The cosmetics giant rolled out a virtual try-on feature on its Android and iOS apps called Glam Lab which allows mobile shoppers to see how products look before they buy them.

Online sales continue to skyrocket for Ulta Beauty, and now the beauty goods chain retailer is making it easier for mobile shoppers to see how makeup will look on them before they complete a purchase.

Ulta, No. 153 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, reported online sales during the fiscal third quarter of $73.6 million, up 59.3% from $46.2 million last year, growth CEO Mary Dillon attributes to a significant uptick in transactions. Web sales accounted for 6.5% of total sales in the quarter, up from 5.0% a year ago. For the first nine months of 2016, Ulta reported online sales of $190.5 million, up 50.8% from $126.3 million last year.

With online sales growing, Ulta is making more of a play to attract shoppers on mobile devices.

“We launched the try on feature called Glam Lab last month to allow guests to virtually test products and shades within our iPhone and Android app by uploading a selfie or choosing a model with a similar complexion,” Dillon told analysts on the call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “It’s a great thing for millennials who wanted to have a more interactive experience. As our offerings and our execution in mobile improve, we just get stronger there, and it’s certainly going to be the epicenter how we think about sort of a mobile first mentality as we go forward.”

“Where all the growth is and the attention is in mobile,” added chief merchandising officer Dave Kimbell. “Over two-thirds of our traffic is kind of coming through mobile right now and (it’s) a growing part of our sales.”


Competitor Sephora USA Inc. (No. 129) also offers a virtual try-on technology called Virtual Artist, which allows shoppers to try on lipstick shades and false eyelashes virtually using an uploaded picture of themselves.

For the third quarter ended October 29, Ulta reported:

  • Net sales of $1.131 billion, up 24.2% from $910.7 million last year.
  • Net income of $87.6 million, up 23.2% from $71.1 million last year.
  • Retail comparable sales growth including e-commerce of 14.3%.

For the first nine months of 2016, Ulta reported:

  • Net sales of $3.274 billion, up 23.3% from $2.656 billion last year.
  • Net income of $269.5 million, up 27.0% from $212.2 million last year.