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Ulta Beauty Pushes Sales Potential through Personalization

Published August 6, 2023
Published August 6, 2023

According to McKinsey, 76% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that personalizes their shopping experience. Recognizing this, beauty brands are implementing personalization into their businesses through a range of techniques. Many companies use data-driven analytics to create this personalization, from 3D-printed personalized vitamins to marketplaces catered to the individual using machine learning. Ulta Beauty is the latest beauty business to make use of the benefits personalization offers through data, partnering with marketing company Movable Ink to amplify its email campaigns using tailored-to-consumer messaging.

Ulta Beauty’s Ultamate loyalty program has over 40 million members who drive 95% of their sales. The retailer wanted Movable Ink to implement a campaign that reached all of the loyalty program's members, making them feel valued as a customer. Movable Ink did so by utilizing five API data sources: inventory, product recommendation, store information, ratings and reviews, and Ulta's loyalty system. Doing this allowed the marketing firm to synchronize information and target customers based on the time of day they usually shop and their recent purchasing behaviors. The campaign presented customers' accumulated loyalty points and calculated how many loyalty points they could earn if recently browsed products were to be purchased. This customized communication provided insight into the potential rewards the loyalty points collected from the purchase could earn consumers, as well as presenting data, including reviews, product ratings, and stock availability.

"Members of our email database size out to be about a little over four times the size of New York, so we have the fun challenge of making each individual guest feel like we curated their experience specifically for them. We've connected all of the data and have blended the conversation. Because at the end of the day, you can have hundreds of campaigns, hundreds of channels, but you only have one customer you're speaking to," Liz Beer, Manager of Email Development & Innovation at Ulta Beauty, tells BeautyMatter.

To further encourage users to complete their purchases, Movable Ink added an abandoned cart banner to the beginning of each customer email, showing the number of items left behind from their last visit. For those with an empty cart, the abandoned cart banner was replaced with a store locator, added "to ensure that even though the customer may not have an active cart, they still receive valuable information that resonates with them in every email."

Ulta Beauty sent all of its email members a poll powered by Movable Ink as part of its year-in-review campaign for 2022. Within the poll, consumers were asked to answer questions about their favorite trend of the year in exchange for 30 loyalty points. Upon providing their answer, Ulta Beauty's system automatically updated itself to send the consumer emails promoting products that align with the trend, which once again began to push sales.

The amplification of personalization increased email click-through rates by 316.67%, lifted conversion rates by 34.1%, and decreased manual production time by 95%. With these figures, Ulta and Movable Ink are confident in their strategy.

"The email campaign provides unparalleled levels of customized communications for each customer. This tailored experience makes customers feel like the brand curates their experience specifically for them, setting Ulta apart from its competitors—each customer has a personal beauty consultant," Movable Ink tells BeautyMatter. "The retail market remains more competitive than ever, and it's strategies like Ulta's that make a brand truly stand out."

Retailers are now in somewhat of a loyalty schemes race, battling it out to see who can perfect personalization strategies and engage with the most consumers. Ulta Beauty is setting the standard by benefiting both the company and its customers. Through the implemented strategies, Ulta Beauty has been able to harness data that will help to project sales while making the consumer feel more engaged with the brand on a personal level. As 51% of marketers report that personalization can increase ROI by 300%, it makes sense for retailers to continue to add these elements to the consumer shopping experience. It seems the future of beauty will be very up close and personal, as it looks to ensure each consumer feels they are the most important customer.


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