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Online Cosmetics Company Julep Puts On Fresh Brick-And-Mortar Face

By Janet I. Tu
The Seattle Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article takes a look at Seattle Beauty company Julep’s “omnichannel” approach to sales. Next month, several of its best selling online products will be carried at 250 Ulta Beauty stories. This added brick and mortar experience is part of an “ominchannel shopping experience” which is especially important to millenial consumers.

The Seattle Times

Since its launch some nine years ago, Seattle beauty company Julep has built a large and loyal following, in large part through its online and social-media efforts.

Now, the purveyor of makeup and skin-care products is putting into place a big piece of its brick-and-mortar strategy.

Starting in August, some of Julep’s best-selling products will be carried at 250 Ulta Beauty stores. By the end of the year, that number will expand to 300 of the national beauty-retailer chain’s 886 stores, with more coming in 2017.

In doing so, Julep is becoming that big buzzword in retail these days: omnichannel (or multichannel) — serving customers across various channels, whether online via desktop or mobile device, in brick-and-mortar stores or by phone.

Nordstrom has been praised as a brick-and-mortar retailer that’s successfully going omnichannel, with an e-commerce business that now represents 20 percent of the company’s sales, up from 8 percent five years ago. But the high-end retailer’s recent financial challenges also illustrate how difficult such a move can be.

Approaching omnichannel from the opposite direction is Amazon.com, which is opening several physical bookstores and trying to figure out the right format and store size.

An omnichannel approach is especially important in reaching millennials, who “embrace an omnichannel shopping experience and don’t hesitate to cross over from in-store browsing to online buying, and vice versa,” market-research firm Mintel said in a recent analysis of beauty consumers.

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