Ulta Beauty Launches Referral Program

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In an effort to continue the success of its popular loyalty program, which has more than 20 million members, Ulta Beauty developed a referral program to serve its omnichannel customers.

Ulta Beauty partnered with referral marketing platform Extole, to develop the program that allows customers to redeem their referral rewards across all channels. Offering rewards redeemable wherever customers prefer to shop greatly enhances their experience.

“We know the best recommendations are personal ones, so our referral program rewards our members with a $10 off coupon for referring their friends to Ulta Beauty,” said Eric Messerschmidt, Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy, Loyalty and CRM for Ulta Beauty.  “When their friends sign up for Ultamate Rewards through Ulta.com, they receive a $10 off coupon to try Ulta Beauty for the first time.”

Messerschmidt said consumers are increasingly looking for a shopping experience that is highlight personalized, so it’s important to offer a healthy and engaging rewards program.

“Not only does it improve the overall experience for our valued guests, which creates more customers, but it gives us access to rich data from each guest transaction,” said Messerschmidt. “We can use that data to target and communicate relevant offers that provide greater return on our marketing investment.”

Messerschmidt said its first loyalty program, The Club at Ulta, launched in 1995, enabling members to earn reward certificates up to four times a year and redeem them from a limited menu of products.

“We gained valuable insights from that program, which led us to the conclusion that we needed to create a new loyalty program that was easier to understand, more flexible and rewarded our guests with better value,” said Messerschmidt.

After testing and refining different versions of the program in various markets, the company introduced Ultamate Rewards across all its stores in 2014. It was an entirely new program with a simplified value proposition.

“Our program is unique because guests can redeem points on any product we offer,” said Messerschmidt. “It also features members-only offers such as free samples, product exclusives, early access, bonus point offers and richer rewards as well as a free birthday gift.”

Ulta Beauty also developed branding focused on “showing the love” to its members. A single unified program allowed it to engage with members, promote the program on Ulta.com and tap more than 28,000 U.S. associates.

Ulta Beauty continues to enhance the program by introducing the Ultamate Rewards store and co-branded credit cards, allowing customers to earn points faster.

“Our mobile app is another way we continue to place the guest at the center of all we do,” said Messerschmidt. “Since customers are increasingly using mobile, we know it’s critical for us to communicate with her where she is already interacting. Our mobile app gives her access to her Ultamate Rewards card, points, previous transactions and progress towards platinum status.”

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