where industry leaders share retail trends and insights. The topic was Gen X and how they’ll change the retail market in unexpected ways.

Natasha Ritz from Lush was one of the presenters. If you’ve ever walked past a Lush store, you probably noticed that it was full of people, picking things up, talking to the staff and generally enjoying themselves. So of course I was fascinated to hear about how they create their in-store environment, and their incredibly loyal customer base, all without any paid advertising.

The secret is their staff. Lush are very deliberate about treating their staff well and listening to them, to create brand advocates who give great customer service. Here are just a few things they do to create this culture:

  • Training: They are constantly running training, about the products, but also about service and how to connect with customers.
  • Touch: In the store the staff will pick up products encouraging the customers try them, they’ll share the product’s story and even touch customers on the arm. In a busy anonymous world, having someone break the personal space boundary can be surprising, but also in the right circumstances make you feel far more welcome and connected to the person.
  • Sharing Stories: Every product has a story behind how it was made that is shared with staff, who in turn share these stories with the customers – about the man who hand pressed that bath bomb, or about the village that grows roses for rose oil which helps fund their village school, etc. It makes that bath bomb feel a lot more special and personal.
  • Engaging back end staff: Sharing these stories also helps connect the man making that bath bomb to the end customer, even if he doesn’t meet them he knows that a sticker with his face will be on the bottom of the package, he’s not just a faceless factory worker, and the company thinks it’s worth sharing his personal story.
  • Bringing managers together: Lush invests in bringing all their store managers together 3 times a year, and every year even flies them all to the UK. It makes the managers feel valued, aligns them with the vision and shares best practice across the teams.
  • Clear values and brand proposition: Finally, they have incredibly clear values which includes campaigning for human rights and animal welfare in the stores. Like the arm touching, they won’t appeal to everyone. But it builds deep loyalty with the people whose values align with Lush’s and the campaigns they run.

 

I think a quote from Natasha sums it up best;

“People don’t just want to sell something, they want to belong to something”.

All the training and the stories and the values the company upholds help customers and staff to feel part of a community and a larger movement – simply by buying a bath bomb.

Image credit: Business Insider

Irena Nicholson
irena.n@meme-partners.com

Engagement Strategist

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