When you think of the most tech-savvy industries, beauty and cosmetics might not be the first one to come to mind. However, there are some beauty companies that have mastered tech today to become standout leaders in their field.
One beauty company that used tech to its advantage is cosmetics store Ulta.
Ulta sells cosmetics, perfumes, skincare, and more. Since their founding, Ulta has been able to harness the power of digital marketing in order to build their customer base, increase sales, and ultimately become the most successful and popular source for beauty products (beating out powerhouse Sephora).
While Ulta has been around for nearly a quarter of a century, the company rose to the first spot in the industry in 2015, cornering more than 27% of the beauty market.
If you want to understand how Ulta grew from a company surviving to a company thriving, it can help to take a deep dive into its beauty marketing techniques. Here are the strategies that Ulta relied on in order to become beauty industry ballers.
Social Media for Flash Sales
Ulta has been able to boost business online and in brick and mortar stores by relying on social media marketing.
In May 2017, the company partnered with leading makeup company M.A.C. to offer an Instagram flash sale. The promotion used beauty vloggers to promote products that were available online before they were available in the store.
This upped the feeling of exclusivity of the brand and made purchasing feel like a privilege to shoppers.
It encouraged people to visit the online store and buy, which helped boost the brand’s e-commerce business. In all, their e-commerce business has doubled since 2013.
In-App Features to Promote Products
Ulta added a feature to their app that helped promote products that they sell. This feature is called Glamlab, and it allows users to take a selfie and then try M.A.C. products on virtually.
By offering special features in their app that encourage the purchase of specific products, they are able to boost business and encourage engagement with their site and app.
Valuable Content to Draw in Consumers
Ulta offers their own online beauty magazine called Ulta Beauty Mix. This online magazine offers beauty tips and articles for consumers to read.
Like regular content marketing efforts, Ulta uses their magazine to draw people in via search engines and to paint themselves as a knowledgeable, valuable thought leader in the beauty industry.
Ulta takes it a step further by making all of the products in their articles easily purchasable. That way when readers are reading an article and they see a product they like, all they have to do is click that product and they can easily buy without hesitation.
Harnessing Data Analytics for More Effective Marketing
Ulta is able to get its marketing messaging right by using all of the data it collects.
Ulta has a giant loyalty program – with more than 23 million active members. They gather and analyze the data from their loyalty members, then they can make smarter marketing decisions based on what they see their customers are buying.
They can also help out brand partners (who they sell in their store) with their marketing using these analytics.
This means that their partners can also make smarter marketing decisions about which products to promote and how, and this pays off for Ulta, when consumers go to the store to make their beauty purchases.
Direct, Personalized Emails
Adobe helped Ulta shape a personalized marketing campaign that boosted business.
Ulta sent out a marketing email that had 21 ad tiles in it. The content of the ad tiles was personalized based on the preferences and behavior of the recipient, so the marketing material they got in their inbox actually felt relevant to their tastes.
Online Recognition and Deals for Special Events
Ulta uses personal data from consumers to market to them on special occasions.
The beauty company chooses to collect important dates (like birthdays) from loyalty customers. Then, on their special day, the company sends customers a special message (like this “Have a a Fabulous Birthday! message), as well as a special deal marking the day.
For example, during their birthday month, the company might offer someone double the rewards for any purchases they make during the entirety of the month.
Ulta has its own hashtag – #UltaBeauty – and they encourage customers to upload photos of themselves to social media networks like Instagram with Ulta products. The brand then reshares some hashtagged photos.
View this post on Instagram
#Repost @erickaajanae ・・・ I’ve Been Practicing Retouching my own Pictures 💁🏽♀️ Who’s Trying To Help Me Get Better ?! Lets get Into this Face Tutorial Coming Up SKIN @volitionbeauty Snow Mushroom Water Serum BROWS @anastasiabeverlyhills DipBrow “Ebony” FOUNDATION @toofaced Born This Way “Maple “ CONCEALER @beccacosmetics “Golden” EYESHADOW @morphebrushes 15DDay Slayer CONTOUR @bhcosmetics x @itsmyrayeraye Palette SETTING @hourglasscosmetics Setting powder BLUSH @beccacosmetics “Tigerly” MASCARA @covergirl Flourish lashblast | Look lock up spray HIGHLIGHT @doseofcolors @desiperkins @katy “Mirame” LASHES @lillylashes “Caviar” LIPS @mentedcosmetics Foxy lip pencil @urbandecaycosmetics Hi-Fi Shine “fuel” #erickaajanae #abh #bhcosmetics #beccacosmetics #urbandecay #lillylashes #morphe #ultabeauty #editedbyme #iamwhatimakeup #volition #anastasiabrows #covergirlmade.
Customers are encouraged to buy and snap photos of Ulta products, and in return, they may be rewarded with exposure on Ulta’s own social channels.
App Push Notifications
Ulta uses push notifications from its app to market products. If push notifications are enabled, app users get notified about the latest promotions, and new production launches.
This delivers new, relevant info right to their device (without them having to look for it), and it reminds and encourages them to shop at Ulta, or visit the site store or app regularly.
Ulta didn’t start out as the most successful cosmetics company in the business. However, the company realized that they had an opportunity they could seize via the Internet, and by using digital marketing techniques that worked, they were able to build themselves into the most successful, thriving company in the industry.