An interesting tidbit on the Nasdaq website today reported that Ulta had decidedly impressive first-quarter fiscal results for 2018. Driving their success according to the article, was a combination of “the company’s solid strategic efforts along with excellent marketing and store-growth initiatives, impressive e-commerce improvement and continued progress on salon operations.”
When Ulta first surfaced as a genuine contender for the space carved out by not so friendly rival Sephora, some were skeptical. While Sephora was known for harder to find and niche brands, Ulta seemed to cater more to the slightly above the masses mass market products. It seemed like each had their place and never the twain would meet. Something interesting happened though, in that Ulta’s incentives became ever more appealing, while they simultaneously carried brands that seemed less mainstream and more upscale. While so many retailers and retail chains struggle to try to figure out how to win over or keep customer loyalty in-store, Ulta seems to have turned it into a (makeup) art form. And a real shocker in a time when retail is floundering is the added fact that the Nasdaq article also reports “the company remains committed to its store-expansion endeavors and enhancement of its supply chain capabilities apart from strengthening its e-commerce business. Evidently, it is on track to open 100 stores in fiscal 2018.”
Ulta seems to be one of the few major retailers to have figured out how to combine the offline experience of scent, touch or color swipe with the excitement of incentives, freebies and near immediate gratification.