The UK branch of the cosmetics brand just announced (on Instagram) that it will soon be dissolving its presence on all social channels, as it is “tired of fighting with algorithms, and does not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed.” In a world where the grid grips all, here’s what might be bubbling beneath the surface of a move this bold.
The skincare staple first burst onto the beauty scene in 1995 and has since enjoyed cult status thanks to its natural products, bright branding, and pioneering of the now-viral bath bomb. With items that look good enough to eat and equally edible product names, the soap supplier seems made for social media.
So why the digital departure?
Believe it or not, Instagram is not the be-all and end-all of digital. Lush’s digital strengths also include its website, which is bathed in best-in-class features. The homepage, for example, floats regularly updated seasonal goodies to the top, while product pages are flush with rich ingredient photos and vibrant videos that play automatically. Additionally, Lush sections out categories with consumer needs in mind, such as “Vegan” and “Mother’s Day,” and highlights more customer reviews on product pages than any other brand in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail UK.
These moves aren’t just for show. They showcase the brand’s authentic, if eccentric, appeal. By providing multiple visual representations of product ingredients, Lush puts its money where its mouth is in terms of transparency, an issue of growing importance for consumers on the path to purchase. Similarly, highlighting reviews—both good and bad—puts power back into the hands of the consumer. Offline, the brand has also swapped out harmful glitter for vegetable-based luster and funds education-based trips for truth to stores over extravagant blogger trips for show, as other brands do.
Still, it’s hard to deny the fact that the brand’s website is also awash with social media, such as custom hashtags, emoji-inspired items, and a shoppable grid for consumers who are “doing it for the ‘gram“. Though it’s unclear at this point if Lush will be wiping away all traces of social media from its desktop site, it is clear that Instagram isn’t the only place a brand can soak up digital success. Brands looking to do so in a way that makes a splash might benefit from giving a little extra TLC to their other digital platforms, desktop included.