March 9, 2017

Dear Ulta, How About Some Free Shipping?

Dearest Ulta, have I told you how awesome you are lately? But how about some free shipping….?

I sound like one of those passive aggressive people that will compliment you but also, point out something they dislike about you. “Awww you’re so cute but…” I’m sorry, Ulta but I speak for everyone when I say we REALLY need some free shipping.

Ulta has stepped up it’s game in so many incredible ways the past two years. First off, they started carrying a wider selection of higher end brands like Estee Lauder and even Guerlain fragrances now. Secondly, they started carrying a slew of K-beauty brands like Tony Moly, Skinfood, and others. Not to mention their reward system is incredible because it gets you actual cash value back that can be used online or in stores. Become a Platinum Member and the perks get even better with exclusive launches, sales, etc…! And by the way, let’s talk about exclusives for a minute. Have you noticed that Ulta gets first dib launches on many, many palettes lately from brands like Too Faced and Urban Decay. For example, Ulta is getting the Too Faced Natural Love Eyeshadow Palette a lot earlier than Sephora is. Hmmmmm…………..! And let’s not forget, hello, you can buy Urban Decay, Too Faced, and Bare Minerals along with your favorite drugstore brands like Revlon, L’Oreal, ONE location!

I mean I have to spend $1000 to be a Sephora Rouge Member with perks that suck. Yet Ulta Platinum Member’s is nearly half that and I get money back to use towards future purchases!

If they improved their customer service a bit, relaunched the website (it needs a little design help), and most important offered some sort of Sephora Flash-like Shipping Option I would be very, very happy!

So, please, Ulta, get on that free shipping option because I would every so happy if you did!


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Natalie

    Preach girl, PREACH!!! Free shipping would be a game changer!

  • Christina D.

    You are so very spot on. My biggest complaint about Ulta is that they do not offer free shipping, even for make up junkies like us who are Platinum many times over. I don’t care all that much about the rewards — although actual dollars are nicer than points — but I always prefer to order from Sephora because, no matter what, I get VIB Rouge free shipping.

    • Isabella Muse

      I’ll be honest, Rouge shipping isn’t even that great though but it is STILL FREE haha ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Wendy

        and they ship faster than Ulta too — Sephora ALWAYS ships immediately — Ulta can sometimes take days to process an order. For example, I’m receiving an order today from Ulta that I placed 10 days ago, and have received two subsequent orders from them already.

  • Meredith

    Oh my gosh I’ve been thinking the SAME thing! There are so many times that I would’ve made purchases from Ulta without a second thought but I haven’t gone through with it because of the shipping.

    • Isabella Muse

      likewise. I hate feeling my cart with $50 when I just want one damn thing!

  • Kimmwc03

    That would be great but I already spend too much at Ulta (and Sephora for that matter). I don’t think my budget wants me to be further encouraged with free shipping all the time! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Wendy

    Agreed! I used to do all of my online buying from Ulta, until Sephora started their $10 per year flash shipping, now I always check sephora before ulta when I want to make a purchase.

  • Cindy

    I’m an Ulta first girl (money back for future purchases kicks Sephora’s a$$), but they should have free shipping for Platinum members at least.

  • mushlice

    Yes, I agree. The $50 free shipping line is way too high to reach. Even $35 line would make it much better.

  • diane

    i absolutely agree!!! i love their rewards and getting money off but there are so many things i want to order sometimes and i just don’t want to pay that shipping charge. Even if it’s like $25 shipping that would be better than $50.

    • Isabella Muse

      $25 I’d be ok with but $50 is like groannnn! For example, I hauled the TF PBH Palette and I was like great, I don’t want anything else but of course, had to purchase more stuff because had to get that free shipping sigh!

  • Z

    omg this!! And for some reason all my Ulta orders are processed by sloths, it takes two weeks to get my packages. I live in a big city! And I hate how you cannot select your own free samples, I have gotten useless men cologne several times. *cries*

    • kjh

      Hey, I WANT the men’s cologne…which I GOT from Nordie’s…but always get sensitivities laden skincare or women’s scent. How weird is that? Maybe if I bought some men’s…..

  • Heidi

    Two things I like better about Sephora are one, the Flash program, because for budget concerns I haven’t spent enough to reach top status in the last couple years, but I do enroll in that so I get free shipping. I also like that I can choose my points rewards and free samples (though now and then they won’t send one sample and sub with with another).
    I’d cancel the Sephora Flash in a heartbeat if Ulta offered their own Flash. Ulta just has more stuff in a variety of price points, as well as the regular coupons. I’d love to be able to just order a new NYX lippie or concealer that I can’t find in store and tack on some sale item and avoid the $5.95 shipping.

  • Sara

    Sephora really wins in the overall online commerce aspect of it. Between the free shipping, the easy to use and appealing website, choosing your samples, superior packaging (I’ve gotten stuff broken from Ulta because of insufficient packaging), and a bunch of other reasons. I’ve made a few orders in the last 6 months from Ulta but like you, I’ve left a ton in my cart because of the shipping and the wait time for the order.

    My one huge complaint is how Sephora deals with mailed in returns. GOOD LORDY are they slow! I had one that I had to wait the full 6 weeks (6 WEEKS!) from after they got it at the warehouse before they’d manually push the refund to me. It was bananas. Granted I’ve never mailed back anything to Ulta, but Sephora is the slowest return I’ve ever dealt with from any online retailer.

    • Isabella Muse

      I rarely do returns but the times I have at sephora it has always taken over a month and a friendly reminder via phone call to tell them hi there I want my money back!

    • Nikole

      Wow, that is seriously awful. I recently had to return an item to Ulta, and I wasn’t really thrilled with them about having to mail it back and then wait to see if they would credit me — but it worked out okay and took nowhere as long as six weeks. For a company that prides itself on customer service, Sephora should be ashamed of themselves for taking so long with refunds. I’m glad I saw this comment; I’ve been mulling over whether or not to get Sephora flash, but I think I just made up my mind to pass on it.

  • Cheryl

    Oh, Ms. Muse, I hope Ulta takes note! I have an Ulta MasterCard that I use for everything. Since gas, groceries, phone bills, insurance premiums, and everything else get put on that card, I rack up points for Ulta purchases quickly. It’s pretty sad when I have $145 in available points to use for Ulta purchases, but I still won’t buy anything until I have $50 worth of “needed” items, so that I can get free shipping.

    • Isabella Muse

      I WAS SO TEMPTED by that Ulta Mastercard but I’m choosy with credit cards so I decided I wouldn’t go there but man it was tempting ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Cheryl

        I certainly caved and have enjoyed it for the four months I have had the card! So far, with my points, I have purchased both Too Faced chocolate bar palettes, one of the Laura Geller baked eyeshadow palettes, an It Cosmetics cc veil refill and blush brush, an UD naked skin corrector, a Neutrogena foundation and a variety of skin care products from Skinfood and other brands. There is so much less guilt associated with my hoarding habit when I don’t pay for my purchases! I have always made it a priority to pay off my credit cards in full each month. Otherwise, the interest would offset any benefit as the terms are not particularly favorable.

        • Isabella Muse

          NICE! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I might have to rethink getting one. I rarely use credit cards to be honest. I love my debit thought because I have Keep the Change with it. Every time I buy something I get to keep the left over change. It’s kind of cool because if I buy something for say $3.02, they take the other .98 cents and plop it into my savings account ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Cheryl

    GAK! Just saw that MAC IS COMING TO ULTA!!!!! Wellโ€ฆ Damn! The closest Mac retail location is two hours from me. Let’s get on with the free shipping, shall we Ulta? Hello? Ulta?!

  • Carol G

    I agree with some of the comments about at least lowering the shipping threshold to $25. The only thing I can think of as to why they wouldn’t roll out a free shipping program like Sephora’s is the fact that Ulta carries drugstore products. In other words, they have a lot more low cost items than Sephora does so if people continually ordered one drugstore item such as an Essence brand item, the shipping cost for them would outweigh the product cost. I use the Essence drying drops for my nails and those are $2.99. But I go through a bottle fairly quickly so imagine if I just ordered a bottle of those drops each month and got free shipping. I think they would end up losing money. But yes, $50 is way too high for free shipping because of the fact they sell drugstore brands. Also, Platinum should be at a reduced threshold as well. But honestly I do love Ulta because their rewards program can’t be beat. I currently have over $200 in free merchandise waiting for me in points. What does Sephora VIB Rouge do? Nothing except give you free shipping. Whoop-dee-doo. I can spend $10 on the flash shipping program and just be a VIB. However, if Ulta did offer free shipping it might make people order more!

  • Terri

    And how about showing Canada some love, Ulta?!! (along with free shipping, of course :D)

  • stephanie

    Yesssssss! I NEVER shop at Ulta online because of the shipping. Sephora, Nordstrom, Barneys, Neimans for me!

  • Crystal

    Luckily I’ve had only good experiences with customer services, but holy moly that website needs to be revamped! It’s a pain to check out!

  • Anu

    That is what bothers me about ULTA, the shipping cost is absurd. They need to either have a shipping program or bring the free shipping price down (spend $50 or more is the usual) or bring the shipping cost down. They would be wise to listen to their customers because like everyone else, this is the main reason I don’t shop at ULTA even though they are bringing on more brands. I love the fact that they offer my drugstore brands. Smart company’s know when they give free shipping and returns to customers they tend to spend more. I am still scratching my head as to why they have not done this.

  • Yelena Rivera

    yeah the free shipping really helps. even if its a $25 minimum. but I don’t always wanna spend $50 to get free shipping. I’m lucky enough to have an ulta close to me but they don’t always have what I’m looking for. I am really loving the ulta rewards system tho, it’s becoming more worth it to shop here for big ticket items that I am restocking and know will keep because of the rewards. however i do think sephora returns may be easier, so i usually shop at sephora when experimenting with new makeup items.

  • Anie

    Honestly, I’d prefer a lower flat rate with a guaranteed delivery time, and better packaging. Nothing like a box of broken powder arriving 2 weeks after you made your order. If the shipping time wasn’t so slow, it would make up for the price, but the lack of proper package padding is rather annoying.

  • Sarah Hubler

    I feel like they need a 3rd tier to their Rewards program that would give free shipping. I don’t need it to be 2-day like Sephora. But create a Diamond level or something that if we spent $600 a year would give us free shipping all the time, with no minimum spend. I can tell you right now, I would buy way more. (Oh, and pack your products in smaller boxes Ulta! That would save some money on shipping costs!! Their smallest shipping box is still huge.)

    I have to keep these comments in perspective too because Ulta does have a much different business model than Sephora. I appreciate that Ulta gives me cash back for my purchases instead of more mini samples (c’mon Sephora). So I get that part of their margins comes back to us like that. They also sell drugstore products which ultimately bring less $ to their bottom line. 50% margins on a $10 product gives you much less revenue than 50% on a $60 item. I also appreciate that Ulta does sales even on high
    -end brands way more often than Sephora.

  • kjh

    Lots of people have super ideas. IDC about the 50, but I do like those times that they lower the threshold to 35. Since Cosrx is a fave, and there’s always something back burnered or wishlisted, I can make the 50…or I wait. Also D.C. How long it takes, as long as it isn’t broken. I’ve had luck. I’m not desperate for any of this stuff. As to returns, fortunate enough to be able to do instore…and all are gracious. Have to return an EL foundation to S. List online had no chem sunscreens. Cosdnaed the product, and whoops, Butyloctyl Salicylate is one. Back it goes, without opening the box. I don’t care if it matches…the downside is too great. But here’s to free shipping in some manner at Ulta. Plenty of folks don’t want to have to meet the 50, which is high.