Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Placer Spotlight: Ulta Beauty’s Successful Omnichannel Brick and Mortar Strategy

by 
Shira Petrack
 on 
May 23, 2022
Placer Spotlight: Ulta Beauty’s Successful Omnichannel Brick and Mortar Strategy

In this Placer Spotlight, we dive into the visit data for Ulta Beauty to understand how the variety of its brick and mortar offerings is impacting retail foot traffic to the brand. 

Ulta Beauty’s Winning Streak Continues 

Ulta is one of the non-essential retail brands that recovered the fastest from the COVID lockdowns and store closures, with retail foot traffic reaching 2019 levels in early 2021. As the country continued to open up and people began socializing again, Ulta’s visit surge continued, with foot traffic throughout most  of 2021 higher than it was pre-pandemic. 

And despite the Omicron wave in January and February 2022 and the more recent impact of inflation and rising gas prices, Ulta’s foot traffic is still going strong. In April 2022, overall foot traffic for the brand and visits per venue were up 21.0% and 19.0%, respectively, relative to 2021, following a first quarter of consistent year-over-year (YoY) growth. 

Ulta’s success despite the wider retail challenges may be attributed to the brand’s diverse product selection, which includes high-end beauty brands alongside more affordable options. Ulta also regularly offers coupons, appealing more to discount shoppers. This focus on providing value and higher-cost products under one roof could be helping the brand attract customers looking for a prestige-inspired shopping experience on a tighter budget.  

Ulta’s Long-Term Gains 

Ulta’s strength in 2022 becomes even more apparent when comparing its current foot traffic to pre-pandemic 2019. Overall year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) visits to the brand increased by double-digits for the first four months of the year, in part due to the brand’s rapid brick and mortar expansion. But visits per venue also increased in January through April 2022, culminating with a 22.2% Yo3Y increase in April visits per Ulta venue – which means that the brand’s new stores are already attracting a healthy customer base. 

The increase in visits to stand-alone Ulta stores is all the more impressive given the success of its Ulta at Target collaboration. There are now over 100 Ulta at Target shop-in-shops with plans to open 250 Ulta at Target locations in 2022 – but the availability of Ulta at Target does not seem to be negatively impacting customer demand for trips to stand-alone Ulta stores.  

Ulta’s Visitor Loyalty Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels 

Although, as mentioned above, foot traffic to Ulta has been up for a while, visitor loyalty did take a hit over COVID. The share of returning quarterly visitors dropped to 17.9% and 18.9% in Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, respectively, compared to a 20.4% share of returning visitors in pre-pandemic Q1 2019. But now, not only is overall and visit-per-venue foot traffic up at Ulta, the share of returning quarterly visitors has also increased to 20.8%, a slightly higher percentage than in Q1 2019. 

The fact that Ulta’s stand-alone shops are successfully attracting both new and returning customers speaks to the brand’s successful omnichannel brick and mortar strategy. 

While we often talk about omnichannel as the integration of offline and online channels, omnichannel also means making use of a variety of platforms within the digital and brick and mortar space. 

Online, this can mean implementing a multichannel sales strategy and selling a product or promoting a brand across various websites and social media outlets. Offline, a full omnichannel strategy can look like operating owned stores alongside shop-in-shops and pop-up stores to increase brand awareness and customer access to the products. 

The strong visitation trends to Ulta’s owned stores despite the rise of alternative offline channels demonstrates that offering several different brick and mortar sales channels does not necessarily mean that these channels will cannibalize each other. In the same way that offline and online channels can be strategically integrated to boost traffic across both mediums, operating diverse offline channels can also help a company build its brand and reach a wider array of customers. 

As retailers continue experimenting with new brick and mortar formats, companies worried that multiplying offline channels will lead to self-competition can learn from Ulta that a comprehensive approach to omnichannel is a rising tide that can lift all boats. 

For more data-driven retail insights, visit placer.ai

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: August 2023 Recap
Placer.ai Mall Index: August 2023 Recap
Placer.ai White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream