The increasingly popular retail chain Ulta Beauty has grown both revenue and headcount nearly four-times in just the past decade, and the retailer continues to bolster its category strength by integrating new and innovative shopper-facing tools into the customer experience journey. Ulta Beauty has stores in 48 states, a majority located in the East Coast and in California, where the brand carries both high-and-low-end cosmetics, fragrances, bath and beauty products, tools and accessories, as well as hair and nail care offerings.
With such a deep assortment of products, Ulta Beauty ultimately decided that in order to provide the best possible customer service, product engagement, and shopping experience to its loyal and repeat shoppers, it needed to disrupt the shopping journey in order to better differentiate both itself and its innovative product offerings. To do so, the brand partnered with Haut.AI, a leading company specializing in the research and development of next-generation artificial intelligence tools for the beauty industry, focused particularly on skincare and longevity applications. The two category leaders will work together under the partnership in order to enhance shopper skin analysis technology with enriched data, skin algorithms, and other solutions like digital simulations and an improved library of recommendations.
Intelligent curation is a somewhat recent innovation that top retailers and brands are super-charging their customer personalization and Intelligent Clienteling Strategies with. Shoppers who have one foot in digital commerce and the other in physical retail often expect the best of both worlds. Namely, convenience, personalization, and a certain retailer immediacy in responding to their needs. In response, brands are beginning to offer AI-enabled decision support that leverages past data to help narrow down product choices or suggest the best options when matched against shopper preferences and behaviors.
The Ulta Beauty and Haut.AI teams will create an AI engine that can identify and address customer skin needs early on, preventing deterioration, while simultaneously tailoring recommendations to individual preference across such skincare product features like texture, smell, and even brand values including sustainable and organic offerings. Ulta Beauty will enrich Haut.AI’s recommendation engine by feeding into it the brand’s own consumer insights and product preferences to create a next-generation omnichannel shopping experience.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, Intelligent Clienteling Strategies.