March 30, 2014

Sephora VIB Rouge In-Store Event

It's no secret that the Sephora VIB Rouge program has had some hiccups. (My faves are the inconsistent treatment and non-existent or irrelevant perks - really, does anyone jump at the chance for free makeovers with germ-laden testers?) Whether you think people had overly high expectations or Sephora just under-delivered on its promises, the grumblings on the interwebs made it clear - this is a program that needs to be revamped, ASAP, or risk alienating those high spenders they were courting.

I've generally been pleased with what is the biggest (and arguably, only) perk for me - the unlimited free shipping. When few US companies and even fewer Canadian companies offer free shipping to Canada, being able to make a 20$ order on a whim is deliriously freeing. (I had no trouble making the 75$ minimum before, but it's SO nice not to have to - especially in conjunction with those 25$ minimum purchase promo codes. As a side benefit, orders under 20$ also ship duty and tax free! Win on all sides.)

That said, there's always room for improvement. If this weekend's Spring Social Rouge events are anything to go by, it might be a case of one step forward, one step back. Early access to chic week and an exclusive event is nice, but there's still a fair bit of dismay on chat forums about the discount amount (same as what BIs and VIBs will presumably get during Chic Week) and the stinginess of foil samples in the free bag.

I'm a cheap wily shopper, so when it comes to Sephora I tend to shop online, where I can combine the free shipping, promo codes and Ebates cash backs to the best advantage. Knowing the discount would barely account for the taxes and having heard about the minimal samples in the goodie bag, I went to this event with a small list and low expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised.

I should mention that I had to drive 30 minutes through a snowstorm, so being greeted personally by the Store Director was nice (she knew my name without asking) and I very much enjoyed the good coffee, chocolate croissants and the deluxe sample bar (3 samples per Rouge, from a great selection).


The service was spot-on - all the SAs were friendly and cheerful, and they had a nice selection of reps across makeup and skincare. I wandered idly by Caudalie, where the fabulous rep took me in hand and somehow convinced me to buy that 100$ eye cream that I had been contemplating not at all. Seriously, she used sorcery of some kind. She then placed some amazing GWPs into my bag, which amounted to a 70$ value!


I also got two sets that are not available on-line (the Fresh Skin Superstars), or at least not on Canadian orders (the Sephora X system), as well as a staple I didn't want to wait for (Josie Maran Cleansing Oil) and the lone Hourglass Ambiant blush missing from my collection and out of stock online (Dim Infusion). No worries about sacrificing my Ebates cash back, and then I still received my deluxe samples and the Rouge bag o' samples.

Overall, I was very happy with this event and felt like it was well-organized and fun, and a good value for the amount of money I dropped.

But it appears like that experience was uneven across the stores in the Montreal area, and that is perhaps the biggest issue with Rouge at the moment - the lack of consistency. Some people get to experience awesome events because they're in NYC or SF (I would have enjoyed meeting Marc Jacobs and receiving a free MJ palette as well, not gonna lie). Others get full-sized products included in orders. (Only a handful of people, it seems, but this one has fostered whale-sized resentment.)

What do you guys think about the program and/or this event in particular? If you're Rouge, are you feeling it? If you're not Rouge, are you enticed to try to qualify?

13 comments:

  1. Personally I am EXTREMELY disappointed with the VIB Rouge program. Yes, I love that we get free shipping, but said shipping has consistently taken 2.5 (and once ALMOST 3 WEEKS) to get to Vancouver, and it wasn't even during a sale or holiday season. I have never received full size samples and the deluxe offerings are the exact same like regular BI and VIBs receive. In store I usually get a foil packet of the same shampoo and conditionner stuffed in my bag along with everyone else. Even more disappointing is that when the Hourglass Ambient Lighting publishes were released early online for VIB Rouges, Canada was exempt until we starting making a stink online! What is that about?! This is the first event that VIB Rouge's in Vancouver have had and there were mixed reviews across the city. If some brands weren't exclusive to Sephora, I would be more strategic about my beauty purchases for programs that actually have worthwhile incentives like Shoppers Optimum and HBC Rewards. This is one disillusioned blogger.

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    1. The shipping thing is crazy. I don't understand why it takes so much longer for some regions. I get most of my orders within 4-5 business days.

      I agree with you about the SDM and HBC rewards programs being MUCH more enticing than the sad little deluxe samples Sephora offers. If I spend 1000$ at SDM, I know I'll be getting at least 340$ back in free, full size product of my choosing. There's just no way to beat that.

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  2. Though I don't have Rouge status (which is incredible, considering, but the past year has been a lean year for me), I echo a lot of the sentiments Lydia has above about these programs and about Sephora in Canada as a whole. Whenever I've ordered online from Sephora, its taken AGES to get to me, much longer than the quoted 4-7 days or whatever it is, and any time I fill out one of their surveys, I always note that I ~like~ Sephora a lot but that it's not my number one retailer, mainly for these reasons among others. As she says, if they didn't carry some exclusive brands that aren't at other retailers near me, I probably wouldn't bother shopping there over other retailers - I rarely indulge in using my points for their deluxe samples (not interested in the offerings) and overall I just don't feel I get a huge value for the amount I spend.

    Having said all that, I'm glad you enjoyed the event personally Maggie! I'm impressed they had nice snacks and coffee and such, and it's always great to hear that the SA's were on point. Hope to see all the goodies you picked up! :)

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    1. I did have a lovely time, but you're right - it speaks to the general feeling of 'meh' about the brand when I honestly wasn't expecting much going in.

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  3. That actually looks like it was a great event!! & loooove that caudalie gwp:-) I've quite loved the free shipping, especially like you mentioned when it comes to those minimum purchase promo codes. I haven't received any random full size products though grumble grumble! Feel like if they are gonna do one thing they should do the same for everyone that's rouge! Also I feel like the samples & point eorks could be better...hardly anything I'm interested in that often or they keep doing the same ones. Like how many times do we need to see LM tinted moisturizer?!!! Anyway besides free shipping the perks aren't really free, meaning most of the promo codes. Even if they had a diff, nicer birthday gift than the other levels at the very least...that would be something. At least in other programs you can earn % or coupons back. I'd like to see that too! Anyway!! Thanks for posting about this event! Gives me hope lolol

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    1. I have hope that they're taking the recent complaints seriously. They seem to be making some efforts at making the rouge experience more special, but at the end of the day the in-store experience is only part of it - with so many substantial competitors, they need to offer some cold, hard value as well.

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  4. SO, I didn't RSVP right away to the event, but decided on Friday what the hey, I'll go. BUT it was FULL. At all three Sephoras in Edmonton. If I wanted to go to one, I'd have to drive 3 hours south to Calgary. Not cool. How could it be FULL? Like the others, I only shop there now for things I can't get at Shoppers. There's really nothing about the program that makes me WANT to shop there. That's what they need to fix.

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    1. Oh wow, that's some kind of bullshit there. Aside from the fact that customers weren't staying the full 2 hours and they could have accommodated walk-ins midway through, I very much doubt that everyone who RSVPed actually showed up.

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  5. I have MAJOR issues with this program; from the day the first whispers about it began, I already had way over the point amount needed to be eligible to join. And I mean WAY over - I was even guaranteed from some Sephora higher-ups that I was good to go. Then, they went and changed the rules: you had to have earned the amount of points needed to qualify all during the calendar year. So NOT cool. That meant that I was literally about $100 away (but I could easily have spent it to qualify, if I wanted to, and at that point, I simply didn't want to) and the other thousands of points were less than useless. Way to thank me for all my patronage, Sephora - good to know you appreciate your consumers who drop small fortunes on you. NOT.

    I shop at Sephora rarely now, primarily because they really don't have brand that interest me all that much; sure they have a few high end brands but NARS I can pick up from The Bay (with better compensations, I might add) - other than that, the only draw (if any) would be MUFE or perhaps Hourglass - but not to the point that I'll be frothing at the mouth for either one. I have always been a luxury brand user and since this entire Sephora experience has been so overwhelmingly disappointing, I'd much rather spend my money on CHANEL or Tom Ford. At least they're being honest about their inflated pricing and not trying to lure me in with false promises. AT this point, Sephora should pay ME to shop there.

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    1. Wow, that's so weird that someone promised you that when it was still in the rumour stage. I had several thousand points accumulated too when the program debuted, but they were clear right off the bat that qualifying was based on spending 1000$ that calendar year (same as the VIB program, I suppose). It sucks to be misinformed that way, and that unclear communication seems to be a general issue. :(

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  6. I was very excited about becoming VIB and when I got there, it didn't consist of anything great...I didn't even get any free samples while shopping in person! I'm only $65 away from becoming VIB Rouge and the only thing that excites me is the free samples and promo codes like you said! I feel there should be a greater reward for the ones who have proven to spend 1k in one year (or 3 months!!)

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  7. woah that is a nice caudalie gwp! and you got more samples than more store had too. oh well, no big deal. i feel like i've stopped expecting anything stellar and I just stopped by the store by my work... i don't plan to requalify for rouge and i think i've been going to other retailers more often

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  8. Anonymous16.1.15

    I have to say, I really enjoy getting make-overs... I love leaving my face upto an expert and seeing the look they can create out of it. And then trying that with different people who are passionate about make-up. I haven't been disappointed. But it costs $50 worth of purchases per make-over, and Rouge status makes it entirely free.

    If you ladies are Rouge, I would recommend making the most of your make-overs, because that's the only major benefit I see.

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