Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sephora VIB Rouge Disappointment

When I heard about the "free" Dior lipstick for Sephora VIB Rouge members, I was overjoyed! It sounded like Sephora was really stepping up their game for status members. However, my happiness was short lived, let me tell you why. My intention is not to sound like I'm whining that I missed out on this "gift" (well maybe a bit, it can't be helped) but to question the purpose of VIB Rouge by examining the so called perks, the recent VIB Rouge gift disaster.

I never intended to reach this status, but after doing a few CPs I was pretty close at the end of the year. The aspect of VIB Rouge that was most enticing to me was the free shipping for the next calendar year. Sounds great, doesn't it? OH, BUT WAIT. If you're a regular on the BeautyTalk Rouge boards, one of the recent topics has been about canceled orders due to smaller order totals. This seems extremely underhanded to me. I can understand why a company wouldn't want customers to be constantly placing small $1 orders; not only is it not environmentally sound but it is indicative of individuals taking advantage of their status. However, it was very clearly stated that the free shipping perk had no minimum.  I'm not a business savvy individual but the very first thing that popped into my head when I first heard about the free Rouge shipping was wondering how Sephora was going to handle seemingly pointless small orders. If I thought of this flaw, why couldn't a big beauty company? I could even understand if Rouge members had a lower minimum instead of the standard $50. No, Sephora stated that "Free Shipping" applied to all orders, without a minimum purchase. I have a strong suspicion my account has been flagged - my orders have suddenly been canceled. I haven't placed any tiny orders but I did make multiple orders last week, all over $25 though.  If a business is attempting to entice clients with this perk, they should stand by it - like Nordstrom!

In addition to this shipping perk, one of the touted features of the new Rouge status were supposed warehouse sales and gifts. It's generally well known and widely perceived that the regular VIB status is a bit of a sham, not nearly fulfilling as it was hyped to be. The first few months of VIB Rouge seemed pretty abyssal, I didn't hear of anyone receiving anything other than their welcome kit (if you received extra gifts - please let me know!). What exclusive warehouse sales? Warehouse sales are generally considered to have rock bottom prices on past seasonal merchandise and even products in regular lines at great discount. Please don't insult me by offering a day of early access to a clearance sale and chalking that up to an exclusive warehouse sale. The wares were disappointing, there were a few gems but most of the items were products that quite frankly had been on sale for a long time already.

 Ah, Sephora "gifts". As elusive as a unicorn! Yesterday morning, I received the following info:

I noted the foreboding "while supplies last" text and quickly went to make an order to take advantage of this
"gift". You'll note that I used quotations - is it really a gift if you have to spend $35? Is a present not something that is given freely, instead of paid for? I actually couldn't complete my transaction online so I called Rouge Concierge. For some reason, my orders were being canceled. By the time I went to reorder with an alternate form of payment, the Dior lipstick was already gone. That happened within 20 minutes. As it turns out, this lipstick was one of four "gifts", the other three were a deluxe NARS Illuminator, Caudalie skincare product and deluxe vials of Cartier fragrance. Many VIB Rouge members received their emails too late to order while others never received emails at all. The interesting thing was that different emails were sent out (Sephora mentioned on FB that purchase history may have influenced which gift you were offered), but seeing as how fragrance and skincare are definitely not once size fits all products, this seems to have been rather ill conceived. I think it was great that Sephora wanted to cater to their clients' personal preferences, but an email that mentioned the other gifts in case you wanted something different would have been more customer friendly. One other tidbit worth mentioning - many people on Sephora's Facebook are mentioning that BIs and regular VIBs were able to use this code, perhaps why it went out of stock so quickly. However, any comments verifying this were quickly deleted (if you check out the posts, you can see Sephora vehemently denying it).

In short, I'm sorely disappointed in the Sephora VIB Rouge experience. It seems like instead of a fun reward system that gives loyal customer perks, I feel like it's just more hype and trouble than it's worth. I'm more inclined to shop at Nordstrom, I consider their customer service to be stellar and they always have free shipping for every customer. True, Sephora may carry many fantastic brands but customer service is a more important aspect of shopping for me.


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