Unlike department stores and clothing chains, health and personal care retailers saw an increase in sales at the brick-and-mortar level during the holiday season last year. eMarketer’s Tricia Carr spoke with Brandi Halls, director of brand communications for North America at Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, about the factors that contributed to the personal care brand’s 30% year-over-year growth in holiday sales—and why 90% of those sales happened in stores.
eMarketer: What was the holiday season like for Lush?
Brandi Halls: Shopping was a little softer in November this year vs. other years, but came on fast and steady in December. We had our best sales month on record in December, and the last seven days before Christmas were record breakers for us. December 23 was our highest sales day on record, at nearly double the sales of Black Friday.
In line with a lot of the retail industry, November was a challenging month [for Lush]. The election shook people. The first two weeks of November were surprising for the industry. But those last seven days surprised us, [in terms of] how fast and furious sales rolled in.
eMarketer: Did the majority of Lush’s holiday sales come from the store or ecommerce?
Halls: About 90% of our sales come through our retail stores. In our digital business, we saw that around 60% of traffic to our website was mobile traffic over the holidays. But we also noticed that revenues coming from mobile didn’t line up with that percentage. This tells us our customers researched the brand on their smartphones, and then came to our retail locations to pick up the products they wanted.
We know the incredible value of mobile in a retail business, but sales don’t have to come through that channel. Our customers want the experience of a Lush store, but they do their homework before they come in.“Having the right products in the right place at the right time for our customers allowed us to break our own records [during the 2016 holiday season].”
eMarketer: How did Lush draw people into stores during the holidays?
Halls: The Lush brand is based on our product innovation and our speed to market. One of the best ways we engage our customers is by how quickly we launch products. Over the holidays, we launched 55 limited-edition products and 45 limited-edition gift items—that’s almost a hundred fresh products for shoppers to come in and check out. That volume sets us apart from a lot of other beauty companies.