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! = )

dannyc

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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The different programs are based on location. I'm in Club too & hate it. My store never has any decent offerings (the ones advertised on the flier/e-mail is not what they have in store), and I usually go to Ulta 3-4x a year. Our levels don't roll-over, so every quarter you have to start new. 

I've heard that all stores will be switching to the points system, so I wonder if I'll shop at Ulta more when they do. Of course Ulta doesn't carry a lot of the brands I shop at Sephora for, but Nordies & Bloomies does :smileytongue: 

LindaDD

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I have the points program in my area, but I've read about yours and people have been able to use a combination of the smaller gifts if they wanted those more/get sick of the ones in your bracket. So if you were a level 7 (or whatever it is), you could pick a gift from levels 1 and 6, or levels 2 and 5, etc.

spedteacher74

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Ulta had a great free gift today.  The email came in as "Free 7pc-Full Size Lip Collection" Limited Time only starting at 10 a.m. with a $50 purchase.  Free shipping.  Opened it up and looked great.  An exception noted all 7 pieces were NOT full size as the subject line of the email stated, 5 were full size 2 were deluxe samples.  Nonetheless, I have been waiting for a good promo code and was going to buy a few items that I have been wanting from Sephora and waiting on.  At 11:30 I went to add the free gift to my basket.  Its Sold Out!  Really?  They did say "while supplies last".  No purchase made.  This is one of the differences between Sephora and Ulta.  Sephora understands the demands of their special offer gifts.  They don't run out in in under an hour.  They stock accordingly.  Ulta offered this from 10-4.  One of their weekly specials.  This really bugs me.  If you can't provide the stock, don't make the offer.  Its not like it was 3 p.m. and they ran out, it was under an hour.  I feel like I am drawn in hoping to make a purchase anyways.  Sephora you are and always will be my favorite. 

dolceloure

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I just got the same email from Ulta and was disappointed that they went out of stock so quickly! That said, I do think Ulta is still usually better about stock. (see below comment on Disney palettes and distribution of promos)

Katty2323

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

you obviously were not around for the Ariel collection then if you feel that way about sephora. :smileyhappy: And, sephora is also known to not send every offer to every customer making receiving offers extremely unfair unless you know to look on beautytalk. It's really a pick your poison type of deal when choosing where to shop.

jennypenny1995

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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ATTN: Sephora. Corp.  I don't know if you sent out a big, giant memo on store cleanliness, but my local store has REALLY improved tidying their demos, etc.  Really noticeable!

midnightangel

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I shop at both Sephora and Ulta, usually for totally different things, and I see no reason to have to choose between the two.

Londonlover101

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I do love both of these stores but I think I prefer Sephora better because the atomosphere is more upscale, the store assistants are friendly and cheerful and always ready to help while the ulta i'm close too the sales assistants can't stop hounding you with questions and following you around the store, like seriously sometimes people just want to be left to look around.

bad823

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Sephora will always be my #1! Once in a while Ulta has deals too good to pass up, during the 21 Days of Beauty, I got an awesome Cargo shadow palette for only $20 & UD Grindhouse for $5!

AznAngelLiz

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I love both these stores, but lately I've been on a Ulta kick. I've gotten two 20% off coupons just this month and I was able to use on prestige brands, so instead of waiting for Sephora's F&F sale in November, I got a bunch of things on my list ( and got some pretty awesome GWPs). The only thing I don't like about Ulta is their return policy, at my local store you can only return without receipt 2x a yr. That policy especially sucks when most of their drugstore makeup are sealed and can't be swatched. 

 

Obviously I love Sephora (I made Rouge when it first rolled out) but I feel like I can get a lot of the brands at different stores (Nordstrom's especially) and lately the 100, 500, VIB perks don't seem to interest me. I'm still holding out hope that Sephora will do something freaking awesome during the holidays. 

 

Sorry for the long rant, the verdict is Sephora has my heart for the long haul but other stores have my attention right now :smileyhappy:

 

 

latinadiva

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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That is interesting that you say your store only takes 2 returns without a receipt a year. I had always known Ulta's return policy to be that if you had the receipt, you would get your money back within 60 days. After 60 days you would get store credit. If you didn't have a receipt at all, you would get store credit. When was moving earlier this year, had some returns I wanted to make, but with all of the action of moving, they totally slipped my mind. It had been a while but I didn't mind getting store credit because I knew I would use it. I was then told oh woah we can't return this, we don't do returns after 90 days. Um...what? Where did 90 days come from and since when was there a time that they no longer accepted returns? They were like nooo that's always been our policy, meanwhile the signs at the register and the back of their receipts all say otherwise. I contacted corporate and was told that stores are within their rights to designate specific return policies, which defeats the purpose of having Ulta return policies all together. That is definitely one area that Sephora has Ulta BEAT.

snowshoe

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I have never had a problem with returns at Ulta.  Then again, I always keep my receipts for a a month, because I usually know in 30 days or less if a product is going to be a keeper or going back.  

 

I can't blame them for limiting returns without receipts though--I can see where some would abuse that.

hydee77

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

[ Edited ]

Store wise I prefer Ulta because I use both drugstore and prestige cosmetics and the store is on my way home from work so it's really convenient.  Although there are two Sephoras nearby there, I only go in if they are having a VIB event or something.  Online shopping wise, I love Sephora.  I definitely do more shopping with Sephora because of the free samples and promo codes.

violalea

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

[ Edited ]

 

I have been to ULTA like 3 times. I have been to Sephora like 3.0.0 times.

So I guess you all know my answer :smileyhappy:. Yes, I love love Sephora. :smileyhappy:

starletta8

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I have love for both of these stores. I'm top tier at both- and if Ulta had a Rouge level, I'd be that too (caveat: I'm a cheater since I often get my hair done there- easy to pile up the $$$).

 

At Ulta, I love that I get points worth actual dollar amounts, and the 21 Days of Beauty with all of the steals/GWPs is incredible.
 Some of new favorites (Lipstick Queen) are there only, and it's very convenient for me.

 

At Sephora, there are more prestige brands, and I feel a general warmth from the stores. It's an inviting place to play. I'd never swatch it up at Ulta, for example. I love the perks- but I'd like some $$ off codes, too. Samples are far better at Sephora, too.

spacesuit

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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I've only ever been to Sephora because there's one in the mall on the other side of town. I was going to agree with all the people posting how they only go to Sephora because they don't live anywhere near an Ulta, but while double-checking to make sure I found out today that one opened last month in a shopping center that's even closer than the mall! I'm excited to go check it out and make a comparison.

snowshoe

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

[ Edited ]

They both have exclusive brands. They share most of the major brands and products.  They both have makeup artists/cast members.  Returns by mail or by store are easy for both.  They both have special events in store, though it seems like Ulta has more of them.

 

I like Ulta's rewards as they can be redeemed for cash off your purchase.  I've been on several $100 shopping sprees on the house courtesy of Ulta.  Plus, it's a lot faster to earn points at Ulta than Sephora.  Ulta has drugstore brands, but Ulta also has an awesome return policy.  So I'll go to Ulta if I want to try out a drugstore brand because I can return it without hassle if it doesn't work out.  And it is convenient to pick up hair and body products at the same time as I get my makeup--saves me a trip or tow.

 

On the down side, Ulta's points expire whereas Sephora's do not.  The coupons that Ulta sends out are a joke as almost all of them can't be used towards non-drugstore brands--there's only one or two a year that can be applied to the prestige brands.  Orders from Ulta's website can take up to two weeks to arrive (I kid you not!).  

 

I'd say they're a little like apples and oranges. Or like green apples and red apples.

 

luckyme502

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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If you are a platinum points member your rewards never expire, and if you have earned several $100 shopping sprees, you should be at platinum level.  I order things from Ulta online all the time and they usually arrive in two or three days.  

divagirl90

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

From my experience, Ulta does send 20% off coupons, but some people can't use them on "prestige" cosmetics but others can. And some people (like me) don't get those coupons at all.

 

I live more than 1 hour away from Sephora and Ulta so most of my shopping is done online. I choose to buy more products from Sephora.com because it's easier to return items if I'm not satisfied with them. Yeah, I have to wait 2 weeks for my return to be processed by mail, but I have never had a problem returning anything to Sephora and that keeps me coming back.

 

I like that I can choose my own samples at Sephora. I've gotten samples from Ulta that I have thrown in the trash because I can't use them on my skin or hair type. I do love that Ulta has way more GWPs, but if there is a color face product in the GWP, sometimes there's not an option for darker women. But overall, I think that some of their GWP are better than Sephora's. For example, Gucci Premiere is on my wish list. I could buy it from Ulta and get a nicer GWP.

 

I do think that Ulta's point perk program is a good idea because I would rather have money off than a small sample. But I don't shop there enough to earn enough points to get $125 off, or to even make Platinum. Platinum members get those 5x and 10x point offers. The only bonus offer that I have been offered is 2x.

 

syritt

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I love Sephora. Obviously. I've made Rouge this year. Haha. I love the return policy (though I very rarely use it), the fact that I can go in and try out so many items, and the fact that I can get samples from the stores to try out things I'm not sure of. They also carry many "high-end" products I like and use. Also the Sephora brand items tend to be very good overall. Great sometimes, less good others, but generally worth the money. The detractor can sometimes be the sales associates, but this seems to depend on the store, etc. The main thing that keeps me at Sephora really though is the community. THANK YOU BT!!!! You guys are amazing and really make my day every time I come on here.

 

I'm not huge on Ulta. Their rewards program is good, but they have less products I'm interested in. They also have much worse customer service in and out of stores, from my experience. They have a lot of  non-brand GWP offers but it tends to be things like their own brand of makeup (which I really don't like).

 

The only thing that's been pulling me away from Sephora a bit recently has been some remarkable department store experiences. The way I get treated in Nordstrom and Barney's makes me feel so special and so valued that it makes me wonder if it would be better spending my money with a company that makes me feel just so beautiful. I hope Sephora can really step up in the in-store experience, so I don't keep feeling like other companies are doing a better job competing for my money.

Candy357

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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Love Sephora!

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