Innovator Spotlight: ULTA is “ULTA-RIFFIC”

Jun 2, 2017 8:20:26 AM


As temperatures finally begin to warm, so does, to some extent the retail climate. We are still in a tumultuous retail climate, but some bright spots are beginning to emerge in the retail landscape.


ULTA is a particularly bright spot in the world of retail. The beauty retailer bested Q1 estimates with net sales rising 22.5% over last year. The stat is further underscored by the fact that ULTA posted growth in both Ecommerce and Brick and Mortar sales. Brick and Mortar at ULTA especially is bucking the trend of slumping store sales and they are aggressively opening stores, adding 18 to its pre-existing 972 store footprint in Q1 alone. The company plans to push past 1000 locations with plans to open 100 new stores in 2017.


ULTA’s store success has centered around their ability to create high quality experiences in those stores that connect with their customers and drive more value in store and online from those shoppers.


A few plays out of the ULTA experience playbook:


  • Loyalty Membership: ULTA’s loyalty membership program which rewards repeat customers with points towards future purchase, special offers, discounts, and more grew 26% in Q1. The program further rewards big spenders who clock in over $450 dollars per year driving more value per order and increased customer satisfaction as associates can more effectively serve those loyalty customers in store.


  • Maximize Products with Services: Salon services present an opportunity to both generate revenue and show case products with cross selling and upselling opportunities abound. ULTA has leveraged visibility to the availability of these services both online and in store to maximize these high value opportunities.


  • All Inclusive Attitude: With over 20,000 products per location ranging from bargain brands to high-end cosmetics, ULTA has excelled at creating an experience where every customer regardless of what their style, budget, and preferences are can realize a shopping experience that they love. Combining this with a company emphasis on the “expert store associate” who is well versed in the products they sell, creates a formula for customer experience success.


Retailers should take note of ULTA’s formula for driving high value store experience even in a climate where brick and mortar shut down are becoming the norm. When we look at retailers and brands like ULTA it becomes clear that despite turbulent times, retailers who are able to focus on their core value drivers and innovate around those strengths, like ULTA has done with their stores, can realize success.






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Written by Radius8

Radius8 empowers retailers to dynamically merchandise online using the context of their physical stores and local market intelligence to drive online conversion

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