Friday, November 22, 2013

The Friday Forum - November 22

Aren't turnips pretty? I love the way they look at the Farmer's Market, all showing different shades of purple, and all with their beautiful green foliage.

A lot happened this week in beauty land. Guerlain's flagship store at its historic address at 68 Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris opened its doors to the public last Saturday. Gleaming with a polished metal ceiling, four chandeliers by Baccarat, and a hall of mirrors, the space offers a modern home with elements of the past - the perfect mix of new and old for the historic brand. I'd love to see it. I have additional photos, sent by a friend in Paris. I hope to show them to you this weekend.

Nordstrom is revamping its beauty departments, reported by WWD, and I'm not sure the change is for the good. "The most dramatic modifications are to color cosmetics areas, where customers are encouraged to shop how they want, whether it is on their own by opening drawers brimming with makeup or with guidance from staff dedicated to specific brands or brand agnostic. Nordstrom is also simplifying beauty shopping by breaking down its vast selection by trend and key product, no matter what brand, and offering shoppers access to beauty concierges, trial sizes and applications, consultations, and other services so they can more fully experience the products.

This does not sound good to me. What I interpret the change to mean is that Nordstrom is turning its beauty departments into Sephora stores, where customers paw over the very same products I'm expected to purchase as new. That's a prime reason why I don't shop in Sephora stores. Why would Nordstrom make for-sale product available to the masses? It makes no sense to me.

Speaking of Sephora, I read a bizarre story on Facebook. A customer who orders almost every day (from the looks of her unopened boxes all stacked up) was banned from ordering online. Apparently they sent her a notice telling her she would no longer be able to order online, but she was welcome in their stores. What? I read the Terms of Service, and there is no limitation on how much a customer can buy. There is something squirrelly about this story. I called Sephora for "comment," but could get nothing specific out of the rep with whom I spoke. Naturally, I did not mention this customer's name; that would be a violation of her privacy if I or Sephora discussed her account. Have you ever heard of anything this strange? She is not a frequent returner, which might account for the company's reaction.

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Photos courtesy of hort.perdue.edu and Guerlain

23 comments:

fgirl said...

I wonder if that person was buying all the stock of a popular or limited item(s) and was caught re-selling it on ebay for a higher profit?

Walls said...

Nothing new in my beauty world this week, as my purchasing has slowed down to sporadic droplets rather than even a trickle, but I wanted to comment because I am appalled to hear of Nordstrom changing their merchandising design. I had visions of Nordstrom becoming Sephora even before I read your analogy, and I cringed at the idea because like you, CG, I avoid Sephora stores for the same reasons. I guess Nordstrom did extensive research, though, and decided this would be the way of the future?!

Happy weekend, everyone and CG!

Walls said...

Have a great weekend* (I think my previous post contained a typo)!

Anonymous said...

Earlier this year, I signed up for a Sephora offer that for $25, gave me 2 day shipping for anything I ordered. I am ashamed to say that I once used it to get a $1 nail polish so that that I could have a 100 point perk sent to me. I imagine that if you do that a lot (say, order a 1 or 2 dollar item and collect the free samples PLUS 2 day shipping), you would be costing a whole lot more than you were worth in shipping and packaging expense. Especially since I think some customers got the same offer for $10 a year! It would explain the stacks of boxes as well as Sephora's request that she shop at the stores instead.

Anonymous said...

I've been frustrated with Sephora lately. I am "VIB Rouge" and never received my promo code for the VIB 20% off sale this novemeber... Thanks Sephora, but I think I'll go spend my beauty dollars somewhere else.

Eileen said...

I've not made any beauty related purchases this past week as my focus has been on getting ready for Thanksgiving. I'm hostessing so that means there is a lot to do. We're having out-of-town guests for the long weekend as well, so it's a bit more involved than a one day food fest. I'm really looking forward to having so many people I love all at the same time :-)

That Sephora situation is interesting, but I can actually think of a lot of reasons why she might be banned from online shopping. 1) Does the lady habitually purchase an excessive number of the same thing? Many stores limit the quantity you can purchase because they are concerned about resale for profit or not having enough LE stock to go around. 2) Daily credit card charges might also be an indicator of some type of credit card fraud taking place. 3) Is she using someone else's credit card? A name or address mismatch would be a red flag to the retailer. 4) Does she have a conservatorship that has put the kibosh on her daily online shopping? 5) Does she purchase an item at a time possibly costing Sephora more in shipping and handling than the cost of the item? 6) Does the lady have a lot of complaints about "damaged" items which need to be replaced? Generous free shipping and return policies are nice for the customer, but the cost of handling, packing, and shipping is not free for the retailer. Then there is also the cost of replacing the damaged products and going to the expense of packing them up and shipping them out again. If the number of complaints she makes is significantly higher than in the general population, Sephora decide she's just too much time, trouble, and expense. 7) Perhaps it's not her personally, but that Sephora has had an unusually large number of complaints from customers in her same delivery area and so they don't want to ship there any longer. 8) Does she call customer service excessively to complain about imagined wrongs or things she simply doesn't like? 9) If she calls customer service, is she unreasonably demanding and abusive? That can get a person banned pronto!

In any event, Sephora obviously has its reason for prohibiting this lady from online purchasing and is very wise--from both a business and legal standpoint--to not make any public comment on it. Personally, I don't blame Sephora for not wanting to become embroiled in a public brouhaha of this lady's making.

I imagine many of you will begin preparations for Thanksgiving if you haven't already started. I love the idea of getting together with loved ones to relax and enjoy each other's company and share a good meal. There's tremendous value in that custom; a value that has escaped the notice of some retailers like Macy's and Walmart that will be opening their doors at midnight. Besides, we all know by now that the best bargains are not necessarily to be found on Black Friday. I love the old joke, "This year I saved thousands of dollars on Black Friday. I stayed home!" LOL

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Deb said...

That is indeed a very strange story about the Sephora customer. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around any retailer telling a customer they were ordering too much online. Something is off here and it sounds like there is much more to the story. Would love to hear any additional details CG...if you get them.

Charleston Girl said...

Hi fgirl,

Who knows? She was not forthcoming about the reason.

Charleston Girl said...

Walls, in my mind, their change could kill their beauty business. I'm not going to buy products that could have been opened and "tested" by the masses.

Charleston Girl said...

Walls, if you had a typo, you can join my exclusive club. :)

Charleston Girl said...

Anonymous, true, but I don't think that was her MO. She loves buying stuff.

Charleston Girl said...

Anonymous, that is downright ridiculous. Did you complain? Mine came in the U.S. mail, BTW.

Charleston Girl said...

Eileen, who knows? The only thing I do know is that she is not a serial returner. I saw an interesting piece on the news the other day about companies starting to restrict their return policies. Frankly, some of them were ridiculous. REI, an outdoors "stuff" company, used to take returns forever, no questions asked. They have now limited that to one year. Sill ridiculous in my mind. If I owned Neiman Marcus, I would not accept used makeup for any reason other than allergic reactions. Too many people treat cosmetics companies like "try it out" centers.

Sandra Sallin said...

I recieved a sample of La Mer's liquid foundation and have been trying it out all week. I must say I love it. Haven't read many reviews about it so I question myself. But I love the quality. Kinda satiny.

But haven't purchased it yet.

Dlori said...

I've been having a lot of problems with sephora lately and while I dont understand why sephora would limit a customers orders online, I do believe this woman;s story. I know sephora hired an outside company to regulate it's returns and their rules are outlandish. There are plenty of people who are very ill, who don't have a sephora near them, who don't drive, etc and the only way for them to get their products is online. To restrict them is ridiculous. In this last sale, I spent almost $1800 including 2 nuface machines, one for me, one for mom. One of the machines had been opened, the seal had been sliced open and it had been handled. It was also missing the gel that goes with the product so that's going back. Received 2 palettes that had clearly been opened. They were YSL, had fingerprint marks all over the outside of box as well as the gold palette itself and one of the shadows had been lightly swatched. I am a VIB Rouge member and since the program started, I have received absolutely nothing extra than what I had received as a VIB. Before spending so much money to become a Rouge member, I asked a ton of questions as to what I would receive, the benefits of being a Rouge member. All different things were promised but none have come true. With almost every order I've placed with sephora in the last 7 months, every order has a problem and multiple items have to go back because of the fault of sephora, not me. And for those who actually shop in store, at least for me, it's not what it used to be. Customers opening up drawers that only employees should be opening. I've seen customers open up brand new lipsticks, apply them to their lips and then put it back into the box and throw it back into the drawer. I try not to go there anymore because I get so grossed out. I've seen people opening, using and putting back mascaras. I told a sales person what I saw last time I was there and she couldn't care less. I'd rather shop at Bergdorfs or henri bendels and know the quality is great than chance it at sephora anymore.

Eileen said...

Hi Sandra,

Last spring I bought La Mer in Ivory and wore it throughout the spring and summer. When the bit of summer color began fading from my complexion, I bought Porcelain and mixed the two shades for a couple weeks until Porcelain alone was the perfect match. Whether for day or evening wear, I love it's medium coverage and the soft luminescence that is most becoming especially on dry or mature complexions. It goes on silky smooth, evens out the complexion effortlessly, doesn't emphasize pores, lines, or crepiness, and dries to a soft, real skin glow that lasts all day. It plays beautifully with all my finishing powders as well so I can create a velvet finish or add as much glow as I want. I think three reasons why you don't see a lot of blogger reviews is its price, the limited shade selection, and the fact that it is really at its best on mature skins. I think it is simply a superb foundation :-)

A Delicate Rosie Beauty said...

I stopped going into Sephora after I saw a woman take her Irish Wolf Hound into the store. I love dogs, but that was too much for me. I really hope Nordstrom reconsiders the change.

My beautyhabit order arrived today! I chose Delicata blush from Rouge Bunny Rouge after looking at your post. Thank you! It's beautiful on the skin. I love it.

Anonymous said...

After reading these comments I don't think I will be purchasing makeup in the Sephora store again and will ne looking to see if it is used when I get a delivery. I never thought people would be so gross as to use the new makeup in the boxes and put it back for others to buy. Yuck!
I won't be buying makeup at Nordstrom if they make that change which is a shame since it is one of my favorite places.

Christine said...

Like everyone else here, I am really disappointed to hear about Nordstrom's new plan. I am very particular about things that go on my face and making sure they're germ free. Can't tell you how many times I have purchased items from Sephora that look opened, if not used. I also dislike sales associates opening the box and handling the item I am purchasing. Inevitably, they always drop the pouch or applicator on the floor and act like it's no big deal as though their floors are clean.

Anonymous said...

CG, I did complain, but customer service told me to make sure I am signed up to receive promotional emails and to "stay tuned for coming offers". I didn't even think of asking about US mail. Seems like there is nothing I can do now but start shopping around elsewhere in the future.

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Our Nordie's - I am very sorry to say - has the absolute worst SA's in cosmetics AND rarely has anything great or new stocked properly. The SA's in this particular store are pushy and uninformed. Bah humbug! Bring on the new system -- the current beauty department is disappointing!

Kristina said...

My Nordie's also has pushy sales reps. I read a lot of beauty blogs and shop online, so I'm more informed than most of the beauty sales reps. One time, I was asked by 5 reps in 5 minutes if I needed help and I just left. Wasn't even allowed to browse at the different counters.Another rep, even though I said I'd like to look kept following and kept trying to push her nail polish brand on me. I wrote the store manager because I felt harrassed. It was supposed to be relaxing, and it was horrible. That's gross about Sephora and I buy a lot there, considering not doing that in future.

S Derrick said...

Wow! This was really an eye opening post and comments. I am only a BI and I've received nothing for a discount this year. I don't like the changes coming to Nordstrom either.