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Post in Besides Beauty

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

I just used an online coupon for 20% off my entire purchase at U including Prestige Brands, it was awesome. FYI I got the coupon code in an email.

 

I used to shop at both equally (with a bit of T mixed in) but I'm finding that the dollars off rewards at U are pretty great. I don't need random samples at Sephora after I spent $100+ to get a tiny sample tube of primer I already have. I'd rather get a cash discount off my purchase.

 

Regarding store design I love how chic is Sephora stores are with their black and white color scheme. U's white design kind of gets dingy or dirty looking. Neither store dust or cleans their displays enough. However, I like that U has random stands, mirrors, and even chairs I can sit at. I can gather a bunch of samples especially on days when there are not many people in the store and try different tester products without any employee bothering me. At Sephora you can't really sit down unless you're getting a makeover.

 

I do like that Sephora carries a large variety of brands. Quite a few of them are not available at U.

 

Regarding both companies' emails they do get a bit bothersome as they are sent too often. I filtered out Sephora's because I don't really see a lot of savings in their emails. I've gotten some great free gift with purchases from U and a couple freebies from Sephora. Quality freebies seem to be more frequent from U?

 

Nyx buy one get one 50% off sales at U are pretty good.

 

On another note I've given up buying drugstore makeup at CVS because I don't like their extra bucks program. It's kind of bothersome and again I'd rather just have rewards that are easier to use.

 

Overall U's reward program edges out Sephora's but both U and Sephora are better than department store makeup departments. Those employees really pressure you to buy stuff especially if they harass you into sitting in a chair and having them apply a couple products to your face.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I just used an online coupon for 20% off my entire purchase at Ulta including Prestige Brands, it was awesome. FYI I got the coupon code in an email.

 

I used to shop at both equally (with a bit of Target mixed in) but I'm finding that the dollars off rewards at Ulta are pretty great. I don't need random samples at Sephora after I spent $100+ to get a tiny sample tube of primer I already have. I'd rather get a cash discount off my purchase.

 

Regarding store design I love how chic is Sephora stores are with their black and white color scheme. Ulta's white design kind of gets dingy or dirty looking. Neither store dust or cleans their displays enough. However I like that Ulta has random stands, mirrors, and even chairs I can sit at. I can gather a bunch of samples especially on days when there are not many people in the store and try different tester products without any employee bothering me. At Sephora you can't really sit down unless you're getting a makeover.

 

I do like that Sephora carries a large variety of brands. Quite a few of them are not available at Ulta.

 

Regarding both companies' emails they do get a bit bothersome as they are sent too often. I filtered out Sephora's because I don't really see a lot of savings in their emails. I've gotten some great free gift with purchases from Ulta and a couple freebies from Sephora. Quality freebies seem to be more frequent from Ulta?

 

Nyx buy one get one 50% off sales at Ulta are pretty good.

 

On another note I've given up buying drugstore makeup at CVS because I don't like their extra bucks program. It's kind of bothersome and again I'd rather just have rewards that are easier to use.

 

Overall Ulta's reward program edges out Sephora's but both Ulta and Sephora are better than Nordstrom and other department store makeup departments. Those employees really pressure you to buy stuff especially if they harass you into sitting in a chair and having them apply a couple products to your face.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I am lucky and I have both a Sephora and Ulta near me, so I shop where I can get the better deal. I didn’t used to shop at Ulta very much, but when I learned my points translated into cash back, I try to shop there more than Sephora. Ulta doesn’t carry everything I use or want so I still shop at Sephora plenty.

 

As a Rouge I supposedly get two day shipping, but its rare that I order on a Monday and get my products on a Wednesday. Ulta’s shipping is a little slower, but my last couple orders have arrived pretty fast so I can’t complain.

 

I also haven’t had any issues making returns at either location.

 

I love that Ulta offers 5X points on various brands and will throw out the random prestige 20% coupon for us Platinum members. Ulta would be hard to beat IMO if they offered free shipping for platinum members without a limit.

 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

picked up my birthday reward yesterday and have to say - much nicer than the sephora bday reward. full size eyeshadow palette!

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

If you're looking for a larger a variety of products, Ulta is the way to go. Sephora cannot compare.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

The closet Sephora and Ulta are 90 minutes from me but an ulta is opening down the road this fall. I have been more of a Sephora person because of the $10 annual fast shipping. However, come fall I may switch. Sephora is nice but even Rouge I feel like I don't get anything really worth the loyalty. Ulta's coupons and rewards are much better in my opinion. Plus then I could get samples I actually want. Huge plus for Sephora - Kat Von D 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

another con for ultra: coupons can't be used on clearance items. that's a bummer!

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

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

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

 

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

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