Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Temptalia Asks You


What earns your loyalty to a beauty brand? Is it just quality? How important is customer service?

Temptalia's AnswerFor me, loyalty is first dictated by product quality AND consistency–I really, really appreciate a product range that’s consistent, whether that’s bad or good, because then you know to whether it’s a must-have when a new shade comes out or something to avoid. Customer service has a huge impact, but it comes down to when I need it – because if it’s been so-so or fine generally, that’s enough for me, but if something does go wrong, and they provide poor customer service, that can be enough to lose me as a customer.

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56 thoughts on “What earns your loyalty to a beauty brand?

  1. k

    Aside from consistency and general good product, but also how well they treat their customers. Like for example Illamasqua had a fun Easter giveaway and I entered. I didn’t win, but they STILL sent me a 20% coupon just for entering. Also being Cruelty-Free/vegan/eco friendly gets big points with me too.

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jill AnGeLwInGz

    Consistently good quality and customer service of course. I can’t afford to follow a whole lot of brands because it gets expensive but the ones I always look out for are Urban Decay, Chanel, and Dior. I don’t have specifics to where I purchase my Urban Decay but I like to try out the other 2 in-store and then order directly from their websites online (when there’s a free shipping promo). I always receive my items within 2-3 days tops with both companies. If I need to return something they make it so easy, without hassle. When I wanted to return a nail polish from Dior I needed to make an inquiry and they contacted me by phone and e-mail the same day. I also appreciate the little things, like wrapping my items very pretty and including a thank you card. It makes me feel like they really value me as a customer.

  3. Michelle

    Honesty in advertising, consistent products, and good customer service. Smaller brands that do catty exclusion/Mean Girls style tactics also are automatically off my list.

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Cortni ForeverGlamorous2

    Product quality is definitley the first thing I look for in a brand however consistency is more of a consistency across a particular product than the entire brand itself. For example they have amazing eyeshadows but the foundations are a flop rather than just a “good” rating across the entire brand. No animal testing is also not a bad thing ;)
    Customer Service however, will make or break the brand for me especially when it comes to returns or mistakes in the order.

  5. Consistent high quaility, as in high pigmentation in makeup products, a nice smooth formulation in lipstick. Also, pretty packaging that is also practical. Wearable but unique colors. Good value, like NYX has. Staying power through different eras like Revlon and Clinique have. A touch of fun, like the names of OPI polishes. Long wear is important, too, so you don’t spend all day touching up.

    :) BeautyJones

  6. Angela H.

    The products have to work for me to continuously purchase the brand.

  7. Consistent good experience! An occasional flop is not going to change my mind, but if SOME of the eyeshadows are great while others are lukewarm, then I wouldn’t have the same level of confidence.

  8. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Elisa Love Elisa Love West Indies

    Products quality
    Products affordable

  9. Mar

    Honestly I didn’t have brand loyalty until Illamasqua showed up. I love their ideology for their brand – Makeup For Your Alter Ego. I love that they embrace individuality and art, and use theater as a jumping point for quality and vibrancy of color. I love all of their ads and their short movies (Born Again) and setting up classes and awards. They won my heart with the S.O.P.H.I.E. campaign. While bold and daring they are also conscientious with tools that are vegan and does not contain GMO’s or sulfates.

  10. Dormouse

    Consistently good product quality is #1. Good customer service, esp. a good return policy.

  11. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Amy amy

    The most important aspect following the quality of a brand, is the accessability of the product. I love the fact that when NARS, for example, puts out a Limited Edition product, which isn’t every month, they actually make the item available for several months, preventing the need to turn to online sellers (who jack up the prices), and impulse buys; I actually have some time to think about whether I really want it, instead of grabbing it before it’s gone. The same goes for Urban Decay, Tarte, and LORAC, which are my top four. I also gravitate toward brands that have stand-out colors.

    I actually really liked MAC, for a while, until I realized every item (it seemed) was LE; if a product is really so spectacular that it merits LE status, why not make it available a bit longer, or at least introduce “permanant” items more often? I guess I really don’t have any real requirements to earn loyalty, but I can easily be dissuaded to bother with a particular brand.

    Customer service is such a non-issue for me. I *rarely* return an item, I like to browse without any “help” from a SA (read: pressure to buy something, even if I don’t want/need/like it), and as far as how they pack my items, as long as nothing gets broken, I could care less what they put it in, as it just gets thrown away; it doesn’t make me feel “special”, as I know they do it for *everyone*, and it’s their *job*. I do have a couple of SA’s at the two Sephora locations I primarily frequent that I’ve built a sort of relationship with, but I think it’s because we actually engage in general conversations about specific brands/products and they know that I go in knowing what I want, so there is no need to “show” me anything else, unless I ask. The two stores are in the same mall, and I do feel a bit more loyalty to the one in JCPenney, because it’s been there the longest, so I always check there first.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Maggie Maggie

      Agreed on all points except for how customer service is a non-issue for you. The nearest department stores to me are at least several hundred miles away so I frequently have to order online. In-store “sampling” is not an option for me to figure out whether or not a product is right. I rely on bloggers and SA’s available on the phone or through live chat to narrow down on products that MIGHT work for my needs. As long as I’m not treated rudely (which I haven’t been so far) then I’ll keep buying for as long as I need/want those products.

      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Amy amy

        I was speaking for myself, based on my own needs; I am lucky to live in a major US city where stores are literally everywhere, and it seems (to me) that they are all competing for my money, and it all seems kind of false. I do realize there are some SAs who actually *enjoy* what they do, but alot also seem to only be doing it for the paycheck (this includes all retail types). i’ve only had one “bad” experience recently, at a Nordstrom Armani counter, where 2 SAs were trying to sell a woman on a product, all the while looking right at me, for more than 10 minutes. i just figured they were the ones missing out on a guaranteed sale, as I knew what I wanted. it would have taken all of 3 minutes and she could have excused herself to quickly at least ask what I needed. i just left, and told them they just lost a sale. However, I will still go back to that same Nordstrom, just not that counter if those SAs are there; the women at the NARS counter, though they were both busy with different customers, and still excused themselves long enough to acknowledge me (one of the customers actually told the SA to help me first, as I already knew what I wanted). i guess what I’m trying to say, is as long as I’m acknowledged in a timely manner, I don’t care about being doted on like I’m the most important person in the store, but don’t just blow me off, either. I typically dress down when I go to the mall, but I spend quite a bit on makeup, and that time at the Armani counter was the *only* time I ever walked away empty handed.

  12. Donna

    Like Angelwings said, I was impressed by how fast UD ships. I made my first order and had it in my hands 2 days later.

    I’m on a budget, so customer service doesn’t come into play as much for drugstore, or high end at TJMaxx/Marshalls and the like. I can’t blame the cosmetics manufacturer for the stores cs and other policies. So it is more about quality and consistency. And that means good and bad, as you said… like WnW has great eyeshadows mostly, but terrible foundations. So you could say that WnW is inconsistent, while I think they are consistent with their products. I know which ones will likely be good and which are likely bad!

    I think it’s more than just that, although those are the top reasons for loyalty, but I also like some brands for their marketing, packaging, and their outlook/type of customers they apparently want to attract. I prefer those attracting younger customers, even though I’m closing in on 50. They tend to have more interesting products and colors; innovators is I guess the word for it.

  13. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of celeste Celeste Cirinna

    Consistency, good quality and fantastic customer service as well. I know I can count on Paula’s Choice for my skin; Bobbi Brown for foundation and blushes; and Laura Mercier for foundation, matte eyeshadows and blushes. My brushes come from MAC, Laura Mercier, Bobbi and Paula. My lip colors range from Cover Girl to Chanel. I loved Bobbi Brown’s recent ‘Friends and Family’ sale. Paula has great sales, too.

  14. Jamie

    Cruelty free, quality and good for you ingredients. Those are how you earn my loyalty. :)

  15. San

    I like brands that have good quality among all their products -i love Chanels eyeshadows but am disappointed by their nail colours–love dior lipsticks/nail polishes dont like eyeshadow texture–and i like brands that provide a larger shade selection among their foundations–so far Guerlain is my favourite :).

  16. Huge +1 for consistency. It’s great when a brand surprises you with a product that exceeds your expectations, but what’s even more important to me is being able to trust in the quality of their range. I’m much more likely to fall in love with a brand if 90% of their products are all “pretty good” than I am to fall in love with a brand whose products are 50% amazing and 50% utterly terrible!

  17. The bottom comes to “did I get what I paid for or what I expect it to do” or “is that beauty brand loyal in keeping a popular product”? Tom Ford brushes, blushers and eyeshadows are super super expensive, but I bought them because they are worth it for me. I cannot find certain Tom Ford brushes made by MAC or anyone else. But then again, I am not too fond of Tom Ford lipsticks or foundation when I tested them out. Maybelline may have some great products, for example and alot lest costly, but how is the quality? The original eyeshadows by Cle de Peau were reasonably priced and of great quality. Now I find them in Urban Decay. One thing about Guerlain that is so irritating is that it would promote a powder foundation with refillables availability, then discontinue it short time later. Same goes with Chanel and their lip lacquer. Now, Estee Lauder keeps their foundation brands for over 20 years and I can rely on Estee Lauder. Loyalty goes both ways.
    Sugarpill has great customer service and the Chromalusts work so well with Fyrinnae Epoxy.

  18. Liz

    Well, overall good quality products are the main consideration. When it comes to some of the department store brands, the associates have some impact on my feeling for the brand. For example, I’ve had a lot of negative experiences at MAC (at a few different counters). Because of that, I find myself staying away from MAC.

    Consistant flops make me stay away from brands too. The ladies at my Benefit counter are great, but I’ve tried a lot of products that just didn’t work for me.

    I gravitate towards L’oreal, Nars, MUFE, Tarte, and Revlon (for lips and nails) because they consistantly put out well made makeup.

  19. Joni

    Good quality, but I mostly look for an overall image the brand is trying to sell. I love when they have beautiful packaging that makes makeup more than something to put on your face, but something that’s just really fun to own.

  20. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jenny Jenny

    Their formulas staying consistent, so that I don’t have to go shopping around for a new foundation/powder once I find one that works perfectly for me. I’m an odd one with foundation since I like the full coverage that has a slightly tacky feel to it to avoid sliding off and provides the perfect canvas for my powder to adhere to (I like using Kabuki brushes for powder). Finishing powders are just as hard with fair to medium but a very warm undertone for my skin. For eyeshadows/blushes it’d have to be my reaction to the red colors within reds, pinks, purples, and oranges. I also like my eyeshadows with shimmer, but not looking glittery, and extremely blendable. For lipstick/lipgloss it’d have to be shine or sparkle without the irritating glitters, staying power, and smell. Reading my whole paragraph makes me realize exactly how picky I am with my cosmetics. Also, the ability to get some testers to take home like they do at Sephora earns HUGE bonus points so I can see how it lives up to a whole day in my life.

  21. Liz

    Good quality products and nice packaging are an essential. But the things that really win my loyalty are good customer service and the culture of the brand. By culture of the brand I mean the representation of the company, are they doing good in the world? I really love Urban Decay since their eye products are great and they are a cruelty free company!

  22. Trish Chambers

    I normally go for quality first and then word of mouth secondly. However Customer Service is definitely one of my priorities as one never knows how the item will perform as it can be great for some people yet not for mSeller:
    maxx888 [contact seller]e. By that I mean we all have different skin types and that’s a major contributing factor on how the makeup will perform.
    If the makeup performs well then I continue to purchase that brand but as I stated I also continue to check other recommendations and sometimes I find that can be highly beneficial. In fact it was this blog that led me onto a new brand I had never tried before and I am elated with the new brands performance as well as price because I was using a more expensive brand.

  23. A decent shade range & product quality. Foundations shades (if that’s part of their brand) will also make a huge difference to me – if I cannot find my shade in their line of face products I’m more apt to not buy from them. Customer service is huge too, but usually only if I’ve had a problem.

    After spending years using MUFE, Sephora, Dior, MAC, etc for foundations, I recently started to like CoverGirl after a makeup artist used it in a photo shoot. Unfortunately, I’ve bought a shade that isn’t quite right. I refuse to use the testers since they are open bottles with no pump and there is absolutely no monitoring of their use by sales associates at WalMart or wherever. I wrote in to ask about getting small samples to accurately match myself (like you find in a magazine)… I received a reply that they don’t give out coupons. A firmer response from myself has gotten no reply yet, so I’m not overly impressed. Companies want people to buy from them, however if they are not willing to give their clients sanitary samples I’m a little discouraged by it.

    A bonus I really like is when a brand makes you feel special and that they appreciate your business.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Amy amy

      It’s so bizarre that Cover Girl would’t send you at least a coupon, or something. I started receiving a semi-annual publication a couple of years ago, from *them* that was loaded with coupons. They also had a shade matcher that featured several HE brands, so I would think they would have at least tried some suggestions.

      They also used to put out smaller bottles of their foundations for around $2, which was a great way to try a new foundation. This, of course, was before they seriously raised their prices. I remember when they were on the lower end of the cost spectrum, but all of a sudden they were on par with the higher cost drugstore brands.

      Unfortunately, their foundations were too drying for me, but being able to try at such a low cost was awesome.

      • The problem is that I don’t particularly want coupons! I hate the idea of having to purchase multipe bottles of the same product – it’s such a waste!

        The same bottles would be awesome… too bad they don’t seem to care anymore.

        • Avril

          Ask the sales associate at a smallish store. At walmart they don’t really care (since lots are minimum wage not interested in makeup people), at a nicer drugstore they probably will. Often, they have sanitary samples of things somewhere, or will open a bottle for you.

  24. Basically, what everyone else said – good products, treating customers fairly.

    Also, free shipping and bonus programs help. They don’t replace quality and good customer service, and ultimately aren’t as important, but when I’m undecided between a product from one brand and a product from the other, and one of them does free shipping or samples and the other doesn’t, the freebie-giving brand wins. And over time, I notice myself looking at those brands before I consider brands that don’t do freebies.

  25. Ada

    1. Consistency. If a brand is notorious for making products of wildly varying quality, I am more likely to wait for reviews and delay the purchase (if I bother with it at all).

    2. Originality. Not going to bother with a brand that does not try to provide exceptional formulas or harder-to-find shades and finishes. Basics have their place, but I’m not going to fall in love with a brand because they offer a range of mediocre taupe eyeshadows, you know?

    3. Availability. This does not necessarily mean physical availability, although I am less likely to purchase if I have to jump through hoops to order something. Le Metier de Beaute, for example, is a pain to access locally, but I will order their products online because they make high-quality products that I adore. Otoh, despite owning and loving many MAC lipsticks, and having easy access to their counters, I have no loyalty to MAC because of their irritating habit of offering products I want in such limited quantities that I’d have to stalk their website in the wee hours of the morning just for a chance to grab it. That’s absurd. I’ll spend that money elsewhere, thanks.

    4. Ethics/behavior. I have lower standards for larger companies just out of basic cynicism, but companies that don’t do animal testing, that are known for exceptional customer service, or who support causes I believe in get bonus points. Conversely, bad behavior is very off-putting. In the case of smaller, indie brands, I have definitely lost interest because the owner(s) behaving outrageously or responding dramatically to routine criticism (e.g. Limecrime, Rescue Beauty Lounge). Otoh, those who accept critique and are consistently gracious and responsive to their customers ensure they’ll get repeat business from me (Cult Nails has been fabulous in this regard.)

  26. Leanne

    Consistency of course, but cruelty free products are a HUGE thing for me. Longwearing and pigmentation are must-haves as well.

  27. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Quinctia Quinctia

    Does the brand consistently put out colors and finishes I want, is it reasonably priced, is the quality there, and can I get it without going to extreme lengths?

    My favorite brand is Urban Decay, it’s a little bit pricey for me, but they put out enough products that are unique that it’s worth paying a premium for them. Ordering direct from them is very nice, and I’ve never had much of an issue purchasing from brick and mortar stores that carry it.

    And, there are some brands out there that have a great following, like Bobbi Brown, that just don’t produce things that wow me, so I may never try them. I like color and a variety of finishes, so I’d rather also buy my neutrals and staples from a brand that’s proven they can do well on brights and interesting finishes that are harder to make successfully.

  28. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of judy judy hall

    Performance, performance, performance! If a beauty product doesn’t perform as I had hoped, whether it is drugstore or high end name brand, I have no use for it. Insofar as customer service is concerned, I would have to say that I have had about 50% of my encounters with sales associates be an exercise in rudeness and not listening to my needs. I’m always happy when I find a product I like and then find I can order it online. The S&H is worth not having to deal with their condescending attitudes or trying to hard sell me products I don’t want.

  29. Kathy S.

    Product quality is key. I need to have products that I can count on every time. It doesn’t have to be consistent across the brand – I love Revlon’s lipsticks, but I wouldn’t touch their eye shadows with a 10 foot pole. For high-end, customer service is important, but quality is still key.

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Veronica Veronica

    Consistency, quality, and availability. Price is less of an issue provided that the product matches the price tag. There are some brands that are just outside of my current budget, but I don’t think it’s fair to judge them based on that.

    Advertising is also a big issue for me. Honesty, for one thing. Attitude and style is another. Generally, I don’t mind a little sensuality in my ad campaigns, but if any cosmetic company went the way of American Apparel, I’d drop it in a heartbeat.

  31. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Alejandra Ale

    Consistent quality for me too Christine, if it is always good I know I can trust whatever product they release.
    If it’s a product sold at a counter then also customer service, for instance I rarely buy MAC because they aren’t nice to me at the MAC store near me.

  32. Product quality. Plain and simple.

  33. Hard to say. Probably if I’m constantly happy with their products and their products, for the most part, have turned out great for me. Also, being exclusive, having great customer service is always a plus.

  34. zainab

    Product quality would be the main thing of course, but I guess the brand’s image/the market they target has a big effect on me. I’ve yet to try Illamasqua, but their advertising has kept me interested in the products so when there’s an opportunity to I’d be happy to buy something from them. Whereas a brand like Chanel, whilst I like their perfume, seems more like something my mother would use and the priciness/exclusiveness is off-putting.

    Customer service matters I guess, but I’m pretty sure Estee Lauder didn’t personally select the girl working behind the counter at my local department store, so I don’t usually blame a brand for their salespeople. The exception to this is smaller companies- there used to be a counter for a brand of nail care products at a mall near me and their staff were so pushy and aggressive that I’d purposely avoid going near the counter, despite the fact the products themselves were quite good.

    Animal testing and where things are made matters a bit, but it’s probably not a make or break for me. However if a company advertises, say, all US made products and that isn’t true, I think that would put me off.

  35. Having worn makeup for *many* years now, I’ve decided that what motivates me is a sense of style – “fit” – or something for a brand; and its not necessarily what the marketing gurus think should fit, like Estee Lauder for the elderly amongst us, Bobbi Brown for the middles, and Mac for the young, etc. Lets face it, it mostly comes out of the same factories!
    The packaging must be black for me, yes I know, crazy! I simply run a mile from stuff like the Maybelline big bright mascaras, with huge writing all over,it barely registers as cosmetic.
    I love a brand with a coherence of style and perceived quality, hence for past years Nars, and now Illamasqua, and Mac tend to dominate my dresser. My only real exception to the colour rule is Urban Decay, which I discovered from reading online, tried, and really like. (Although I do have some of the vermillion Hakuhodo brushes.)
    I do like the quirky, creative, and irreverent – Orgasm anyone?!?; something where one can see a creative vision and dedication driving the brand, and being a bit of an arty rebel, get a sort of cranky satisfaction in finding really expensive designer brands often don’t live up to the hype! Looking at you Dior and Chanel…
    I love online shopping, am going through a collector phase with makeup – lucky daughter – because I have always hated being pounced on in the department stores, where in Australia was the only place to get the brands I like.
    Rouge Bunny Rouge is consequently the next big thing on my horizon…

  36. Jessica

    quality and NOT testing on animals!

  37. Kelly

    Being cruelty-free.

  38. for me, a product has to be a quality product worth the price and the quantity should be good enough to last for a month atleast!!! ease of application also plays a role in the deciding factor.

  39. Louise

    For me, the most important things are excellent customer service, well trained staff, and a great company ethos. I think a lot of companies could learn a thing or two from Illamasqua, a company that prides itself on celebrating individuality, diversity and tolerance. I also stay loyal to brands that are cruelty free.

  40. Jay

    Great products across the board and really helpful counter staff who love what they do.

  41. Avril

    Consistent quality. Next up after that is a wide range- not because I need all my colours from one brand, but because many brands don’t cater to extrems of skin tone (pale or dark). And, if applicable, staff.

  42. Ashley Blanchard

    Products that do what they claim. I don’t mind spending more to get what you pay for!

  43. Nichole Coachman

    Quality and how often they come out with fresh and new products!

  44. Elizabeth Gibson

    Quality is first and foremost. Companies that stand behind their products. And I’m a sucker for cute packaging.

  45. Cindi Betts

    Quality products, and good customer service. I’ve stopped using good products because of shoddy CS.

  46. Erin Pooler Carpenter

    Quality, value, good customer service, and consistency! Brand that stands out for me and meets those characteristics for 99% of their products is TheBalm. AMAZING customer service.

  47. Honey J Clemons

    Quality products, and good customer service. I don’t mind paying more for a product, if it lives up to the marketing hype. If it fails to deliver or makes me breakout, and I have to return it, the experience is much better when the company is willing to keep you as a customer by helping you out as much as possible. For example: when I tried MAC studio fix, it broke me out really bad, and wasn’t a good match for my skin. The sales associates I worked with were really helpful in explaining ingredients and getting me the right colour. Hassle free exchange. For me, brand loyalty comes down to quality and customer service.

  48. Alexandra Rivera

    How it works with my skin! Mac studio finish powder won me over and I dont use annnnything else at all

  49. Michelle Lyn Morgan

    How well it works with my skin and quality of products. Like coverage, pigmentation, less crappy ingredients is a plus for me as well. CS is not a dealbreaker with me just bc I have very sensitive skin and to find something that doesn’t break me out is so rare and difficult itd take a mountain to make me try something other than my clinique face products.

  50. Patty Yaple

    quality, how my skin reacts to the products and customer service!

  51. Donna

    It’s weird that they said they don’t give out coupons, when that isn’t even what you asked. And they do occasionally give out testers. I know because I was sent a couple shades of the Natureluxe foundation, and I also know what Amy is talking about with the small bottles, AND…I seem to recall carded samples of 3 “light”,or “light/medium”,or  “medium” etc shades a couple years back for who knows which foundation, but I do remember it was Covergirl. It wouldn’t be enough for a full face, but you definitely could swatch along the jaw, forehead, and see if it’s heavy enough to cover a few small areas, like redness or scarring.