Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I've been a VIB for a few years now, and my local Sephora is within walking distance of that "other" brand. I've heard rave reviews about their rewards program, most especially about their generous giving of free product with each new level reached and not samplers.

 

Today, I headed to my Sephora store for the VIB event, got my bag loaded up, and then...went to Ulta. I was actually there to get a tube of NYX lip gloss since I've heard so much about it, but I went through the whole store out of pure curiosity.

 

The verdict? While Ulta does carry drugstore brands and their rewards are pretty lofty in comparison...Sephora has my heart. Ulta felt too "superstore-ish". No offense, but a little...below...the standard and prestige of Sephora.

So, Sephora, heed our call! Amp up our VIB rewards. Tidy up the shelves and demos in your stores (our store is a tad lacking in that dept.). And, keep up the great work! = )

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

[ Edited ]
(0) Hearts

 

Ulta's pros:

  • being able to spend all your points like cash
  • the large selection of drugstore brands, box haircolor (though they do NOT have my L'oreal Excellence shade--I have to go to Target or CVS for that), hair products and spa tools
  • random good freebie offers, like when items that would normally cost $10 alone become free when you add something to the cart

 

Cons:

  • no Flash shipping type option/a $50 purchase limit that will occasionally drop to $35 and is impossible to predict
  • the absence of a lot of higher-end and even mid-range brands
  • coupons that can NEVER be used on prestige items
  • annual sales that don't apply to you unless you're Platinum
  • the fact that if I'm looking for a specific item, my local store is guaranteed to be out of it. I went there several times looking for a specific shade of one of the Cover Girl Star Wars lipsticks and they couldn't keep anything stocked. Their last Tarte mascara $10 deal--gone in no time flat, leaving the display looking trashed.
  • stores looking trashed in general

Ultimately I'll keep shopping at both (Ulta has Soap & Glory, Lipstick Queen, Le Couvent des Minimes, and Earth Therapeutics, all of which I use), but Sephora managed to get me to spend enough to go Rouge simply through that dastardly Flash shipping. Lol.

 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

(0) Hearts

Definitely feeling the need to weigh-in after a recent incident. A while back, Ulta had Anastasia single shadows for $10 each when you bought 4, plus there was a GWP! I ordered 4 online exclusives, excited, yay. Got them in, and the one I was most excited for was broken. Oh well, the store isn't far, and it took so long to arrive that I'd actually ended up with a very similar shade, so I figured I'd just exchange it.

 

The person at the store tried to charge me the extra $2 on the exchange because they were no longer on sale! I had my receipt and I was exchanging for the SAME item, just in a different shade. But they have the same regular price. I went back and forth with her a bit and then decided I don't need a shadow that badly to get screwed over, so I told her to forget it and just return it. 

 

I was so mad about the principle that I emailed CS to tell them about the experience and they essentially told me I should have sent it back to them for a replacement. No apology. No offer to make things right after the fact. No promise to educate their in-store staff to tell the customer they're better off contacting CS first and sending back. Ugh. I'm so done. I realize I could have (and maybe should have) contacted CS first, but I bought them because I wanted them and shipping took so long that I didn't want to have to wait even longer. 

 

/rant

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

[ Edited ]
(0) Hearts

When something arrives damaged from an Ulta online order, I call or email Ulta. They send a replacement and tell me to toss the damaged item. The only time I took something in store is the one time the replacement also arrived damaged (those darn Becca minis are not packed well). When I called again, both the agent and I agreed shipping it a third time could result in the same mess. They tried to charge me extra at the store, too. They are on a different system. I refused, so the cashier adjusted the $2.65 difference. It did deduct $2.65 from my annual spend and removed 3 points from my account. Unless I absolutely have to, I will never exchange online orders in-store.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

(0) Hearts

I should add that I recently exchanged a used lipstick for a different one without a problem. 

 

Also, I want to like Ulta because it'd be a great place to buy any drugstore items I use since there are rewards involved, but it's honestly not worth the hassle when I have drugstores right around the corner and they're nicer stores than the Ulta closest to me (mine is pretty run-down and is in a run-down mall). 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I think they serve their purpose just fine.

 

Ulta- Hair, nails, tools mecca. Awesome CS, even more awesome Coupons/Freebies/Sales, don't have to go to the mall. Platinum at $450 and can cash out on anything you want. 3x and 5x makes getting to $125 a breeze.

 

Sephora- A cool place to test all the make-up you want and if you wish try before you buy. I like the $25 buy-in promos. 2 Day shipping. Shopping the website is fun. Friendly CS.  If they had a 'cash' rewards program I would spend so much more money here. Of course, they host BT!

 

I still prefer to shop at NM/Saks because while Sephora offers a lot, those stores just offer so much more of the things I enjoy. Plus, the staff is more mature and professional than Sephora. More events and samples, too.

 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Okay I just got off of Ulta.com and a few days ago went to their store so I am serious and ready to tell all about what I think about Ulta! Today I just got off on Ulta.com because of their crazy 20% off coupon. Which I do wish that Sephora would do more of  but the point is that I was all happy getting the high end makeup that I have never had the guts to get till today. Like a $40 highlight palette. So I was all happy $140 in the basket then I put in the coupon and NOTHING! No price changes I am a little crazy about makeup but all of their high end makeup does not go on sale! Man I got really angry. Oh also I went in to Ulta the other day for that Tarte Tartest Blush Palette that is sold out every where. ( even on tarte.com) So the lady next to went in and I asked where it was. The they said they did not have it in stores and only on online. Then she pulled up Ulta.com to show her that it was still there online saying that in was in stores.  Then the Ulta lady's voice got deeper and louder, and it was like she was yelling at that for women! In the end I am now in love with Sephora. So Boo Ulta! 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

(0) Hearts

NEVER order anything from Ulta.com! You will regret it! They have awful customer service, but the worst problem was that literally half of my order was either broken/malfunctioning or was poor quality.

 

One of the two eyeliners that I ordered, which both were over $20 a piece, were so dried out that it kept crumbling when I attempted to apply it. The other eyeliner broke in half when I attempted to gently take the cap off. The pallet of eyeshadow (Ulta brand) that I received in the same order didn't apply like how it looked on the pallet. I had to apply it 3 or more times before it even started to look like how it did on the pallet. 

 

Then Ulta.com gave me an option to select a GROUP of free samples (thier words, not mine), when I was checking out. Not only did my "group" of samples not arrive with my order, but I had to contact customer service THREE TIMES before they actually sent me the free samples. To top it off, the free samples took a MONTH to get to me and the "group" of samples were 2 tiny packets of face cleanser, which didn't even have enough product in them to use ONCE. 

 

Buyer Beware! Ulta.com is a horrible source for quality makeup and they lie to and treat their customers like **bleep**! DON'T BOTHER WITH ULTA.COM! 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

(0) Hearts

Sephora has much better brands, a lot more high end makeup, better website (+ BT which is one of my favorite things about Sephora),and is visually more appealing.

 

Ulta has much better sales with 20% off nearly everything multiple times per year and a much better rewards program.

 

Overall I say Sephora wins. But, if there's a product that I can get at both places I am more likely to purchase it at Ulta.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

(0) Hearts

I prefer Sephora's website over Ulta's. I can view all products from a specific brand better and when something is OOS, its marked clearly OOS. Also, Ulta has a couple of different ways to get to their GWP page, sometimes it shows all of them on one and not the other. I'm not a fan of the layout of the favorites on Ulta's either.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

[ Edited ]
(0) Hearts

I mostly shop at Sephora, but Ulta has the better rewards system by miles. However Sephora's customer service (at least in store) is far superior that that of Ulta's. Anytime I go into an Ulta and need help I almost always have to hunt someone down. There aren't enough workers on the floor, which is sad because Ulta is a lot bigger than a Sephora store. Whenever I go into Sephora someone always greets me, multiple people in fact. Heck most of the time there is someone standing in the doorway.

 

I know sometimes the SA's at Sephora can even be kind of annoying at times to some people, because of how much they want to help. Also I agree Sephora's store just look way better than Ulta's.

 

I like that Sephora always offers deluxe sample sizes with a minimum purchase online, and you can always pick out your own foil samples. With Ulta you either pick a fragrance or skincare sampler, so you don't have much control, so I'm not really a big fan of that. So when it comes down to it Sephora has my heart as well. I do think the rewards system is seriously lacking compared to Ulta.

 

If Sephora revamped theirs like Ulta's they'd be winning the game I think in every aspect. Of course I'd still shop at Ulta for their exclusives or for drugstore stuff, but I think if they changed their rewards system they'd take a lot of their business back from Ulta. I know there are a lot of people who shop at Ulta now just because of their rewards system, even though they prefer Sephora. So yes, Sephora heed or call and revamp your rewards system and just make things better for the VIBs and especially the Rouge. I see so many disappointed Rouge members here and I can understand why they would be. 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

This is surprising to me. I have the exact opposite experience. No matter what Sephora I go to, I get brushed off. The SAs act like I'm annoying them. I've never been pestered to be helped. I get more of an eye roll for daring to ask for help. Ulta? I definitely get annoyed to be helped there. Every two minutes it's, "Oh! Have you heard about this product? What about this one? Come look at this one!" It's like, please just let me shop. 

 

At this point, the only thing I like about Sephora is their exclusives. I'm even over the fact it "looks better."

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

(0) Hearts

Don't think I can choose between them anymore-- but, if I had to, I'd still pick Sephora. It was my first love haha. 

 

I agree that the Ulta in-store experience is lackluster compared to Sephora. Sephora seems sleeker, at least to me, with better SAs. 

 

Ulta has the better reward program, with a point system that you can actually cash out on. Nice GWPs. Plus, this is a bit of a personal perk, but Nordstrom Rack is adjacent to my local Ulta! 

 

Meanwhile, Sephora has better shipping services, samples, in-store experience, more brands that I enjoy, streamlined site.

 

I love both! 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Ulta has quality stuff at a cheaper price but the cream of the crop products are at Sephora!

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Honestly, I wish I could do more shopping at Ulta because of the cash rewards system. The perks at Sephora are pretty weak (100 points = $ spent- just to get a tiny moisturizer sample is crazy to me) and the 500 point perks have been getting considerably worse over the years.

 

The only reason I don't shop more at Ulta is that they don't carry the brands I like (for the most part). I buy mostly Nars, KVD, and Ole Henriksen. If Ulta ever started carrying those brands, I don't think I would ever return to Sephora. The perks at Sephora just aren't worth it.  One thing I will give Sephora credit for, is that some of their Sephora Favorites sets (especially the SiJCP ones) are pretty bomb.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

(0) Hearts

It's interesting how most people prefer sephora but go to ULTA for the savings. Does anyone use apps or sites that trade points for gift cards. I use a couple and generally get $30-50 in Sephora Gift cards monthly but I never see ULTA cards rewarded on these sites. I guess it's because Sephora is bigger but that's made shopping here a lot more cost effective for me. Between the amazing promo codes, having flash shipping, and getting most of my purchases halved by using gift cards. I have always been tempted to try ULTA from reading the reviews but I'm wondering as far as points do you just get money back with them or do you get exclusive gifts too? 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

You only get money back with ulta reward points.  You do not redeem them for free gifts.  In order to get bonus gifts from ulta, they have a gifts with purchase system.

 

For example, they might have a promo where if you purchase $30 worth of X brand products you got a little gift from X brand.  Other times they will have a general free gift where if you make a purchase over $50 you get a free makeup bag stocked with free samples.  They also have their "Beauty Breaks" on Wednesdays where you get little extras if you make a purchase over $x.

 

Just to give you a more concrete idea of how Ulta compares to Sephora, I've seen Sephora offer a deluxe sample of Urban Decay lipgloss in Scandal/Bittersweet, but in order to get the sample, it will cost you 100 points *or* they also offered the sample lip gloss sample as a promo code with any purchase of $25 or more.  In comparison, Ulta had a deal going where if you purchased $40 worth of Urban Decay products you got the mini lip gloss, a mini eyeliner, and a mini setting spray.  That was your gift with purchase.  On top of that, you earned 40 points (assuming there's no multipliers).  The least amount of points you can redeem is 100 points to get $3 off your order, but you're better off saving up towards the 2000 points to get $125 off your order.

 

Ulta has a lot of multiplier events so it's easy to rack up the points.  Last year I believe I spent $500 at Ulta but I was able to accumulate 2000 points so out of that $500 I spent I got $125 back to spend at Ulta again.

 

Unfortunately, there's a lot of brands I like that Ulta doesn't carry, but I'd rather have $125 to spend however I'd like at Ulta than the rewards program at Sephora.  I think I spent around $1800 at Sephora last year, and if it wasn't for the fact that I live in the San Francisco area, I would have nothing to show for the fact that I had spent that much money at Sephora.  

 

Sephora points are meaningless because they only do the big rewards once or twice a year, and everyone has the same bright idea of trying to redeem the thousands of points they've accumulated for some big prize.  

 

If you live in a major city like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York, they sometimes host fancy events where you can redeem your points for admittance.  Blegh.  I don't even want to get started at how much more points Sephora charged to go to their event in November in San Francisco than they charged in 2014, and how disappointing 2015's goodie bag was compared to 2014, especially considering the more than double-the-point price tag.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

(0) Hearts

Sephora hands down, although I will say I feel the rewards system is lacking. I wish my points were more useful, right now I am just hoarding them waiting for something good to come along. 

 

I can buy most of what I need from Ulta at a drugstore cheaper, or at Sephora. 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Breaking up with Sephora. Was suppose to get 3 day free shipping and it's been 14 days. 2 emails later still no show so finally called in today for a refund. They refunded my money but not the points. My money now being spent at ulta. 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Was the item shipped out and lost in travel, or just not shipped out? Did you call the CS line?

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Welcome to the board.

Advanced
You must be signed in to add attachments