How Ulta Beauty’s Guest-Centered Approach Transforms the Industry

Joseph Ansanelli

Read Time

4 minute read

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Ulta Beauty has redefined beauty shopping for nearly three decades with the promise, “all things beauty, all in one place.”

On this episode of Radically Personal, I speak with my friend Adam Seede, Director of Guest Services at Ulta Beauty. Adam reveals the visionary grit of this retail powerhouse. Hear how Ulta Beauty weathers retail closures during the pandemic, how they turn guest services into a revenue center, and how they continue to remain customer-focused during an accelerated shift to digital.

Like many brands, Ulta Beauty closed its retail doors during the pandemic, which caused higher-than-normal call volumes. Rather than hire external staff to support the increase, Adam brought in his out-of-work retail team to augment his customer service team.

“I had the opportunity to bring on 200 helpers from our field…and I found a way to tap their skill set. They were obviously great with our guests. They’re associates of Ulta Beauty, and I was able to bring them in on Gladly to answer emails, and it worked out amazingly.”

Adam Seede

Director of Guest Services, Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty preserved high service levels and saw its field and guest services teams work together to serve customers—definitely a win.

Adam also details the transformation of guest services into a revenue driver. Ulta Beauty now supports pre-sales prospects, rather than just focusing on post-sales customer inquiries. For example, Ulta Beauty sends a proactive message to those who linger on the checkout page or struggle with a promotional code on their website. The results? Ulta Beauty doubled the online conversion rate for customers trying to check out.

“We have to move from being transactional to being purposeful—building a relationship and not just thinking about guest services as a post-transaction team that helps answer tracking questions.”

Adam Seede

Director of Guest Services, Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty has an amazing 34-million ultimate rewards members who make up 95% of its sales. Building relationships, not transactional service, lets Ulta Beauty suggest new products and new brands for customers. During COVID lockdowns, Ulta Beauty’s habit of personal service cemented relationships and fostered trust with those who felt isolated.

“Human connection is absolutely necessary. It’s more important than ever during a time when much interaction was taken away.”

Adam Seede

Director of Guest Services, Ulta Beauty

Beauty lovers worldwide adore Ulta Beauty’s hospitality, innovation, and service. You’re going to love hearing how Ulta Beauty’s guest services department applies thoughtful, meticulous attention to solve the monumental challenges of today’s competitive marketplace.

Listen to this episode on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or here.


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