Ulta Beauty extends retail media network with in-store kiosks

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Ulta Beauty SOS kiosk
Ulta Beauty is piloting in-store sampling kiosks with digital ads.

Ulta Beauty is piloting its first-ever digital in-store advertising program.

The beauty giant is partnering with smart vending machine provider SOS to place interactive kiosks in select Ulta Beauty store locations across 10 cities in New York, Massachusetts, Florida, California and Texas.

The SOS machines will provide a seamless sampling experience for Ultamate Rewards loyalty program members and are also intended to incentivize new member sign-ups.

The kiosks will also serve as dynamic, interactive advertising platforms using digital screens for sampling awareness, product launches and brand messaging, linked to the retailer’s UB Media network. UB Media is designed to offer Ulta’s brand partners addressable advertising leveraging its Ultamate Rewards loyalty members.

Existing loyalty members can enter their phone or email at a kiosk to gain access to their Ultamate rewards account to receive a free sample, while non-member customers can sign up and create an account at the machine to receive the samples.

Ultamate Rewards members will be able to claim one free sample every week from a variety of travel-sized products from products across cosmetics, skincare and haircare. The SOS machines will also offer complimentary Rael period care products for shoppers.

“We're proud to be recognized by Ulta Beauty to help transform their in-store sampling program and build upon their retail media network with digital in-store advertising," said Susanna Twarog, co-founder and co-CEO of SOS. "Our partnership not only reinforces our mission to help consumers discover new products when and where they want them, but it provides opportunities for Ulta Beauty to drive growth for brand partners through personalized customer engagement, sampling, media and data collection."

"At Ulta Beauty we are committed to delivering new, engaging ways for guests to experience, try, and fall in love with new products," said Maria Salcedo, senior VP of merchandising at Ulta Beauty. "Through our pilot program with SOS, we have the ability to learn how guests are engaging with vending machines and digital brand touchpoints in store, opening up new opportunities to transform the beauty shopping experience. This collaboration further exemplifies our dedication to pushing the boundaries of innovation in beauty retail with a guest centric approach."

Headquartered in Bolingbrook, Ill., Ulta Beauty operates more than 1,300 retail stores across all 50 U.S. states and also distributes its products through its website.