Lush is building a virtual assistant on Google Cloud

Lush Presentation

Cosmetics retailer Lush is building an e-commerce mobile app and a virtual shopping assistant to boost customer experience, hosting both on Google Cloud.

Lush Lens is an app for both employees and customers, who can point their smartphone camera at any Lush product and, using Google APIs, it will use image recognition to identify the product. It then gives the customer or employee information such as what it's called, what ingredients it contains and what it's used for.

The 'bath bomb' maker also gave attendees of its Creative Showcase in London today a preview of Lush Concierge, its own shopping virtual assistant.

Customers can ask it where the nearest Lush shop is, whether it has a certain item in stock, and find out more about products. Employees can check stock data, such as how many units of a product a particular shop has sold.

The assistant will tie into a website refresh Lush's developers are currently working on once it is completed.

Hosted by Google Cloud, the new Drupal-based website will boast a simplified CMS, as well as letting employees know about stock and allowing users to see how much cash is inside tills and even shut them down remotely.

Joss Cook, one of Lush's website designers, said: "We are essentially building it on our own terms through open source, service-oriented architecture. It's not driven by off-the-shelf CMS [products], which gives us full control over our website. It allows Lush to dictate what it wants."

When it has feature parity with the current site, Lush will switch that one off and bring the new one online.

Lush revealed in May that it migrated its e-commerce site to Google Cloud Platform in just 22 days.

Image sources: Zach Marzouk/Cloud Pro

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.