Friday, November 7, 2014

Big Problems During the Sephora VIB Sale!

Admittedly, I only started really shopping at Sephora this year. I've had a Beauty Insider Account (which, for those who don't know, is a point-based loyalty problem) for a while, but I just hadn't really been shopping there until this year when I threw away a bunch of old makeup and started buying high-quality replacements. There are three levels of membership, based on how much money you spend at the store over the calendar year. The next level is VIB and then VIB Rouge. I went a little crazy and reached VIB Rouge about a month ago. It's exciting when you reach that level because they give you a Bite Lipstick. If you've never tried a Bite Lipstick, then you don't know what you're missing. It's extremely smooth and long wearing...but I digress.

It's my impression that once a year, Sephora extends a 20% off discount to VIB and VIB Rouge customers. I was very thrilled to get the notification in my email about the sale and the event (which, because of a rehearsal, I was unable to attend), which was supposed to begin yesterday the 6th and end the 10th. Being the beauty junkie that I am, I filled my cart up with goodies that I would only really want to buy if I got a discount on it. I think, in total, I had 8 things in my cart. Sadly, the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush Palette sold out the day before the sale. SAD! I deleted it from my cart and decided I would try and find it in a store. All I wanted to do was click the checkout button when the sale started and I was going to be good to go. Even though I live near several Sephora stores, I like to shop online because of the mobile offers and/or Ebates. com. I logged on to the Sephora App on my phone, and then this happened:

High Traffic? Wow...amazing. Everyone else must be excited about the VIB sale too! I waited several hours to log back in and got the same message. So, the website and app were officially CRASHED. The website and app were crashed during the most anticipated sale of the year.

When I first learned of this, I thought I would wait it out because I love to shop online, but then it was down for HOURS. By 10am yesterday, I decided that I would just drop by the Boston Sephora store before a rehearsal and try to remember all the items that were in my cart. I honestly was having a hard time, but I managed to snag nearly everything that was in my virtual cart, save one item. I even snagged a Tarte Pinup Girl Amazonian Clay Blush Palette, which was completely sold out online. You can't even view the product on the website anymore.

The sales associates didn't seem to really notice that the website was down when I talked with them about it, but all of them were nice and helpful. I was very thrilled to receive my first 500 point bonus which was a little Urban Decay eye set with four beautiful little eyeshadows and a 24/7 black eyeliner  and a super lame sample of primer potion. I'm a little pissed they adhered the sample to the stupid box, but I guess it's nothing a pair of scissors can't cure. I haven't tried this yet, but the colors look pretty neutral.

The bottom line, is that it's now (as I'm writing this) November 7th at 10am and the site is still down for most customers. Even worse, there is some bug in the system (I am guessing this because I can't imagine a major company would do this on purpose) that is locking the accounts of some customers who use an email address from some Chinese servers, such as and The accounts are not only being locked, but the system is giving those customers the reason for locking as some sort of "Violation of Policy" such as reselling, etc. From what I am reading on the Sephora Facebook Page, store associates have not been very helpful regarding this error and neither has the "Beauty Concierge" via the phone. Sephora PR has been less than responsive regarding this whole blunder, with one Twitter post 20 hours ago apologizing for their website being down. They have been replying to tweets in response to the craziness, but there has been no mention of the Chinese email blunder or any mention of how they are going to attempt to make disappointed customers happy.

I feel for them, because there is a major dropping of the ball here from their IT Department and their PR department. A major retailer's website being dysfunctional for over 24 hours during its major promotion is pretty unacceptable. It hurts me a little to say that because I do love Sephora, but I am shocked that the way this situation is being handled. What do you think? Have you tried to unsuccessfully place an order? Have you gone to the store instead? What are your experiences with the "Beauty Concierge"?


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