For Ulta Beauty, being able to place shop-in-shops within target locations means reaching a whole new audience while filling in gaps in existing store space, said Shelley Haus, CMO of the beauty provider.
The marketing director called Adweek this week to explain the reasons for Ulta Beauty partnering announced on November 10th. The original plan envisages the installation of around 100 stores at the store's locations in 2021.
"We know from analysis that this (partnership) will add to our footprint, which is fantastic," said Haus. "This gives us the opportunity to have a presence in urban areas where we currently have no business," adds that the same thesis applies to some rural areas as well.
Haus said the effort does not reflect a change in its core business strategy. Instead, she characterized it as a seamless extension of Ulta's omnichannel strategy, which is about providing more touchpoints for more guests.
In fact, Ulta Beauty still plans to have between 1,500 and 1,700 of its own locations in the United States, separate from the shop-in-shops at Target, she said. She declined to say when the chain is expecting this number of deals. At the beginning of August this year, the retailer operated 1,264 locations nationwide.
Before the two parties entered into partnership, they were encouraged to note that nine out of ten Target and Ulta Beauty guests loved the alliance. Target's experience with such collaborations in the past was also a selling point for Ulta, according to the company. She specifically cited the department store's ongoing joint efforts with Disney, Levi, and now FAO Schwarz as examples.
"We're seeing two big retailers coming together," she added of the Target program. "We are two innovative companies that always look around the corner and look to the next steps."
Haus described the shop-in-shop as an "elevated presentation". The sales outlets are manned by a Target team member trained by the beauty supplier. It depends on bringing a selection of marquee and digitally local brands to life. She said it was Ulta Beauty's relationship with brand partners (some of which are exclusive) and the variety of its products that sets it apart from competitors.
"Beauty is experience and we see it as the physical, digital and emotional encounter," she said. “This brings a truly authentic Ulta Beauty experience to a Target store. It's a really immersive, standalone experience. "
Additionally, both brands share a similar approach to beauty. What Ulta brings to Target, however, is a higher quality product mix. The brand is known for combining mass market goods with prestige goods – and has already proven that the combination works. She is confident that the “massive” formula, as she calls the product fusion, will also be successful at Target.
"Both Ulta Beauty and Target believe in the democratization of beauty," said Haus. "Beauty lovers curate high and low and that is reflected in our range."
House went on to reiterate many of the deal's other touted benefits. There's the fact that many of Ulta Beauty's loyalty members already shop at Target. In addition, millions of Target customers are introduced to the beauty retailer. Haus said the two companies are on one side when it comes to emphasizing diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as maintaining a guest and employee-centric culture that is rooted in communities.
For the marketing of the new partnership, Haus appreciates the fact that there are two first-class brand and marketing teams bringing Ulta Beauty at Target to life.