Monday, 24 March 2014

The Definitive Guide to Ordering from Sephora for Delivery to UK

The Definitive Guide to Ordering from Sephora for Delivery to UK
There has been a great deal of excitement, and more than a little hype, since Sephora.com enabled International Delivery to the UK on its US site, with a £10 £6 delivery charge on orders over £75 and the promise of no additional charges at point of delivery.
However, it is not quite as straight-forward as it seems and this post provides some clarity on shopping Sephora.com.  I also offer tips on how to get the best possible deals when shopping with Sephora in the UK (from both the .com and .fr sites) .

The questions that many people have fall into three categories:
Sephora International Checkout Showing UK Delivery & Taxes

How much will I pay?

  • The US site’s prices exclude sales tax as you browse, this will be added at checkout, it is 20% in line with UK VAT, so the price you see when browsing will increase by about 1/5th on checkout. This is almost double the sales tax applied within the US itself.
  • Your order total must be £75 before sales tax to qualify for the flat rate delivery charge of £6.
  • This means in reality a minimum order spend of £75 exactly will cost £96 exactly once tax and delivery have been added.
Sephora International Checkout Showing excluded products

What Can I Buy?

  • Due to courier rules about not carrying “hazardous materials”, certain types of product are excluded from International shipping including aerosols and items containing alcohol and solvents, such as nail polishes and nail polish removers.
  • Many brands that are already available in the UK (even if they are not widely available) are excluded from International Delivery. See below.
  • In both cases, these will highlight in red in your basket when you go to checkout, and have to removed before your order can progress.

How does it Work?

  • As you can see from the first picture above, the site recognises that you are from the UK from your computer’s IP address.
  • You must pay be Credit Card, you cannot use a Debit Card* or any other form of payment, such as Gift Card (* officially the site doesn't recognise debit cards but you may find that you can use yours without any issue - see the comments section below)
  • The website is silent about the process for returns on International orders, but I do have the information that you need.

How do prices compare?

I thought it would be useful to see how pricing compares across Sephora.com (delivery to US address) vs delivery to UK address) and their French Site Sephora.fr (delivery to UK address).  Did you know that you can order from Sephora.fr as well as Sephora.com?

I compared a basket containing 3 items (Marc Jacobs Lolita Palette and Genius Gel Foundation, plus a Sephora IT Palette in Nude).
Table Comparing the cost of a Sephora Order for delivery to UK
As you can see from the above, there is very little difference in price between International Orders from Sephora.com and Sephora.fr, as both currently work on a 20% sales tax rate.

What are the Pro’s and Cons of Spehora.com vs Sephora.fr

International Ordering Pro's & Cons - Sephora.com


Pros

  1. can join Beauty Insider instantly online, £10 £6 flat delivery rate
  2. website is in English
  3. returns are free, widest choice of brands and products (even after restrictions)
Cons 

  1. unable to use any promotional codes with order (either order discount or weekly specials)
  2. long time for returns to be processed
  3. many brands not available to order
  4. can only pay by credit card (not debit* see note above)
  5. not all brands listed on the site can be delivered to UK
Sephora France Checkout Showing Payment Options for UK

International Ordering Pro's & Cons - Sephora.fr

Pros 

  1. can pay by credit or debit card or Paypal
  2. all brands on the .fr site can be ordered for UK delivery
  3. no minimum order value for international delivery
  4. can join Sephora Carte loyalty scheme after placing first order
Cons 

  1. process for Sephora Carte for international orders is a bit convaluted
  2. returns are at your own expense
  3. not all brands/products on US site are also on .fr site
  4. higher flat rate shipping cost €15.9 (c£13.50 dependent on exchange rate)

Dips’ Top Tips for Best Obtaining Best Value from Sephora.com

Sephora International Checkout Showing Beauty Pass
  1. Sign-up for Sephora’s Beauty Insider reward programme and activate your membership email before placing your order. It is likely that you will earn enough points to reach the first threshold in an international order.
  2. At time of writing, it appears that Weekly Specials are not available on International Orders, but do check this section before checkout, as this may not always be the case.
  3. Make sure that you choose samples that are for products that can be shipped internationally


Dips’ Top Tips for Best Obtaining Best Value from Sephora.fr

Sephora France Checkout Showing Beauty Pass
  1. You will be able to register for Sephora Carte (loyalty programme) after your first order, but you will need to email your details to Customer Services as the website does not recognise UK postcodes
  2. If (like me) your French is not too good or non-existent, use Google Translate to translate the French site (you need to use a bit of common sense and intuition, but it does make the site useable)
  3. Go to Google.fr and search the term "sephora.fr Code promotionnel” to see if there are any offers or promotions.  I did this and found a time-limited 20%-off code (which was CAPRICE, valid until 31 March).

What about International Returns?

So what happens if you want to return something to Sephora.com?  You need email customerservice@sephora.com to receive a Return Authorization (RA) number, return instructions and return label. You don’t need the original packaging, just use a sturdy box to prevent damage in transit if it’s no longer available. You need to complete a return mailing form from Borderfree and then contact DHL for pick up or drop off and provide all forms to DHL.

You will be notified by email once your return has been processed.  However, you need to allow 45 business days for this process to be completed. The processing period does not include weekends or holidays. Original shipping and handling costs are non-refundable.

Even if you are visiting in the US, you can’t return your international order directly to a Sephora store or directly to Sephora.com. International orders returned to Sephora.com must be refunded to the purchaser?s credit card. They are unable to offer store credit to international clients or process the return as a gift (ie by issuing a gift card) s for international orders..
With Sephora.fr, you pay for returns yourself (which can be expensive) to an address in France.  Sephora will process the return within 10 days of recipt. For example, a 750g packet sent Airmail Small Packet (with compensation up to £20) would cost £6.40 or if sent by International Signed For Small Packet (with compensation up to £50), it would cost £11.70.

Sephora International Checkout Excluded Brands

Excluded Brands (as at March 2014)


There are over 200 brands on Sephora.com, and it seems that about 10% of them are not available for delivery to the UK.  These include:
 bareMinerals, Bobbi Brown, Bumble & Bumble, Buxom, Channel, Dior, Fresh, Givenchy, Hourglass, Illamasqua, Josie Maran, NARS, Smashbox, Soap & Glory and Urban Decay.

I really hope that this has been of help, please do comment if it has (as a fairly new blog, it would be great to get some feedback :-))

14 comments:

  1. Very informative and helpful, thank you.

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  2. Glad you found it of use. Subsequently, I have also discovered that you are not able to add promotional codes to International orders either on the .com site. Very frustrating when I recently received a 15% off email

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  3. Many thanks so full of information ;)

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  4. This was super helpful and I am going to bookmark this page/blog...and your blog is really lovely!!!

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  5. Hi, Thanks a ton for doing all the homework for me. All this info is so helpful! Just found your blog. Will be following you from now on. Keep up the good work

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  6. I've managed to place orders on sephora.com with my debit card. Most american sites I have found say put in a credit card no. but I just put in my debit details as I don't have a credit card and payment always goes through. Hope this helps :)

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  7. How much to I pay for shipping if I don't hit the £75? x

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  8. thank you very much, soooooo helpfull. any more updates for 2016??

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  9. Have you got any info for shipping, taxes and customs if you want to make an order under £75? Thanks!

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  10. Always looking for latest beauty products and if it works out cheaper getting them from retailer's own website. This was a big help. Copied and pasted in Notes. Thank you ❤️

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    ReplyDelete
  12. good explanation. Thanks for your article. we are also best service provider if you want our services then you can visit on our website. International P2P Delivery Platform

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    ReplyDelete