Ulta is taking a personal approach to online shopping.
The beauty purveyor of mass, prestige and salon products has tapped Omniture Inc., a business unit of Adobe Systems Inc., to personalize the customer experience with more relevant content on its Web site. Ulta.com had previously worked with the Omniture Business Unit to analyze the effectiveness of promotional offers, and together the two companies created a series of tests to determine the impact of personalized content. It also helps to organize the 12,000 items sold on ulta.com, which compares to the 21,000 products stocked in Ulta’s 350 brick-and-mortar stores.
For instance, a shopper who browses the makeup assortment on ulta.com could be presented with a promotional offer related to the category during her next visit. The technology also allows Ulta to test four to five different layouts for the homepage, the site’s most heavily trafficked area.
Consumers seem to like the extra attention: Ulta.com saw its average revenue per visit gain 12 percent after delivering promotions based on category and brand affinity. In August, ulta.com ranked fifth on the list of top 10 online beauty retailers, according to comScore Inc., with 774,000 unique visitors that month. Avon.com ranked number one, followed by sephora.com, bathandbodyworks.com and marykay.com. Sephora, in particular, continues to sharpen its virtual edge in the digital realm. Last week, it expanded its mobile strategy to include Sephora to Go, an iPhone app that is usable on iPod Touch and iPad devices, as well.
Speaking about Ulta’s online initiatives, Kevin Metz, the retailer’s director of e-commerce, said, “It allows us to test things in advance and get insight on whether it will work before the [information technology] team builds them. It’s proof of concept testing.” He added, “It lets me test things to see if a customer will respond.”
Citing an example, Metz said he can test a program that offers free shipping on a customer’s next purchase — an online banner may read, “Did you forget something? Here’s free shipping on your next purchase” — against the purchases of customer who did not receive the offer. The outcome of the test will determine if the promotion is worth the investment or if any tweaks need to be made to improve performance. Typically, the program would take three to four weeks for Ulta’s in-house IT team to build, and testing would require additional time.
Some of the findings from the technology’s analytics have been surprising. “We made the decision to do product recommendations based on what [items] customers were browsing,” said Metz. When he tested product recommendations against a control group, he learned the program did not meaningfully lift sales as he had expected. “But, then we began to ask, ‘Maybe the placement isn’t right? Or maybe the verbiage is wrong? Moving forward, maybe there are some things we can do better.’”
This fall, ulta.com plans to test customized video segments on the product detail page, specifically for items that promise longevity in the market or those with high price tags. “So, 50 percent of our visitors will see the product-detail page as it is now, and the other half will see a video icon,” said Metz. “We can measure the return and compare it against the cost.”
The retailer also plans to begin profiling its shoppers by their motivation for visiting the site. The bulk of visitors fall into three categories: those who browse online before buying in the store, those looking for a discount and consumers seeking information. “Based on what they do, we can assign them a category,” said Metz. “For example, if they go straight to the clearance tab, they are discount shoppers, and we can present them with certain [value] promotions happening in the store.”
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)