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

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I actually have only been aware of Ulta for a couple of years, and although I have bought a few things there on occasion, there are some issues that I have with Ulta. First of all, I don't know of any stores near me, and actually, I have never lived near a store, and even though I often find things on their website that I would like to buy, somehow I have never been able to. For whatever reason, it does not seem to like my credit card.

 

Aside from that, I was excited the couple of times that I have been in a store when visiting friends because there are some brands there that Sephora does not carry. On the other hand, there are also other brands that Sephora has that are not found at Ulta. The other minor qualm that I had with the Ulta stores - and I really cannot generalise too much, as I have only been to two - was that I had the feeling that either it was impossible to find sales associates or they were impossible to get rid of when I wanted to be left alone.

 

At any rate, I have loved Sephora since one was built behind where I used to live about 10 years ago. I find the customer service to be top notch, as I have generally found associates to be helpful but not pushy, and the couple of times that I have called the hotline, my problems were resolved very quickly. Because I have spent an obscene amount of money at Sephora over the past few years, I do enjoy the perks, the VIB Rouge status perks (like free shipping and free makeovers (I think once per year?), and the other offers for loyal customers.

 

All in all, Sephora still has my heart <3 Smiley Happy

 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I decided to check out Ulta's website and was SHOCKED by the prices. Everything was so expensive compared to the prices at Sephora. For example, the Naked palette was over $10 more Canadian at Ulta. Plus you have to spend $100 to receive free shipping as opposed to Sephora's $50. Needless to say, Sephora is definitely the go to for a babe on a budget!

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Sephora has the better return policy - so for me that makes all the difference!

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I was walking by an Ulta and decided to stop in b/c I read about their exclusive UD sets. First time I think I've ever been inside one. I ended up joining their program and I kinda feel guilty about it! I was so scared that I'd unnecessarily spend that I opted-out of all email/mail communication. I'm already Rouge and feel loyal to Sephora! But maybe there are better perks? Better return policy? Their website seems annoying. Not sure - just wanted to share/vent!

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I love Sephora because they made me feel welcome and are so nice. Not pushy either. This goes for every store I have visited, from different states too.

Anyway they have all the brands I really love.

 

ULTA, always have had issues but had to stop there for an emergency because well it was on the way home. ARGH Anywho, they are always pushy and then when you do ask a question they give you an attitude. Same thing, have visited different stores.

 

Sephora will always be my most favorite & they own my bank account LOL

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I think both stores serve a purpose. I like the "other store" for their rewards program and if there is a product that both stores carry, I prefer to buy it from the other store. They have bonus point days and 20% off prestige items more frequently and the free gift bags are too good. they even sometimes have full size items for free. That being said sephora has better customer service and a more luxurious feel. If you are a makeup junkie who doesn't need help and needs to save money because you buy so much then go to the other store. If you need help and don't care about saving or loads of free stuff then sephora is great. sephora also has a lot of indie brands that are really good. I have gotten boat loads of free stuff from the other store though. 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

The one reason I prefer Ultamate rewards over Sephora is that their points can directly translate to dollars off, instead of a choice of X product of the month. I've saved over $20 on the Naked palettes because of hoarding my points Smiley Happy

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I found this page after Googling "Sephora versus Ulta" today. I have had occasion to deal with Sephora and Ulta customer service this week after placing 2 orders online with Sephora and 2 orders online with Ulta. I shopped at both places because some gift sets/brands were available at one that weren't available at the other. 

 

Sephora got my package to me quickly. I had a customer service issue that was dealt with in a manner that showed me I was a valued customer. Ulta, was the polar opposite. I am furious because I placed an order on Dec 10, was given an estimated delivery time of 17-19 and when I checked tracking it is due to be delivered on Tuesday, the 20th. Especially at Christmas time, companie are very careful when giving shipping estimates as they know people rely upon those as they have deadlines: travel dates, parties, etc. Ulta customer service couldn't care less when I contacted them, they said their policy was 10 business days. Well, even the data given by the agent was erroneous because online it gives the guarantee of 8 business days. 

 

Also, I have heard raves about Ulta's coupons. These are better than Sephora's offers. That is, until I visited an Ulta store. Prices on many items were higher than Target. So they mark up to mark down.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

 

I personally am not a fan of Ulta for some pretty petty reasons:

 

- Locations are too inconvenient for me

- Shipping is too long (Sephora made me a spoiled brat)

- I cannot stand their website, I find it lacking and uncomfortable. (this is main reason)

 

Ulta does have a good reward program and frequently offer pt multilplers.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Same here.  My closest location is not far at all but it's never the direction I am in. I wish Sephora had their point system bc I wind up just keeping my points for the longest. I also find their website very clunky and hard to navigate and it winds up deterring me, that and the fact that it takes long for my order to arrive 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

[ Edited ]

 

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

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

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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

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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

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Spot on. 

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

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

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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

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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.