Convenience and a seamless transition between mobile and in-person retail transactions play a large part in consumer personalization. Between the Ultamate Rewards program, personalized product recommendations and push notifications, and augmented reality features, the Ulta app has a lot to offer.

Last summer, Marigold Engage by Sailthru evaluated 250 retailers for our annual Retail Personalization Index. Ulta was a top performer, as well as one of just three brands to earn a perfect score in the mobile category. Here’s a closer look at why:

GLAMLab in the Ulta App

The Ulta app has a virtual live try-on experience, allowing customers to upload a selfie or choose one of the 15 pre-chosen models with a range of skin tones and face shapes to try on makeup prior to purchase. The experience, which highlights the importance of personalization for beauty retailers, allows the user to virtually apply makeup to lips, foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, eyebrows, and cheeks—all without having to step foot in the store. Items can also be purchased through the app and picked up in-store within hours.

Each category has a horizontal bar on the bottom where the user can scroll through each product by color. Once the user selects a shade, it names the product currently highlighted, and then gives the option to pull up all of the details without having to divert from try-on mode. There is also a ‘Now Wearing’ button on the top bar that allows the user to view all of the products currently applied to their own photo or the model, with the option to add some (or all) products to their bag. The app allows users to favorite products to save for later purchases.

Beauty Quizzes, Guides, & Trends

With quizzes, buying guides, and beauty trends, the Ulta app has a robust resource section. Quiz topics cover foundation, skincare and haircare to narrow the focus and suggest products that most fit the user’s needs. This helps Ulta with data collection, enhancing the retailer’s ability to deploy personalized communications later.

At the same time, the guides provide information to simplify the shopping experience. Users can find the perfect foundation shade, a new fragrance, or a hair styling tool. There’s also a hair styling tool guide, which provides insight on the “basics” and what to look for in a product (material, ions, voltage), then gives additional tips for each styling tool. Other resources include YouTube tutorials, which are accompanied by links to shop the look..

Ultamate Rewards and Preferences

When a user first signs up for the app, it allows for ultamate customization—the user can set preferences for skin type, hair, and makeup (tone), in addition to concerns and product ingredients the customer would like to avoid. This allows the app to send notifications and suggestions based on preferences that are important to each customer. For a seamless shopping experience, preferences are applied to either web or mobile when the user is logged in.

More than 90% of Ulta’s sales can be attributed to members of the Ultamate Rewards program, which is woven throughout the app experience. The program allows customers to earn points on all beauty products and services, both in-store and online. A point is earned for every dollar spent, with the potential to earn bonus points for products on promotion. For easy accessibility, the reward status is anchored on the app’s homepage.

Ultamate Rewards has three tiers each with varying degrees of minimum spend requirements. The higher the tier, the greater the benefits, leading to a higher incentive for the customer to spend more per year. During your birthday month, customers can earn double points on all purchases throughout the month. Offers within the app change daily, and often include free items (usually requiring a purchase).

On par with rewards, there is a ‘Stores’ button that lets the user search for the closest location, providing store details along with an entire menu of services that can be booked at any given store. Here, the user can choose the desired service, the Ulta pro, date, and time.

For more examples of retailers mastering their mobile app personalization, check out our breakdowns of Nike and Sephora.