Events

The Checkout event recap: Ulta Beauty’s Karla Davis on the evolution of the customer experience

The last year-and-half-plus forced many retailers to adapt to how consumers now shop for goods, which includes more touchless and frictionless options.
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Last week, Retail Brew hosted its latest edition of The Checkout, where we discussed all things customer experience with Karla Davis, Ulta Beauty’s VP of marketing.

The big picture: The last year-and-half-plus forced many retailers to adapt to how consumers now shop for goods, which includes more touchless and frictionless options. But even putting the pandemic aside, retailers like Ulta have worked to enhance the in-store experience in an omnichannel fashion.

Watch the full replay here, and keep scrolling for our top takeaways.

Omni over everything

Ulta’s new NYC flagship, which opened earlier this year, exemplifies the pandemic-era adaptations that the beauty chain made to reimagine the customer experience.

  • For one, the store’s shelves include QR codes that direct shoppers to Ulta’s GlamLab try-on app to test shades and products.
  • The flagship also has designated areas for buy online, pickup in store orders, which complement Ulta’s new same-day delivery offering.

“Omni really speaks to the integration of all the channels and not just having all the channels for channels sake, but really making sure that there’s a seamless experience across all of them in a way that really kind of works behind the scenes to give the guests what they need, when they need it, and where they need it,” Davis said.

Let’s get personal: Personalization has also become central to the beauty shopping experience, particularly when it comes to self-care and wellness. Davis said “well over 90%” of Ulta’s “organizational self” goes through its loyalty program, which includes data on 34+ million customers.

By emailing its members, Davis said Ulta gets a clear picture on what the company needs to send to who and when customers need to replenish products.

  • She also mentioned television is a useful avenue Ulta plans to increasingly leverage to market to different customers.

“We want to get to a place where consumers see Ulta Beauty wherever they are and, especially in the digital space, in a way that shows up uniquely for them,” she said. “That’s really what we’re working toward—making sure that we can scale the way to do this, leveraging automation in really creative ways.”—KM

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