August 14, 2019

Why Are The Beauty Rewards and Incentives So Much Better for Non-Buyers?

Did you hear a few weeks ago that Sephora sent out targeted e-mails to inactive accounts and non-buyers to get 30% off an entire purchase? Yup! 30% off! Three zero! Thirty! People, I have been shopping Sephora for over twenty years now and never in all my time have I saved 30% off an entire purchase. I was shopping the Friends and Family Sale before it was an actually event or a thing! And I’ve only ever saved 20% off.

Edit: Thanks to Jill for clearing up that it was 30% Off $100 purchases!

Both Ulta and Sephora have started targeting accounts that they feel aren’t actively buying with higher incentives or more incentives lately. I noticed last year during the Holidays that Ulta kept pushing 20% off to accounts that weren’t part of the Rewards program. Sephora was also doing the same. If they noticed you didn’t buy something during the original Rewards Event Sale they proceeded to extend the offer to you again. I know for a fact that they were sending 20% off to inactive accounts because my sister got an offer.

The uproar was real though when they sent out 30% non-buyers. I mean, dude, how are you going to give accounts that aren’t spending anything money a better reward than ones that do spend money? It feels unfair. I can appreciate they want to regain consumers they may have lost but give them a dollar reward or 10-15% off at best! 30% seems insane since that isn’t an offer that has ever been sent out to Rouge Members who do spend major money at Sephora.

How do you feel about Beauty Rewards and Incentives going out to non-buyers or inactive accounts? Or even higher percentages and dollar amounts off than Reward Members?

I have to admit I do get a little disappointed and upset at this. Like I said I do appreciate they want to lure back customers but don’t do so by pissing off your main customer base!


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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  • Jess

    I feel like they know an active buyer is going to buy even without a discount whereas an inactive buyer will not and they want that person’s money as well and yes people will get pissed but sephora knows they’re still going to keep buying from them. Anger only lasts until the next must have palette comes out.

    As for me, I’m not active but that’s because I have limited finances. Even with a discount I’m not buying anything. I have enough to last me the rest of my life anyway. I just like to look and dream 🙂

    • Isabella Muse

      I appreciate they want to draw in non spending customers and I’m ok with them offering incentives but jeepers to give an incentive bigger than already active rewards members drives me nuts ;-D Don’t hate me for saying that ;-D Girl, nothing wrong with looking and creaming! I’m sure you already have plenty of makeup anyway!

      • Kristy Bircher

        Business still have not learned that it is cheaper to keep current customers than gain new. Plus they forget the value of word of mouth aka treat your customers well they will sing your praises.

  • kimkats

    this makes me SO MAD!!! It’s the same thing that magazines and directv and a whole crapload of other places do. All they’re interetsed in is getting NEW customers – and we, the old and loyal (tho increasing less so) customers foot the bill for it. If any of them gave 2 chits for the longstanding customer, they’d be focused on KEEPING us, and keeping us happy. But newp. They’re more concerned with getting new ones by giving them all sorts of incentives to buy and join up, instead of making even a modicum of effort to keep the customers that they already have happy by rewarding them with the kind of discounts they’re offering to newbies/nonmembers/nonsubscribers.

    I’ve always found this maddening beyond words and it’s just such a shameless money grab, and really shows how little they care about the customers they do have.

    Ok, end of rant. But I wish *someone* would sit up and take notice that this REALLY pisses off their current customer base, and then do something about it…..

    **grumps off back into my corner** 🙂

    • Isabella Muse

      I think it’s logical to offer incentives to new customers or even ones that aren’t active but jeez not more than active Rewards Members! 🙁 LOL grump away I’m with ya!

  • Sara

    Victoria’s Secret does this too with $10 off emails to inactive accounts. I get one occasionally. But the email address I do shop with (they keep sending to my old school email), I never get those. Sephora in general could use some improvements to its reward program for people who actually spend money there regularly.

  • Wendy Sue

    I’m just going to create a 2nd non active account (with a different email address). Two can play this game.

  • Nicole

    I can understand why Sephora is doing this because people who are loyal customers are going to spend the money regardless of a coupon or not whereas non-buyers aren’t. 30% off is a HUGE incentive for non-buyers, so from a business stand point I totally get it. Is it effective is what I’d like to know. Is a coupon enough for a non-buyer to become a loyal customer? BUT! I think it’s a load of horse poop! Granted, I mostly buy when they do their 20% off but man it’s ANNOYING to know someone got 30% off! Loyal customers would probably buy way more than a non-buyer with a 30% coupon and continue to buy in the future, right?! I wouldn’t say I’m loyal like other customers, but I would definitely buy more than I usually do with that 30% off….I wonder if reactions like ours will maybe influence Sephora to give out higher amount coupons to all customers.

    • Isabella Muse

      true! true! I agree but I’d probably be happier if it was a bit lower! Seems sort of unfair to people that are part of the rewards system and do spend money and are loyal to the store to not also get one. I think 10 or even 15 percent might be great to lure people in but 30%? I’ve never gotten that from Sephora and I blow a ton of cash there! ouch 🙁 feelings hurt!

  • Kimmwc03

    No way! How unfair!

    I was happy to get 15% off a foundation recently because they said “it’s been a while.” I guess I had bought everything but foundation recently. I’d rather have 30% off but I guess I should be happy I got NARS Sheer Glow on sale before I run out of my current foundation. 🙂

  • Adrienne

    So many valid points here and it annoys me as well. I used to get them from time to time from other sites when I didn’t order I’m all about free shopping no minimum. I noticed that because they track where you go and what emails get your attention your next promo focuses on that. They annoy me not catering to the local customers and I like the other person had that issue with my cable provider and they jacked up my prices and said they were focusing on attracting new customers. I told them they needed to worry about retention because people are looking for a deal and will leave or not purchase once the promo ends. The response I received was they generated enough new customers and reven to offset the loss of customers. I think both Sephora and Ulta as well as others need to do a better job at rewarding it’s loyal customers. We are more educated shoppers now and won’t blindly spend our money anymore. I could think of many things to use 30% on like that new Glow Recipe Avocado Retinol mask.

    • Isabella Muse

      wow just wow on the cable company! How crappy is that? I think Ulta thus far is doing a good job with rewards compared to Sephora which has a really crappy reward system!

      • Adrienne

        Yes it blew me away too so I boxed everything up and ended service. I don’t receive half the promos for Ulta and hear about it from you, then activate the ones I am eligible for. I am platinum there but won’t be next year based on what they said I needed to spend. Same with Sephora I dropped a level and haven’t tried to earn it back by spending my own money :). Same with Victoria Secret and maybe that’s best as we are learning we get better deals that way.

        • Isabella Muse

          I would too! Might as well just get an amazon fire stick and call it a day! It’s a shame that emails don’t get sent out to people! I hear a lot of the same from people! That they are platinum but never get email alerts!

  • kjh

    I agree w/ the rants about trying to lure in newbies and lure back low buy existing customers with a discount that exceeds what regular customers get. And it’s not just the discounts; the tf, Tarte, etc palettes are examples of the same thing. Bring on the next generation; you people are expendable. Product is Grammable and forgotten, in a week. Issued twice a month, even. How quickly can you say HL, N Rack, TJX companies? I may be a grudge holder, but S’s tactics (rouge 4 Eva) have led me to treating them as a last resort. The latest Ulta multiplier thing did frost me though…once I understood it. So much is deceptive practices, and CAN’T STAND THAT. Still, won’t burn my palettes in protest, as we did with our bras, BITD.

  • Abbey

    I am platinum at Ulta and requalified for platinum in March. They recently ran 4x points for platinum members and I wasn’t included. When I sent them an email about it they stated that it wasn’t for ALL platinum members, just targeted ones. I was very annoyed by that. I also still haven’t received my sale info from Sephora. It is annoying that they don’t seem to do as much to reward loyal shoppers.

    • Isabella Muse

      that’s really sad! I actually thought the 4x rewards was for all Platinum and only recently realized it was targeted :-/

    • kjh

      Moi, aussi, though I won’t be back to platinum as soon. That’s what frosted me. I did get more points than purchase, though that’s part of the drill. If they don’t explain that your status is not part of whatever promo it is….they are big deceptive.

  • Rachel Runyan

    I’ve heard of a lot of people getting two 20% off coupons in the last few months, as well. It’s ridiculous! I spend a crap-ton of money at Sephora, and get two 20% offs a year for being VIB Rouge. People who spend very little are getting great rewards. It just goes to prove what people have been saying all along: Sephora member rewards suck.

    • Isabella Muse

      Interesting! I know people were getting targeted dollar amounts off!

  • Lisa

    I was just emailed today a 20% off fragrance from Sephora. I was like, whaaaa? I hardly ever purchase from them anymore. I’m a BI and the usual 10% is lame. Now I know why. And I probably still won’t use it!

    • Becky Neemann

      I got a 15% off fragrance purchase from Sephora yesterday. I wonder how they determine who gets what deal. I agree that I probably won’t use my discount either. And I’m also just a BI and the 10% IS lame. I’m platinum at Ulta so I will just wait until the fall 21 Days of Beauty hit. That’s coming soon!

  • Frozendiva

    That’s not cool.

    Doubt that the 30% off coupon sent to the non-buyer will turn a lot of them in to buyers. They may get something for the sake of the discount, or some will just click ‘delete’. Interesting to see what data they are collecting with this – how many of these discounts will bring back the customer.

    It’s the same with phone companies, cable providers, etc. Loyal customers are lucky to get a new modem. New ones may get a TV, or iPad, or laptop, whatever for a 2 year loyalty. The catch is that if you cancel before the 2 years, you have to pay back some or most of the value of the ‘gift’.

  • Suzanne

    It’s this way in the business I’m in as well- any sales based company does this. You are always trying to get new accounts and inactive accounts it helps your numbers whereas currently active buyers are already baked in to the projected sales so to speak- giving someone who you know is going to spend $ anyway 30% instead of 20% doesn’t really change much whereas bringing someone new or inactive back to the fold increases you for that sale plus gives you the opportunity for new repeat business going forward. Not saying it seems fair but it’s common in any rewards based program.

    • Isabella Muse

      Valid point Suzanne! I do think we get set in to how we spend even though we are loyal customers!

    • Kristy Bircher

      Understandable but are you more likely to get someone back at 30% rather than 20%. By taking your current customers for granted (giving better discounts to non loyal customers), you are opening the door for another competitor to seize the opportunity with a better loyalty program or a really good deal for new customers.

  • Denise

    I have a friend who keeps getting $15 off of $50 codes from ULTA (where she rarely shops). She sends the codes to me, I make a purchase, everybody’s happy!

    • Christina

      I get those and $5 off $15 which is a similar % off for a smaller purchase. One has to read the small print though. Sometimes “prestige” brands are excluded from the discount.

  • Charity

    Bath & Body Works sends out very rare free 3-wick candle coupons to people who don’t ever shop either to lure them in. I’ve only seen the coupons maybe 3 times in working for BBW for 3 years now. Employees rarely ever get candle gratis! I’d kill for a 30% at Sephora. Hmmm time to go not shop…

    • Isabella Muse

      omg they do? crazy as I buy candles and hoard them like they are going out of style sometime soon!

  • Christine Nogueira

    Hi Isabella, thank you for bringing this up, I’d never know otherwise. Yes, it is outrageous, I’m talking to Sephora today XXOX

  • Christina Allen

    I agree with everything you wrote. Additionally, I’ve been drifting away from Sephora due to my finances and all the many other retailers (like Ulta) and brands/companies that I can buy from directly now. Thanks to YouTube influencers, blogs like yours and the brands, themselves, I’m a more sophisticated shopper and am more picky about where my money goes. Sephora used to be the gold standard, but they are slipping both in quality and prestige. THIS little stunt makes lowers their brand even further in my eyes.

    • Isabella Muse

      I admit I still shop Sephora but there are ways they really need to improve on CS and rewards! but like you, I feel like I can get better deals from brands directly or other retailers. Sephora def needs to do something to lure people back they are losing :-/

  • Laura

    I did not get a 30% off only the foundation one that was going around. Not that it’s right, but my guess is that they are doing 30% because the people targeted aren’t even buying when Sephora has the 15% or 20% off.

  • Lynne

    I agree ❗️Loyal customers apparently are not valuable . I find this situation rude and disrespectful to those of us who have been loyal customers to Sephora. Please add comments together and let Sephora know . Thank You…

  • Jill

    hold up, hold up! as i understand it (and i GOT one of the offers), it was not an attempt to “lure new customers in”. it was an attempt to “invite formerly good customers BACK”. big diff. the reason i got the offer – and it was plainly stated – is because i spent madly up to Rouge status last year, and had yet to spend a dime in the store this year. it was a “we miss you” type of thing.

    not only that, but – AND THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL YOU MEMBERS LAMENTING SOMEBODY ELSE GETTING SOMETHING BETTER THAN YOU GOT – it was a limited coupon. it was 30% off up to $100. it was NOT 30% off everything you can haul out the door! so it was not better than what the diehard, money-spending members get.

    sheesh, everybody, calm TF down. it’s all good. and no, i don’t work for sephora. i work for another store that Muse comes in from time to time. but i will never out her!

    • Isabella Muse

      Hi I’m one of the most lamenting what somebody else is getting better than what I got sorry eep! Thanks for clearing things up about 30% though as my understanding it was targeted to inactive accounts. None the less, a lot of these targeted offers can be a bit unfair at times but I get why they are trying to lure back old customers! You’re not outing me. Where do we know each other from? and why haven’t you come up to say hey! I always love meeting readers!

    • Christina

      Good points. I thought it was 30% off any and everything.

      Overall, I’m far less impressed with Sephora than I used to be, due to price points, customer service, gift offerings and other incentives. The churn and burn of staff is another thing that’s new. There was a time when all Sephora staffers were actual MUAs, now they seem like regular folks/aspiring enfluencers who know how to do their own faces, but not a wide range of complexions, ethnicities, types, etc. my remarks have deviated a bit from the promotion discussion, but the go hand in hand as to why I’m not so impressed with Sephora these days.

      • Isabella Muse

        just a note about MUAs. It’s not only sephora I feel like this. I always feel like MAC is another place where they really don’t know how to do makeup! They always try and match me with the oddest shades. I remember wanting to try to a new liquid liner at mac once but I was very unsure about it and also, I know I suck at applying it. So, I thought hey, this MUA has a perfect wing I’ll ask her to try it on me. Man, I looked crazy after she applied. It was all out of wack! Her own liner was perfect but I guess she just didn’t know how to apply it on me! Shrug!

  • Jill

    LOL i didn’t say anything ‘cause i didn’t want to go on fangirly on you, “omg, are you…isabella?!?”

    but we did talk because i rang you up (hint: you were buying candles), and i did want to know if it really was you, so i tried to think of what do i know about you. aha! i said to myself, and i started chatting you up about the weather. you said you didn’t like the summer, you much preferred the winter. SCORE! then i knew it was you. i just smiled and said, “that’s so funny; i have a friend who looks just like you and she likes the winter better too.”

    you probably don’t remember, it was about six weeks ago, but yeah. that was me.

    • Isabella Muse

      Oh wait wait wait! I THINK I know who you are. Poughkeepsie Mall, BBW, you helped me twice! about….three weeks ago and earlier in the Summer like you said!? I was with my sister the first time (I don’t know if you remember that first time)!! She was the picky one that ended up not buying her haul lol! I’m trying to conjure your face in my mind right now it’s slowly coming to me! White Barn side right? Oh my gosh why didn’t you say something I’d have loved to hear you read my blog ;-D I have a summer home in Rhinebeck so I’m always on rt 9 shopping! How awesome is that? ;-D and yes, I told you everyone has a twin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! haha! Crazy! Nice to officially meet you Jill! I’ll be soon for a Fall candle haul lol! ;-D I hope my mad rant on beauty incentives hasn’t completely turned you off to say hi again when I stop in ;-D

      • Isabella Muse

        PS I thought you were going to say Home Goods kingston because I LIVE there LOL! The cashiers practically know me by name (and I don’t think it’s because of the blog I just think it’s because I spend WAY too much time in that store)! I was there two weeks ago and one of the cashier’s was so comfortable with me she proceeded to spend 20 minutes telling me about how she thought she was having a heart attack but it turned into a kidney stone lol! I thought you were going to tell me home goods kingston for SURE!

    • Isabella Muse

      HA! I feel like I won the lotto! ;-D and you were super nice! I wish I knew you read my blog. See you really soon I’m sure. I got a few of the Fall candles but def need some more. I think we even discussed how some are available online exclusively haha ;-D

    • Isabella Muse

      awww thanks <3! ps edited my post to add on what you said about it being 30% off $100!

  • Linda

    Was very upset. need to give it people who spend a lot of money. Thinking now about going on low buys both at Sephora and Ulta. Why should I give them my money and don’t give back

    • JumperRider


      I completely agree with you. I have been on a no/low buy for a while since nothing was interesting to me in the way of new releases. I did spend a lot for great skincare and picked up two new Chanel products I am in love with (a color correcting primer that works) and their CC cream that is perfect for daily use as a nice foundation. Outside of that and buying only to replace empties, I stopped spending. I am still at my qualifying levels but do want to pick up some things during the Rouge sale since I have more empties and there re a few more expensive things I held off buying. lmt

  • Melissa

    Its definitely targeted marketing on my eyes. I had been looking for foundation sales for Tarte when a coupon from Sephora showed up.

    So I got the 20% off coupon, but let me say that it wasn’t off any purchase. It was only off a purchase of foundation and did have fine print.

    I haven’t shopped at Sephora for about 6 months, so I did go buy new foundation. Oh and wouldn’t you know the color I was wearing by Tarte needed to be changed up and now you can hardly tell I’m wearing a foundation. I’ll take it.

    Do I think it’s not fair that they don’t offer this to everyone? Yes.
    But I’m no longer at the higher beauty insider status because Sephora changed that so I usually get the standard 10% off and now at the year end sales and last year Macy’s had better beauty sales so I shopped there.

    So sure I’ll take the one time 20% off and get some Tarte foundation instead of doing the 30% off on their website and waiting for shipping.

  • JumperRider

    I can understand trying to bring in new customers, but to extend higher offers than customers spending at levels that get us to Rouge and Diamond (for me within weeks of launch), is an insult and leaves me feeling unappreciated as a loyal customer since I maintain my status consistently. I was not aware of this trend until now, but I did hear about customers getting samples in the mail, something I never received from Ulta, and frankly, the Birthday gifts at Ulta are underwhelming. Had I known I would be getting a full-size bronzer (my only choice), I would not have paid full price for the same product and used it two weeks before I found out what the next few months of birthday gifts would be I would not have purchased it. If that is not bad enough, I found the Marc Jacobs bronzer is a far better match for me and the gift is not one I can use, so it is of no value to me. How about a 20% off (everything) discount and 10X points in addition to a choice of several gifts and allow us to use the discount at will, but not more than twice in the month and 10X points for the duration of the month? Heck, with that you can skip the free gift. I would also like to see free shipping for Platinum and Diamond at Ulta with no minimum purchase (see Sephora Rouge) as well as far more 20% off full product range discounts and high multipler combo days. They recently ran some short term promotions and I work in the city during the week and my hours are long, so shopping after work is not on my agenda. It is not easy for me to take advantage of one day or short term (four-hour long) promotions. I am at work to work, not to shop. Ulta needs to be mindful of this and be more accommodating to those of us that work and do not have the liberty to use company resources and time for personal reasons. I doubt their corporate office would sanction similar behavior. Just my thoughts on promotions and the lack of thought that goes into some of them.

    • Isabella Muse

      I feel the same. I understand wanting to draw new customers in but I get a little tiffed it was higher than anything they’ve offered me as a loyal customer! I’d love to see free shipping at no min as well at Ulta or I’d willing pay for some sort of Flash like Sephora. $10 a year or something would be fine by me! OMG I HATE the four hour promotion! They are so dumb! 24 Hours maybeeeeeeee I’d be ok with but 4 hours really?