Friday, 20 February 2015

Singing Sephora's praises... Other stores take note!

As you all know, I've been spending the month of Feb in New York, which amongst other lovely explorations, always tends to include a series of requisite trips to Sephora. I usually buy tonnes of bits and save them until I'm back home, never making use of the store's awesome return policy. So this time I did things a bit differently, and it's given me a whole new appreciation for the beauty wonderland that is Sephora. PS - You'll see an embarrassingly large haul coming your way soon!

Since moving to the UK, the number of brands I can't get at home as diminished, but there still are those outliers - I'm looking at you, Tarte, Make Up For Ever, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Kate Sommerville, and a few others. I tried to focus my purchases on these, but between exchange rates and try before you buy mini sizes, things got a bit too tempting.

Things Sephora does better than anyone else:

  • 1. Minis/Deluxe Samples: The famous checkout line at Sephora is retail genius but to my mind it's a win-win. Yes, my purchasing habits get a bit liberal when I'm waiting in line and see cute minis, but on this trip I've also bought things that I've really wanted to try but wasn't willing to shell out the full price without knowing whether I love it, or things I simply don't need too much of! I'm thinking the likes of the Glamglow masks, my beloved Kate Sommerville Exfolikate, a dual-ended lipstick from Bite Beauty, and even a mini of the Laura Mercier Loose Translucent Setting Powder. First aid beauty even had mini sizes of nearly their full range of products - not top of my current list in terms of full size but if I only need to shell out $5-10 I'm immediately interested.
  • 2. Generous rewards program: This ties into #1, but I don't even live in the country and I manage to maintain VIB status just on visits, and get some pretty awesome perks as a result. More minis, deluxe samples, always great coupon codes, etc. While in the US, if I can get it at Sephora, I will.
  • 3. Anything-goes return policy: This trip is the first time I've really utilised their return policy and it's a total game changer. They literally return anything. For any reason. Within 60 days you get a full refund and within 90 you get a store credit. I try to be discerning with my purchases and research things in advance, but with the amount of beauty bits I buy there are bound to be things that don't blow me away. Typically I get a bit down, feel that money has been wasted, something wasn't worth the hype, and then it sits at the back of my drawer until I pass it on or it expires. Being able to return a beauty product simply because the colour/formula/finish/lasting power/etc wasn't what you thought takes a lot of the risk out of purchases, and as a result you probably (1) are more willing to splash out (they obviously know this and I'm sure overall it ends up being way more profitable) and (2) settle on things you really do love and will use. 

I think Sephora's formula is pretty genius and I wish other stores outside of the US would wake up to this wonderful customer-oriented policy (the returns in particular!).

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