Sizing Up Retail with Sampling

We know that breaking down a guest’s reluctance to try something new can be a challenge. At Ulta Beauty, we have found one of the best ways to overcome this challenge is to offer customized sampling programs that suit the needs and wants of our guests.

We have developed and invested in an extensive sampling program that allows our guests to explore, discover and delight in the newest beauty finds. We put the guest at the center of all we do and look for new ways to guide her way and inspire her play by offering ‘All Things Beauty, All In One Place,’ inclusive of the latest launches and treatments. This is key because our guests appreciate our ability to share and often curate an assortment of products offered in a way only we can deliver.

Ulta has several ways we entice clients with sampling strategies:

  1. Using sampling as a way to add value to the purchase can be a great way to introduce a new product or brand, so we often offer personalized gifts with purchases for guests based on the previous purchase of a particular brand.
  2. Loading point-of-sale sampling so a guest may receive a surprise customized sample at checkout, targeted towards her purchasing habits.
  3. Celebrating our guests during their birthday month by offering deluxe or full-sized samples as birthday gifts for loyalty members.
  4. Offering ‘Beauty Bags’ for online purchasers, which consist of a variety of deluxe samples available with a qualifying purchase.
  5. Order sampling online that allows guests to select Ulta Beauty-curated product packet’s from three categories as they checkout.
  6. Offering ‘Beauty Breaks’ once a week for 4-6 hours midday, notifying the guest by email.
  7. Adding sampling opportunities to our merchandise assortment – including our recent Sampler/Trial Kits program. These are exclusive sample assortment boxes that allow the guest to sample multiple products at an introductory price within fragrance, prestige skincare, professional and mass haircare categories.
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Sandy Ovington

Sandy Ovington

A beauty industry executive with more than 25 years of merchandising experience, Sandy Ovington is currently the vice president of merchandising for Ulta Beauty. She joined the company in 2010 and has been promoted to roles of increasing responsibility since that time. She has been in her current role leading the merchandising efforts for all of professional hair and nail as well as personal care appliances and accessories since 2015. Previously, she served as senior director/dmm for professional hair care and personal care appliances. Prior to joining Ulta Beauty, she was divisional vice-president of footwear at Kmart and divisional merchandising manager of footwear at Sears. She also held merchandising roles with Dick’s Sporting Goods, Mercantile Stores, Federated and Lazarus. Sandy holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Miami University. She and her husband, John, have two children Kayla and Jack.

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