Waited for ages to get one in my part of the world after listening to so many talk about it on You Tube. Now I have easier access to it than to Sephora and at first I found myself going there often - using their coupons and gathering up "points" to use for other purchases. I do like the fact that they have these consumer perks and I also like the variety of products & prices of products they carry.
However, I have found over time that I am going back to Sephora more - for several reasons. First, I admit to loving some of the high end make up brands that Sephora sells (Laura Mercier, Dior & Nars) and I like how one can experiment with the products and easily get samples. Secondly, I find the Sephora SA's more informed, generally which is helpful. Finally, I get frustrated at the "prestige" vs other brands way in which the coupons apply. All that said, I still frequent Ulta regularly and find that they carry some brands (Nyx) that no one else does.
Bottom line is that it's not all that I thought it to be but I just love make up and so I enjoy the store!
I ordered from Ulta for years but in this day and age when companies are vying for your patronage I simply cannot imagine any place offering customer service as bad as Ulta so I will not continue to order from them. Actually, it's not just bad...it's nonexistent. You can find the products they offer here at the same price or less at many other sites on the net so there's no reason to put up with bad customer service. Even their points program is a joke compared to what you can get from other companies. Do yourself a favor, buy elsewhere. WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE ON THE NET.
I love my nearest Ulta -- never had any bad experiences with SAs or the overall store. The SAs never badger me or try to sell a product (which is almost always the case with Sephora); because of this reason alone I will continue shopping there. I absolutely DETEST when a sales associate won't leave me alone. I'm usually the type that knows what I want when I go in there or I just want to browse to check out all the new products or plan future purchases. If I need help I'll ask for it! Anyway, my particular store is always clean and well-organized. Prices could be better (high-end stuff is on par with Sephora, but drugstore tends to be slightly higher than, say, Walmart or CVS. However, they always have some sort of BOGO or deal, so that works out if you wanna stock up your favorites from a particular brand. I also love that they carry brands like NYX, which aren't readily available. All in all, a wonderful store -- truly a girl's playground!
The nearest Ulta from me is 20 minutes away. I go there maybe twice a year JUST to LOOK around. The store is clean except the clearance aisle which I don't touch, god knows how many people touch or tested them, ick. Where do they hire these people from??? The first time I went, I was looking for OPI Nail Envy. Not the nail strengthener or the top coat. The first SA I asked was clueless on where the OPI line is. She and I walked all over the store trying to find it. Then she took a personal phone call from her boyfriend and left me standing in the middle of the Essie line. Well, I have to say, I found it on my own by turning around and seeing the whole line of OPI nail polishes. There was the Nail Envy! But it was priced higher than I liked, and I can find it cheaper somewhere else. There was another SA who was drifting around doing nothing and there was a nametag on her chest "Smashbox", who proceeded to lead me to her line to "make me over", and I politely refused to her. She kept insisting. I kept saying no. Back and forth. Geez, leave me alone! She walked away in a huff. I went back to the front of the store to test out the fragrances and there were no testers! I asked another SA who was also doing nothing if she could open a bottle so I can test it. She said "No, we don't do that here" Huh? How am I supposed to buy anything there if I can't test it? The nearest Sephora to me is the one in JCPenney, in which they have limited stock and not all the new fragrances.. The free-standing retail Sephora is 2 hours away. Ulta was nearer, but if they continued to act like this to customers, they are doing a really good job of it! Sorry, Ulta, I will LOOK around but I will be buying online from Sephora. And I don't know how they can get away with the high prices on the drugstore line! And there's a Target next door to them!
I love Ulta. The stores I go to are always clean and organized. I don't ask for help when I shop but whenever I check out the girls are always cheerful and friendly. It is true that the drugstore brands (Revlon, Loreal, ect) are waaaay overpriced, sometimes costing $2-$5 more than anywhere else. However, they also have brands that are a bit difficult to find (NYX, China Glaze) and often have buy one get one, or some other sales promotion going on. I have gotten some great deals here as a result of sales combined with a coupon. I can shop without getting hounded by employees and I've never had any trouble finding anything. One other downside is their coupons are a bit confusing, and sometimes exclude things you'd think would be included in the promotion.
There are two Ultas where I live; one gets a five-star and one gets ONE star. Guess which one is closest to my house? Yes, the one that is the most hideous. I go out of my way (and almost 20 miles) to go to the GOOD Ulta store. It's staffed by very young but very NICE gals who let me shop, don't ride my a$$, and are nothing but great every time I go in.
I have had an ongoing issue with the manager of the closer store. She is short, and has thin hair plastered to her skull in blonde, black, and pink tones. I only give this description in case she frequents the MUA boards and might perhaps recognize herself here. I can only pray.
Whenever I go into the "bad Ulta", this manager treats me like a shoplifter with a communicable disease. My first experience with her, I had to return an online order and she treated it as a return with no receipt and tried to force me to take store credit; um, no thanks. Open your eyes and read the papers in front of you! Halfway through our transaction she took a personal phone call and left another employee to 'finish it up'. That poor girl messed the entire transaction up and I had to wait for Hello Kitty Hair to drop her personal phone call. Several times I have been fruitlessly searching for something, and had to find someone to help---and there was HKH, putting on makeup directly from the high-end makeup testers! Dipping the brushes back into the testers, putting on her face, back in the testers: I was so grossed out. She did not even wash the brushes when she put them back on the end of the counter! She looked up to see me watching her and got a really snotty, snobby tone in her voice when she asked me if I was finding everything (as she kind of looked me up and down as she always does).
I once went in to see if I could find some curl styling cream, praying that she not be the one to accost---er, help--me. Sure enough she ignored me while I cruised the cheap side of the store (Cover Girl, Revlon) but as soon as I hit the Pureology section, she was on me like flies on poop. As she walked toward me hurriedly to ask me if I needed help (eyeing my hands and purse as she did so) I told her what I was searching for, knowing she would be clueless since her hair is so thin and straight. Mine is thick and curly and dry and looked a mess that day due to some crazy wind, I hoped that the state of it would show someone what I needed. Miss Kitty started leading me all over the hair care area, showing me stuff that would work on HER hair. I told her several times, I need some curly hair styling cream--she wasn't listening. So I found the Deva Curl area and she cooed, "Oh they have great shampoo!" But I'm looking for a styling cream. "Oh they have great hair gel!" But---I need a styling cream. As I found the bottle of cream MYSELF, she chirped, "Oh that's great styling cream!" YOU THINK??? Then---she said--"I have thick curly hair myself, that's great stuff!" I told her, I will get this and hope that it works. She said--brace yourself---"Well it can't look any worse!"
Really? I can see your SCALP, your hair is so thin and fine!! Maybe she is trying to 'relate' but I almost fell over when she said this to me. It took all I had not to react.
She also offered to carry the cream to the front for me--when has anyone at Ulta tried to 'babysit' what you picked up so that you don't shoplift it? This isn't the jewelry counter at Wal-mart! I'm probably old enough to be this twit's mother and she acts like I'm some kind of felon. (I have redeemed SEVERAL 1000 point rewards, obviously spending quite a bit of money in there)
Maybe all the times I've filled out surveys and specifically mentioned this woman's behavior, she's figured out that I tattle on her and she's annoyed? She never has a name badge on so I don't know what her name is, and I truly don't want to ask her because her entire demeanor is such that it seems like her lip is curling as she talks to me. I am not a confrontational person but I finally hit my saturation point with her and started talking to her like Mrs. Thurston Howell III when she approaches me. (Then I find someone else to help me if I need it) If she seems to be hovering while I browse, I no longer pay any attention to her. If she's watching me, she's not talking on the phone or putting on makeup from the testers and contaminating them.
This review is for the Ulta.com website. Truly one of the worst websites I've ever ordered from. Twice, they have screwed up my order and they were just languishing somewhere in Illinois. I talked to customer service several times and they assured me that I would receive them the next day. Well, I didn't so I filed a dispute with PayPal and I finally got my money back. I placed a couple more orders there and everything seemed ok. I placed an order on January 4th and have still not received it. I got the UPS tracking number and it said it would be here on Friday, January, 11th. Friday came and passed and nothing. I checked the UPS website again and it said that it had been transferred to my local post office for delivery. It is now Thursday, January 17th and nothing. Why the heck couldn't UPS just deliver it directly??? I checked the USPS tracking and it said it hasn't been updated since last Friday. So my package is lost somewhere in the Houston postal system. I really don't know why Ulta sets up their shipping this way. It is very very frustrating.
Love the stores, hate the website.
The Love for the Stores:
You can test out products before buying. The range is comparable to Sephora plus has drugstore brands which is a big plus. Rewards system is neat: I've redeemed enough to get three $100 shopping trips on their tab. They do offer frequent coupons, though be warned that many of the coupons will not work on the "prestige" brands, i.e., the really good stuff. At least Sephora offers specials on most of their products.
The best thing is the returns policy: they will accept opened cosmetics for refund/exchange, so I can shop without fear of being stuck with the wrong color/shade/product.
The Hate for the Website:
It takes FOREVER to get an order from the Ulta website delivered. I don't understand it: other online companies I've ordered from also use UPS for their standard shipping, and their deliveries get here fairly promptly. It's now going on almost two weeks, and I still don't see my order. It's as though Ulta sends stuff by the slowest possible shipping category.
I love ulta ! They have a wide variety of products and brands . My ulta has everything seperated into sections making it easy to find what your looking for. The SA are very nice and helpful! They ask if you need help but they also give you space. They always accept my coupons, answer any questions i have , and inform me of any deals. Ultas a great store. I guess it just depends on the people who work there that decide whether your trip will be a happy one .
ULTA is brand new in our city and the SAs are awful! I returned a product after 60 days and was purchasing new products and one SA said they cannot take it back after 60 days. I said I was applying it to newly purchased products and she said they could not do it. I returned to my car and read the back of the sales slip and it said after 60 days you could only get store credit, so I had to go back in and show the SA her own receipt so she could re-run my purchase to credit me with my return - she was not happy. Also, poor job on matching BE products to my skin. She looked at me and said "You're a medium" and that's the only color she applied all over my face. In the store it looked okay, but in the car I looked like a pumpkin! Every time I go in there with a coupon, they find a reason for me not to be able to use it on what I have in my shopping bag. And, they are ALL clueless about where to find certain products. Once they told me they were all out of something and I found it at the checkout counter on the travel size display! Another time I picked up Revlon lipstick - buy 2 get 1 free - and the SA argued with me at the register that it was buy 2 get one 50% off, until she ran it up and it said buy 2 get 1 free and she just blew it off saying "Oh I must be thinking of another brand." I'll take Sephora and BB&B any day!