What had initially started as a beauty bonanza to reward loyal customers and gain new customers turned out to be a terrible scam from Sephora which left it's "Beauty Insiders", "VIB" and "VIB Rouge" members angry and frustrated at the beauty marketing scheme which was as poorly thought out as it was executed.
VIB stands for "Very Important Beauty" which does not make sense as a noun in English. Sephora has three levels of membership with Beauty Insider" being the basic tier and VIB Rouge as the premium tier of the three.
Sephora customers are taking to social media to vent their frustration, changing the campaign hashtag #EpicRewards to #EpicReturns and #EpicFail. Some have even called out this marketing gimmick by Sephora as an epic fraud.
The event (Pre-event shopping/ Marketing mechanism)
Sephora customers with memberships were encouraged to go a shopping spree to earn bonus points during a promotion period. Beauty Insiders get double points while VIB members gain triple points and VIB Rouge receive quadruple points for every purchase from the event period of Aug 3 to 9.
With these membership points, one was supposed to be able to redeem enticing skincare, make-up and perfume beauty sets at 1000 points, 2000 points, 5000 points and 10,000 points on the redemption date Aug 10.
Sephora partnered with some of the most well-known and sought-after beauty and fragrance brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Bobbi Brown and Bvlgari to put together exclusive sets for the event. Notable beauty bloggers and the fashion media were also alerted to cover the event.
As a result, the response was undoubtedly going to be overwhelming.
Beauty redemption gone wrong
Redemption is defined as "the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment"
Fundamental details such as the quantity of merchandise for redemption and timing of the event was unannounced
Such arrangements and poor marketing management did not benefit any one but only stood to frustrate customers.
It was soon clear to every one that the epic rewards programme was in fact not a redemption programme as soon as the event had begun and ended in less than a minute.
Sephora's Epic Rewards event was more of a sweepstake than a straightforward redemption. It was this misleading marketing promotion that angered customers who have purchased hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of products in order to earn points for the so-called "redemption".
Instead of being upfront with the ultra limited quantities which explained why the "redemption" was more likely a contest, Sephora chose to be deceptive, vague, knowingly manipulating and exploiting their loyal customers and feelings for their profits.
Out-roar and outrage from Customers
Instead of addressing the issue and spiralling complaints, the French cosmetic chain giant owned by Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy (LVMH), immediately launched a brand new contest titled "Sephora Sweeps" on Instagram to stand a chance to win a gift card. This, just minutes after the Epic Rewards event started and ended in less than a minute at 12 noon Pacific Time (3am Singapore time).
The result was akin to putting out smoke with fire.
Sephora's knee jerk reaction was both untimely and unwise spurring over 1,700 comments on their Sephora Sweeps Instagram contest post, of which mostly negative from angry customers.
Their clear disconnect with customers and inability to manage the launch and post-launch event activities for their digital marketing campaign exposed Sephora's clueless marketing team and its weak efforts.
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