What are your least favorite sales tactics in beauty?

I do 95% of my beauty shopping online, so I’ll go with some peeves based on that: follow-up emails like “did you forget something” and emails that try to get you to purchase for fear of missing out.

— Christine
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Ugh SAME! Cult Beauty loves to tell me that items in my cart are “selling fast”, which is a puts me off actually making the purchase for a few weeks. I also don’t like when something is super hyped up and marked for “pre-order”, just to make damn sure you pay for it before it’s even officially launched.

‘Limited’ Edition that comes back months after and is made permanent. Panic buying as you think you won’t be able to get it anymore and then realising you don’t like it, or reviews are poor… but then it’s too late, and you actually could’ve waited.

What really burns my cookies is extreme photo manipulation. I know they say things look different on different screens, but it’s pretty obvious that a few palette releases in the last few months ( cough ** Tarte ** Too Faced ** cough) have changed the colors in photos to make them more appealing and less brown, as the backlash to 10,000 shades of neutral is picking up steam.

I think it’s very rude when a sales associate points out perceived flaws if I haven’t initiated this particular conversation, such as saying, “Let me show you how to cover those dark undereye circles” when I’m browsing lipstick.

I don’t like sales associates who do a hard sell of a product after I tell them I’m not interested in it, like lip liner to match the lipstick I’m buying or expensive skin care products when I’m there to buy eye makeup.

On the positive side, one time I was buying a lipstick at a Saks Guerlain counter and instead of pushing skin care products at me, the SA dropped a few samples in my bag, saying only, “this cream is amazing!” That’s the right way to do it.

I also dislike those follow-up and FOMO emails Christine mentioned. I delete them without opening them. Trust me, I did not “forget” those 17 products I put in my Colourpop cart the other day!!! Lol

I’m disgusted by sales associates who try to make me feel insecure about certain things, and then following up by telling me they have just the thing to “help” me.

I really hate the FOMO emails too, especially for things I haven’t even put into my basket/cart. Sephora sends out one that says something like “Fact: You regret 100% of the palettes you never buy” which is of course BS, we all have palettes where we’re like “Wow I didn’t waste my money on that dud!” And it’s also annoying when half of the time I’ve gone to Sephora to get a link for a palette I *already own* to mention on my blog or share with a friend who wanted to know what I was wearing.

For shopping IRL, my least favorite thing is how when I actually want help, I can never seem to find an associate, but when I am just browsing, or know exactly what I want, they’re always hovering around. This was especially true at the Ulta back in my old town.

AJ, yes, that Ulta hovering and shadowing until I finally make it clear that if I need something, “I will be sure to let you know!”

Regional exclusives e.g. Asia exclusives that Chanel loves to do. Also retailer exclusives. What if I don’t like shopping from that store or website or don’t have one nearby? Also how does that benefit the consumer in any way? It’s done to appease retailers and sucks for customers. I’ve asked why they do it and I’ve always been told it’s because it adds to the exclusivity of the brand/range… No it doesn’t! It’s just irritating and off putting!

As Christine said, and I’ll add that I’e gotten to the point of being annoyed by pretty much all Sephora’s emails. I apprecaite that they revamped their rewards system (ever so slightly) but they sure haven’t let up on the three or so emails a week of “brand new! you gotta have this!”

I also rarely buy in person, and when I do, I rarely feel like I’m being sold to; seems like most associates are of the “can I help you? let me know if you need anything” type anymore.

My least favorite sales tactic in beauty is when I attend a beauty event that a department store or counter is having and, when my makeup is over, I’m asked what products I want to take with me. This can range from a MUA spending 10 mins with me or 45 mins. I always put aside money to spend at events like this and enjoy learning different techniques and shade selections from a new perspective but I have having to make an on-the-spot decision. I prefer to be walked to a counter and make my decisions there with full pricing information.

I hate those emails too, but mostly because they creep me out. Just like the online ads that use your browsing history to show you over and over those items you looked at the day before.

Sephora ‘You regret…’ and ‘Wait, didn’t you miss..’ are tres annoying. Nordie’s sidebars me with ads for things that were LE and gone, baby, gone. One would think that these cos actually had s.t. revolutionary, with the copy and promos, instead of a rehash of same old, same old. Now, I appreciate the occ ‘restocked’ email, when I did not request one. But the most in-fur-iating one has to be chewy.com. Their shipping is lightning. But the day after I receive ~40# of food for my two dachsies that barely add up to 20# together, “Are you running low?” It takes about 3-4 months for them to demolish the food, and chewy KNOWS THAT. They have total order history, and know that I have refused automatic. They know when I actually need it better than I do. And they also cookie-phish you, resulting in sidebars, e.g. about their collar selection…which is dreadful and very confusing, to boot. Sidebars really frost me. I’d rather have an email I can just delete. And on the iPad, temptalia’s swatch page, all the sidebars cover the content. ARRRRGH. Certainly does not make me interested in whatever they were touting. Amazon is a big offender there.

Ugh. I hate those “did you forget something emails, too.” I mostly shop online, too, and often let stuff sit in my cart. These get annoying, unless they give me a discount code, too.

I think my most hated tactic is artificial hype and scarcity (*cough, Too Faced, cough*). It also really pisses me off when a product is touted as “Limited Edition” and then is brought back permanently a few months later.

When I am in a store, I really hate high-pressure sales tactics.

Yes! Those stupid “did you forget something” emails are so annoying!

As for shopping in-store, I’ve got a few sales “tactics” I hate:
1.) Using FOMO on me is a big one. Just DON’T. I obviously already know going in that what I’m eyeing is LE or on clearance. I’m a big girl. I don’t need to be talked to like I’m 14 coming in with my allowance!
2.) Another DON’T is pushing me to get “this” because it goes with “that”. I already know that. Obviously if I wanted whatever it was, I would get it as well.
3.) Shadowing me as I shop! Good grief. Just DON’T, okay?!? Very common occurrence at Ulta, and it’s disturbing to know *why*.
4.) Unsolicited and unwelcome advice delivered in a condescending manner. This happened to me @ SFS Sephora last Spring just before the VIB Rouge sale. An SA actually argued with me about the shade that their system had said was my match. She insisted that I couldn’t be 260 or 290 in Fenty, says I look like a 190, at most a 210. Squirts 190 and 210 on my arm, which are both glaringly pale on me. She walked away in a huff when she saw how wrong she was!
BTW, I gave up on this foundation when I realized that I would need 2 bottles to get the right shade. Nothing ever matches MAC Studio Sculpt NC37 or Studio Fix (liquid) C4 or 4.5.

No ingredient list anywhere!

Or what I’m experiencing with Sephora on Firefox: a rather large opaque square pops up on any product page and partially covers the part of the screen where the tabs are for Details, How to Use, Ingredients, About the Brand and Shipping & Returns. I think the box is associated with the right-hand lower-corner chat, but despite there being an X in the corner of the opaque box and a plus and minus sign (none of which work!), there’s no way I can get rid of this box to see ingredients or what’s underneath the other tabs. I even wrote Sephora IT people and got the canned response that they were going to look into it, and still, this problem exists. It’s been this way for the last couple months at least.

Sephora’s website has always been problematic for me — if it’s not one thing, it’s another. My longest-running complaint (which it rarely does anymore) was if I moved down from the top banner, across the “Shop … News … Brands … Etc.” bar, it’ll pop open a big selection for whatever category I incidentally ran across, and that box *would not go away* when my cursor left the box’s field, preventing me from doing anything on the screen behind the box. Seriously enraging. I’ve had to close the tab and open a new one, then remember to go *around the sides* of that bar to avoid having it happen again. Soooo many times!!!!!!!

My most recent complaint is that every time I want to move from any page to the shopping cart page or to my Account page, I’m forced to sign in EVERY TIME. During some visits to the site where I’m doing a lot of clicking around and looking at things, checking past orders, checking my cart, going back to browsing again, looking at Loves … I’ve had to re-sign in 7 or 8 times in one session. Argh!!!

Also, it’ll flat-out freeze. Granted, I don’t have the world’s most up-to-date computer, but it rarely has trouble elsewhere. There’s only one other website that does that to my laptop on the entirely of that portion of the web where I spend my time. They need to figure their stuff out! Yet another reason why I prefer to shop at Ulta.

Alecto, how frustrating! I’ve not experienced the continual sign-on problem because I’m usually not signed in but that does sound super annoying. I’m convinced that their IT people don’t ever test the site on different platforms.

You’d think that if they got a specific complaint, that they’d look into it. I even sent them a screen shot of the opaque box that blocks everything, but still, there’s been no corrective action. If I can’t find ingredient lists elsewhere, I’m not buying it at Sephora with this ongoing issue.

Here’s hoping that their market research people read our posts. (We can only hope.)

Hi Kitty – I’ve found that if you click on the photo it makes it larger and then when you close the photo, the box goes away and stays like that for the rest. I agree it is annoying.

Ads that imply that I have zero self-control over my spending. There’s one that’s something like “Wants? Needs? Who can remember the difference?” Makeup is fun, but I’m an adult, thanks. Though maybe I should thank them, because nothing snaps me out of impulse-buy mode faster.

Another pet peeve is pricing that isn’t clear. 90% of my “did you forget something?” emails are because I couldn’t figure out discounts or shipping without getting halfway through checkout!

I think it’s annoying how websites will claim something’s “exclusive” when I know it’s sold on at least 5 other sites.

In store, I don’t appreciate it when there’s undercover reps in store that try to steer you toward their brand because they have a quota that day.

My biggest pet peeve when shopping in person has to be when I’m asking the sales associate for help with skincare and I tell them what I’m looking for out of my products and they say I should have a different concern about my skin and recommend something completely off. For example, I say I want something that helps with texture and they say actually you need To even out redness buy this. Hate follow up emails for online, especially brands like tarte who throw a discount in if you don’t purchase within the hour. Makes me feel like their markup must be extraordinary if they can throw 15% out there via automated emails.

Lots and lots of unwanted emails..
When a brand announces a sale, either in store or online and they really only have 5-10 of the product
When I am told blatantly wrong info – eg that neutral undertones work on someone with pink undertones – just to sell you their product. (they don’t at all) – a Clinique SA
Over emotional sales pitches – you need this etc.

-Before and after pics for a single product where the before pic has no makeup and the after pic has a near full face on. Yeah, I’m sure this undereye concealer will also magically even my skintone and fill in my brows…

-Any ads that use phrases to try to make them seem more friendly or casual. Brands are not my friends, my friends are my friends

-Social media ads in general. They have the capability of being much more subtle, which makes it easier for influencers to sell you on the ~lifestyle~ that you can have if you had these products

“-Before and after pics…” Haha! Yes! Even more forehead-slap-inducing when the product being pushed is skin care — I’ve actually seen those. Apparently there are brightening potions out there that will leave you looking like you’ve just had a makeover. 🙂

I dislike the new promotion method, with photoshopped, enhanced, swatches on models’ arms. They are often different from reality.

It’s not happened lots but when a SA points out my dry skin or how it’s not looking great when I know full well I was out the night before ruining it or I’ve been lazy with skincare. If I don’t ask then I don’t want to hear it. Or when they say a natural or matte foundation will work with the right prep when I know my skin and I can bathe in moisturiser and still appear dry when my foundations not at least satin finish. Or when they trick u into buying the wrong shade of foundation as they have applied it really strangely and u can’t return in the UK so you lose out on like £30+. Or when the swatches they post on Instagram look amazing and unique but I see them irl or on here and see their true colour and textures.

I agree with those & I will add the new “Christine just added X to her cart” so it looks like you are in a shopping competition with someone else!
Or make you feel like you are shopping with a friend?
I don’t know, but it is annoying.

As someone who’s worked both for stores and brands I really dislike folks who are pushy/dishonest just because they have a goal to meet. Even when working for brands if a client didn’t want my brand I wouldn’t push it on them, I’d simply explain the benefits of a certain product if I thought it was appropriate based on what the client mentioned their needs are but if they didn’t want said product I didn’t push. Imo it’s a wasteful tactic b/c even if the client buys an item(s) because they feel pressured to do so there’s nothing stopping them from going back and returning the stuff when the person who sold them on it isn’t there. :/
Like basically just not putting the client first.

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