jennypenny1995

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! = )

quotidianus

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I've only ever been ignored in a Sephora once, and that store has totally redeemed itself.  I love going their now.  The ULTA I go to ... I'd usually stop in when running other errands and wearing jeans, tee and Chucks ... dressed down, but not sloppy.  I nearly have to beg someone to help me.  Their customer service is so lacking, and my experience at other ULTAs has been similar.  

 

I love perks and rewards, but it's not why I'll be loyal to a place.  I'm loyal because of customer service, and while Sephora sometimes lacks consistency, they're usually fair to great.  ULTA has been consistently awful and I now do all my shopping with ULTA online.  And, while I love Sephora, it would be great if they would step up to the level of Nordstrom which is consistently a great and pleasant experience, no matter what store I go into, and no matter how I'm dressed.

EllieyJelly

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I prefer Ulta. I redeemed $250 dollars in points over the holidays and used it with a 20% off coupon. For some reason they still gave me points for my purchase. 

 

Their GWP bags are awesome too. I got so many over the holidays. One of my favorites is the red and white polka dot one that splits in the middle with a snap enclosure. It has clear zips on both sides. Best makeup bag yet. Their 21 days of beauty is awesome too but terrible for my wallet.

 

I spent double the amount at Ulta compared to Sephora. I only buy what I can't get at Ulta from Sephora. And even then, Nordstrom has 90% of the items that I buy that Ulta doesn't carry and I prefer their customer service.

 

I don't mind if other people don't like Ulta as much. Even though they get stock in every week, shelves get ravaged. Hot online specials sell out within hours. I'd prefer it if less people shopped at Ulta actually :smileywink:

KSkogs

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I think Sephora is hands down the BEST! have you looked at ultas twitter feed lately? It's nothing but apologies To customers who complain about their local store, try to call CS and get nothing so they have to resort to a very public shaming to get someone from Ulta to respond. I shop mostly online eventhough I have both stores within 10 minutes driving, I  usually only visit the store to make returns. My local Sephora store is always really friendly and helpful and never give me guff about what I'm returning or the fact that I rarely have a receipt. The ulta store here needs your blood type, birth certificate, passport, packing slip and emailed receipt just to let you exchange something. Also, at Ulta, all the demos are beat up, half the pans on palettes are empty or people just stick their dirty fingers right in to it and everything's always a mess. I feel like Ulta is Walmart and Sephora is Nordstroms. Also, ulta gives you smart post shipping for $50; smart post is the worlds slowest shipping method. They use ups to get the package to your region and then give it to the stupendously unreliable US Postal Service to make final delivery. Sometimes their packages take 7 full business days to deliver. Sephora gives 3 day UPS shipping and ships within 1-2 biz days For the same MO.... And they give really good samples. 

evno

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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After much thought and review of this thread, this is my conclusion. Disregarding customer service (it depends on the area/people) and online service (never tried it), I'd say Sephora wins by a hair because they make in-store samples. :smileyhappy:  It was pretty close, though! Both stores offer a great range of brands, rewards, and services. Sephora has more high-end brands, deluxe sample rewards, and makeup consultations. Ulta has a range of drugstore, mid-range, to high-end brands, dollars off purchase rewards, and skincare/salon services. I go to both often, and the only complaint I have about both is that I wish the organization of the store was more consistent and intuitive.

eriles

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I think it is a toss up (some people are lucky and have nice customer oriented employees at either/ both of their local Ulta's or Sephora's). Me personally, I am loving Ulta more lately. I have been getting a bunch of e-mails fore free items with any in store purchase. Where I live, my rewards program is switching to their new points program, so I can't speak to that. But on their old program, I loved how I could get my haircuts and color counted towards my spend total. It was so cool getting my D&G light blue practically free with my certificate. I found a great hairstylist at a local Ulta and I have been seeing her for 1.5 years. My closest Ulta has really stepped it up on the customer service side. They are always popping in to see if  I need help and make sure I am greeted (this never really happens to me at Sephora).

 

I love Sephora for the wide variety of products they carry. I will always shop here. But the customer service in my Ulta is consistently good (for the most part). Rarely do I get samples in store at Sephora, and the few times I have needed help, I didn't get any. I even had an SA recently try and argue that the Nars blush I wanted to return was not returnable because they didn't carry the color (Taos) and I bought it at JCP so I had to go there. Even though I was exchanging for $90 worth of product, he acted like he did not want to do the return. It left a sour taste in my mouth.

 

If I shop at Sephora, 90% of it I do online because I have been so turned-off by the in-store experience. Whereas with Ulta, I prefer to shop in store. 

AmyRai

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I went to Ulta to cash in the reward certificate I got from buying Christmas presents (that was a separate horrible experience). Their reward system is terrible and I don't think I will be impressed with the new one either. I'd rather get a high end deluxe sample for spending $100 than $3 off my purchase. At least I think that is what the new system is--their policies and rewards systems are vague and hard to understand to me.

 

Anyways, the workers were not knowledgeable about their reward system. She charged me for the reward which was more expensive and gave me a cheaper item I was buying for free. I looked at my receipt when I got in the car but I didn't feel like going back because I was too cranky at that point and just told myself I wouldn't shop there anymore. She also made a dumb blonde joke when I was checking out. I'm not blonde but I still thought it was stupid.

 

Also the place was a mess--dirty and unorganized. None of their coupons work on anything I want. Their website is so hard to navigate.  Also, their customer service has always been very cookie cutter and not helpful (whereas Sephora has always been really great to me).

 

Lesson learned: Buy my christmas presents earlier this year before Sephora runs out.

lylysa

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

You know, I had an issue just this weekend with their Rewards certificate. I know the new points system is in place, but I managed to snag enough to earn a rewards coupon before that system ended and got a basic level two. I saw they added Revlon nail enamels to the list for level 1 and figured I'd get two matte top coats. I was in the aisle and double, triple, and quadruple checked pricing to ensure I was getting one in the basic "nail enamel" line and the the Top Shine/Speed or the new scented ones which cost more.

 

I get to check out and the gal who rings me up is scanning to list to see if the item is on the rewards voucher list, scans the items, gets a manager to approve the code to void out the items yet somehow they ring on the current buy 1 get 1 50% off deal for Revlon products which made no sense if she were to have scanned my coupon and entered the exact amount for both polishes. She then tries to argue that the matte top coat is not part of the deal which I explain it's classified as their enamel (same with their base/top coats, colors, and glitters), she doesn't believe me, runs off to check, suspends my transaction, hands me over to a manager who then asks me for my receipt (uh....I never even checked out) which she then realizes one never existed, tries to argue again that the polish is not part of the deal, whips out a calculator for who knows what (again, scan the item, say it rings for $4.99, scan the rewards coupon, punch in the value to redeem/remove at $4.99 and we wouldn't have the problem of it activating the BOGO deal), and then huffs a "Uh, I GUESS I'll give it to you" and overrides the system!

 

You GUESS????? Um, NO, the polishes are a part of the rewards so there is no GUESSING.

 

 

BrennaBombshell

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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My local Sephora has the nicest SAs I've ever met at any beauty store/counter anywhere. They're always loading me up with samples I don't even ask for, and we all just stand around giggling and gossiping and gushing over new makeup and skincare products. They're always the sweetest things!

 

My local Ulta has snobby, overly made-up, mean girls. As in, Mean Girls. They ignore you when you walk in, and I've heard them talking to each other about other girls' makeup who are in the store at the time. I actually witnessed them saying something rude about how a girl's face looked like it needed a cheese grater to get the acne off, and SHE heard them too, and she dropped all her stuff on the ground and walked right out. I've tried going in a few more times, but it's always the same. I've never once completed a purchase there, just because I can't stand how the people working there act.

 

I don't mind that they carry drugstore brands, and I don't think that one particular store is better than the other, but as far as staffing goes, I think that locally, Sephora spends more time and care in selecting good SAs to work for them. But I've seen a lot of people say the same thing about Sephoras in their area, so maybe I'm just a lucky one. 

dollface131313

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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i prefer sephora 100% over ulta , there are some things i can go to ulta for like my shampoo i used to use and if i needed urban decay but didn't want to get stuck in traffic trying to get to sephora . that said the sephora sa seem to know a lot more then the ulta ones . also i've had an ulta card for years and have never gotten a free gift or credit or anything at all really . also their drug store brand prices are higher then the usual place i go to get them

sp2001

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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The verdict? What is this a courtroom? You wanna know the truth? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH

 

 

 

and scene - Thank you! Good night! Here all week. Try the veal...

forevermakeup94

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I have both a sephora and an ulta within the same distace. However i find that Ulta is more of a friendly environment than Sephora. It might be just the Sephora that it's here. I also find that Ulta has more variety, if you are a high end make up lover or if you are a drugstore make up geek. There are both great stores, but personally I prefer my ULTA ♥

jaceykr89

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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Where I live, we don't actually have a Sephora. Therefore, I am more of an Ulta girl. Especially during the 21 days of Beauty sale, I was there almost every day. Ulta does some great sales and always has nice GWP offers. However, I do like Sephora's offers a lot better. It's just a shame that I have to do all my Sephora shopping online, which I absolutely hate doing. I like to be able to look the item over and really decide if it's worth it before I dive into spending lots of money. Sephora, please think about establishing yourself in State College, PA.

BeautyJunkie325

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I love Sephora and like Ulta.  I go to Ulta for NYX, nail polishes, shampoo/conditioner and other drug store type purchases.  I do buy some of the limited edition Ulta only products from UD or Lorac if I love them.

annekevdb

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I love Sephora and I like Ulta. For drugstore brands I always head to Ulta - they have the best NYX display in this area. And they have occasionally awesome sales and GWP. However, Sephora wins hands down for customer service and range of high end products. I'm a junkie for the good stuff - the YSL and the Dior and such, and Ulta just doesn't carry those lines. 

jennypenny1995

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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Wow!  Never knew a simple thought that became a post would get so much attention!  This is awesome, you guys!  XOXO

Panda168

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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Hands down I prefer Sephora to Ulta. I think the Sephora stores I prefer just have really amazing customer service, granted I've had my share of bad experiences, but my overall experience with Sephora has been consistently great. While at Ulta, no matter which one I visit, I have had sub par service. In one case I knew more about Tarte products than the girl designated to that area.

missjr

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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Spoiler
 

 

Having just broken the "Rouge barrier" yesterday, I have to admit that Sephora will always be IT for me!  Don't get me wrong; Ulta is great (as is MAC).  But, it's akin to the grass not always being greener elsewhere.

 

There is something to be said about SA's who are super helpful, not attitudinal, friendly and who never pressure me into buying anything.  I love the fact that I can ask for several samples of products that I want to try before committing to a purchase without getting the side eye.  

 

I also love the upscale feel to the store, the new product launches and the online magazine.  In other words--Sephora ROCKS!

 

lovebird411

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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Sephora is definitely my fave too!!

latinadiva

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I frequent both Ulta and Sephora but I definitely enjoy my experience at Sephora much better. I feel like I go through phases where I enjoy one more, then the other more, but lately it's been a constant Sephora kick. There are pluses and minuses to both. Everyone was referring to Ulta's rewards program and how it's nice that you can use the rewards as money toward your purchase. Ulta sadly has two DIFFERENT programs though, and how you get into one vs. the other is beyond me, but the program I am in is that they track every dollar spent. Every three or four months they send you a book telling you what level you got (level 1 is spending at least $50, 2 is at least $100 blah blah) then each level has a list of items and you can pick one as your freebie. The positive in this is that I always end up with the highest level which entitles you to up to $40 toward a bottle of perfume, which is nice cause it's definitely a huge gift compared to getting little sample items with Sephora points, BUUUT how much perfume does one person really need. I am drowning in bottles of perfume and even though I've considered gifting them...again, only so many times you can do that. While the perks at Sephora are travel size, I kind of enjoy that fact. I like being able to try something before buying it. I also like that I can actually FINISH it since I have so much makeup I couldn't use it in 12 lifetimes. Returns at Sephora are SO much easier! I feel like Sephora also has a ton more brands. Most of what I would go to Ulta for, I can just go to Sephora for. I only really find myself going to Ulta lately for IT Cosmetics and NYX since no other store sells them. I use drugstore products too and while its nice to get it all in one spot, I find drugstore products to be more pricey than other stores. In terms of every other brand I can get at either store, it usually comes down to two things: 1) do I have coupons and 2) if it's a new product, what store released it first.

starletta8

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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It is by location.  I love having the points although I rarely let them roll over.  I've heard of people going on massive free shopping sprees, but I can't resist cashing them in all the time.  It's nice to usually have minimum $3 off my purchase at all times.

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