Ulta just outdid itself, announcing an over 16% net increase in sales as compared to its performance last year. Here are a few things the brand should do to keep the momentum going and eliminate any risk of falling behind the shadow of its rivals.
In the past, Ulta strived to stand out, highlighting itself in a sea of shiny competitors. In fact, the brand brought in the highest visibility in shopping ads for unbranded beauty terms, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail. However, it also took a nine-point nosedive last year, falling short in a few key areas.
For example, Ulta’s mobile site lacks live chat, something Sephora in particular succeeds at. While Sephora’s live chat capabilities don’t necessarily cater to sales, they do allow shoppers to chat with each other in real time, a feature that then prompts users to both ask and answer targeted questions which link directly to product pages plus a Community hub.
Ulta, on the other hand, also lacks fluid category pages and on-site search results showing product images. The success of these features has been appreciable on Sephora, as more than 5% of site traffic to the brand went to content and community pages, compared to less than 1% on Ulta’s site.
What Ulta lacks in showmanship and visuals, it seems to be making up in sales. However, by dedicating a concerted effort towards product imagery and advanced communication, it could keep from slipping further into the depths of an already crowded market.