Lush sister company trials print-mobile-web barcodes


Cosmetics retailer/cataloguer B Never Too Busy to Be Beautiful is
certainly getting the hang of cross-channel synergies. Its latest
catalogue features QR barcodes, which when accessed through a
mobile phone unlock unique online content. Customers take a photo
of the code on their mobile, and via their phone’s web browser
can then access exclusive content (a video of perfumer Simon
Constantine discussing a new fragrance, a slideshow featuring
head makeup artist Charlotte Matheson) and additional product
information or purchase the featured items. Three codes, also
known as matrix or two-dimensional barcodes, appear throughout
the current catalogue.

“As far as we know, we are the first UK cosmetics company
to have ever used this in a catalogue,” a spokesperson for
B Never told Catalogue/e-business, although QR technology
is widely used in Japan. Its use in the B Never catalogue
“gives us an innovative edge in the market and creates an
exciting interaction with customers,” said the
spokesperson. She added that the QR codes have had a “very
positive response from customers” and would
“definitely” be used again in future catalogues.

B Never sister company Lush is also making use of technology to
provide a better customer experience. The retailer/cataloguer of
handmade skincare products has installed new chip and PIN
terminals at its stores to help speed up card transactions.
Before Lush implemented the Ocius solution from Commidea,
customers had to wait up to 40 seconds for each transaction to be
processed; now each transaction takes no more than 10 seconds.

Lush recently revealed strong financial results for the year
ended June 2007. It announced pretax profits “in excess of
£10 million” with the brand generating £144
million in sales. Although Lush’s fiscal year doesn’t end until
later this month, for the 11 months to May 2008 trading was up 23
per cent on the previous year, with profit growing “at a
faster rate” than the previous year, according to a
statement. The new financial year has also started strongly with
first quarter like-for-like UK online and mail order sales up 71
per cent on the previous year. Managing director Mark Constantine
remained cautious, stating that he is keeping an eye on all of
Lush’s markets “given the current economic climate”.
Lush currently has a presence in 43 countries, operating 533
shops worldwide, including 88 stores in the UK and Ireland.

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