But, when Ulta – the largest beauty retailer that provides one-stop shopping for products and salon services – opened up in my neighborhood, I just had to check it out.
Ulta’s website touts it as a unique combination of beauty superstore and specialty store, but I saw it as part low-budget Sephora, part beauty supply, part salon and part drug store.
Yet, I wasn’t that impressed.
I had been seeing coupons in the paper and getting them via mass mailings but, of course, the weekend that I needed to stock back up on my beauty bounty, I couldn’t scrounge one anywhere – even online. (Which did have some nifty online specials, but I was all about checking out the store -- live and in person.
I did find a few of my products in the discount section, which was very cool; however, I needed a few things that were not on sale and it was a bit painful. At BSW, they always offer a 20% coupon off your entire purchase.
On a positive note, even though it was a bit pricey, I did find everything that I was looking for since they carry a few make-up lines that I adore such as Benefits, Too Faced, and Urban Decay.
They really weren’t joking about the one-stop-shop.
Ulta carries the following product channels: Makeup, Skincare, Fragrance, Bath and Body, Hair care, Tools, Travel Products, By Ulta which is their own line of products, and as I mentioned earlier, a salon in the store.
I especially thought the By Ulta palettes seemed like a good buy and intrigued me – even though I didn’t pick one up this time.
According to its website, Ulta started back in 1990 as a discount beauty retailer at a time when prestige, mass and salon products were sold through distinct channels – department stores for prestige products, drug stores and mass merchandisers for mass products, and salons and authorized retail outlets for professional hair care products.
After extensive research, Ulta recognized an opportunity to better satisfy how a woman wanted to shop for beauty products.
I have never seen another Ulta store, but this one is conveniently located at a high-traffic, off-mall setting.
Ulta claims that their strategy provides them with the competitive advantages that have contributed to their strong financial performance.
I believe that is true because, I was there on a Sunday afternoon, and the store was absolutely crowded. This included a long wait for the salon.
Overall, my trip to Ulta was a positive experience. I can see myself popping back in now and again. But I prefer to stay loyal to my Mom and Pop BSW in which I can always get 20% off my entire purchase, and Sephora or higher-end department stores so I can find the make-up that I need and love.
Ultimately, Ulta was a bit of a disappointment to me.