Monday, August 19, 2013

What Bothers Me About Sephora (Canada)

Hey everyone! I have a bit of a rant for you guys today. I guess I'll be the first to admit that I don't always love shopping at Sephora. During the past few trips I've made, I've come to realize that I have more than a few problems with the store. It has absolutely nothing to do with the brands or products. All of their items are top notch for me, which is pretty much the only reason I continue to shop there.

My number one problem is that it's very clear that the Canadian branch of Sephora is poorly developed and managed in comparison to the American one. First of all, the prices are marginally more expensive than the US Sephora. Why? I'm not a business major so I can't rationalize this, but when I have to pay more than $15 extra in comparison to the US price, I get seriously turned off. We pay an extortionate amount of taxes in Quebec, so a trip to Sephora can really make a dent in your wallet.

Another problem I have with Sephora is their marketing tactics, which are clearly directed towards American customers. On multiple occasions I've received e-mails containing promotions that I could not take advantage of because they are only valid in the US. Also, their website is designed for American shoppers. The Canadian online Sephora store is the same website as the American one, except in choosing "Country: Canada" the prices are simply changed into their Canadian equivalents. You can imagine this might be problematic when I want to apply coupon codes to my order, or when shipping charges get mixed up, or when I add something to my cart that, oops!, isn't available in Canada. Additionally, Canadians do not have the option of applying a gift card to their order: what's up with that? All in all, the site is super glitchy and really unpleasant to use.

I guess this brings me to my main point of complaint. Yesterday night I came across an offer on their website that I couldn't pass up: the Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lip box set. Let us all bask in the glory of this little bundle for one moment...

Image source
And for only $30! The Tarte LipSurgence costs $29 on its own, so basically you get the rest for $1. Honestly, I was genuinely surprised to see this available to Canadians at this time of the year. Usually these sets come out around Christmas time, but if I can recall last time this set was out it didn't include NARS Turkish Delight. ANYWAY. That's not my point :)

With shipping and taxes, the entire order would come out to $42... $12 more than anticipated. At that point, is it even a deal anymore? So I scoured the internet for a promo code that might help lower the shipping charge. Usually the deal is free shipping if you spend $75 (vs. $50 on the American site, just saying). Much to my surprise, I found a promo code that enabled free shipping after $50, and a deluxe sample! I was out of B&B Surf Spray so I added a new one to my cart and, with shipping, the order came to ~$64, so I punched in the promo code and right away, it added the deluxe sample, and reduced my order total to $49.50! Great.

You might notice the shipping & handling still said $7.95 (and taxes = $7.41), but I thought it was just being glitchy and not changing it. I refreshed a few times, no difference. Still $7.41 shipping and $49.50 order total. Weird, but I mean, it added the deluxe sample so the promo code must have worked, right? Wrong, of course. Wrong, wrong, wrong. When I got my receipt in the e-mail, my order total was in fact $64.88 (what you see in the yellow box).

And then I noticed that I didn't get my double points, which a recent promo email had promised me. Hell no. I called customer service and, of course, they didn't believe me when I said my order total was $49.50, not $64.88. "Ma'am, you're looking at the merchandise subtotal." No, no I'm not, sir. And then apparently the 2x points only kick in on October 15th (wtf?). AND as I was just back on their website to verify the prices as I was writing up this post, I noticed that they added a full-sized Deborah Lippmann nail polishes as a 100 point perk which is an absolute steal... I mean, totally not their fault, but way to dig the knife deeper, ya know?

All in all, I'm over shopping online at Sephora. Their awful website and poor Canadian marketing is frustrating at best. Maybe I'm a retail snob in the sense that I expect quality service. Or maybe I'm just a sensible shopper. I can't tell sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who has worked in the customer service industry, it bothers me when companies don't have good customer service. I don't think it's too much for you to expect quality service at all, after all, it's the customers who help build companies although they sometimes seem to forget that.