Why Ulta Beauty Is Changing Up In-Store Experience

Paul Loux, the vice president of store design and experience at Ulta Beauty, says the new design was inspired by customer feedback.
retail leader trend talk
  • Ulta Beauty is changing things up in its stores. 
  • The new layout focuses on greater storytelling from Ulta and no longer organizes items by price point.
  • Paul Loux, vice president of store design and experience for Ulta Beauty, said the new design came largely from feedback from its customers.

Ulta Beauty is changing things up in its stores by toying with its longtime store layout in an effort to give consumers more of what they want. 

The shifting in-store format was announced by Ulta Beauty CEO David Kimbell earlier this year in the retailer’s second-quarter earnings call. Kimbell said that the new store layout would “elevate key growth categories, unify the presentation of skincare and makeup, and enhance the store – the services experience,” according to a transcript of the call

Paul Loux, Ulta Beauty’s vice president of store design and experience, told Retail Leader’s “Trend Talk” about the new layout, and how it would shake things up for the retailer’s shoppers. The store’s longtime layout organized products by price point, but the new layout integrates products in the same category regardless of cost and focuses more on dynamic storytelling from the retailer.

“One of the biggest things we did is actually reorganize the store predominantly based on category, and that very resoundingly is what our guests were telling us was the most engaging and intuitive way to shop the store,” Loux said. “What we’ve done is we’ve brought the entire world of makeup together spanning price points. Same with skincare, and we actually brought that forward in the experience, which relates to the importance of the interrelationship between the two and the importance of skincare to our guests and their beauty regime.”

Loux said the retailer’s fragrance and hair care product offerings had been reorganized in a similar way (Ulta Beauty operates in-store salons, which are a hallmark of the brand). Loux said the new setup would allow consumers to more easily compare products. 

Looking ahead toward 2023, Loux said Ulta Beauty would continue to pay attention to the wellness side of beauty retail, which he said is particularly important to Gen Z shoppers.

“We’re very excited, as are our guests, about the intersection of beauty and wellness,” Loux told Retail Leader. “That’s really been an area that our guests are passionate about and the assortment has been growing and curating in support of all of that. It's sort of changing the boundaries and the definition of what’s sort of included in that, and wellness is a very central focus.” 

Hear more about what Ulta Beauty is working on by listening to Retail Leader’s full interview with Loux. Subscribe to Trend Talk wherever you listen to podcasts.