What brand/retailer has the best online shopping experience?

I don’t use a lot of features while shopping, so my “best” is more with respect to customer service, shipping speed, and how well everything is packaged. Chanel wins for me; they have fantastic presentation (in a sturdy, cardboard box that I always keep and use for organization), safely wrapped, and even put wax seal your receipt, LOL. They also have expedited shipping for more loyal/regular customers (and the spend really can’t be that high as I don’t buy that often, let alone I only purchase beauty products!).

— Christine


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Wednesday Avatar

I do not tend to buy direct from brands so I would say the on-line shopping experience on Sephora is better than the other larger beauty retailers. From a customer service, packaging, shipping perspective, I give top marks to Beautylish, but I find their website hateful (I predominantly use my iPad and their app is sketchy; their actual browser website a little better). Sydney Grace also gets top marks for customer service.

Shelley Avatar

This! Lovely shipping department, fun brand/product selection and terrible website. If they had a better one, I’d spend more time on it and undoubtedly purchase more. As it is, I’m in and out.

Molly P. Avatar

Beautylish has an amazing user experience. Once your order is placed, you get text updates showing you the status of your order. They also package the products really well. You get a box that looks like you’re unwrapping a gift which is always nice. This is the only site I’ll purchase Natasha Denona eyeshadows. I’ve received some really poorly wrapped palettes from a Sephora, and it hurts my heart every time I open a compact and get covered by a broken color. This never happens with Beautylish.

Hollie Avatar

I think Beautylish is the very best retailer I’ve used for online shopping! They ship out faster than anyone I’ve ever used. They also make sure the products purchased are wrapped up good to avoid damages. I’ve always receive useful samples, not full size but better than Sephora and Ulta. I’m always impressed to how fast I get my order!

Mariella Avatar

I don’t do a lot of online shopping by choice so I’ve limited experience but I guess I’d have to say Sephora because it’s one of the few companies from which I’ve ever ordered online.

Christine, the “best neutral palettes 2017-2018” doesn’t seem to be working. When I try to submit a recommendation, nothing happens at all – I just see the same page.

Beth Avatar

Marc Jacobs usually has really good sales compared to the regular retailers (sephora, neiman marcus, etc) and they periodically offer super fast shipping for free. I wish their swatches were more realistic, though. I like a lot of the indie brand websites, too. Sydney Grace has great swatches for most of their colors (including many showing different colors paired together). Terra Moon Cosmetics also has a nice site with good swatches. And they give written descriptions of their colors and state when they recommend using a primer and when it is not necessary. Beautylish is known for their fast shipping and superior customer service and I have certainly found that to be true.

Lesley Avatar

I agree with you about Chanel although I don’t buy their products any longer on account of animal testing. I am still using their boxes after six years. Overall I am happiest with Beautylish and Soko Glam is very good as well. I had a delivery issue with Marc Jacobs Beauty and they handled it well. I believe I have been extremely lucky with shipments from Sephora and Ulta because I have had no problems there. I hope I have not now jinxed myself.

Ana Maria Avatar

I personally like simple websites, companies with curated products (not overwhelming me with tops of brands and choices), minimal and easy to use interface. I buy from few retailers at this point, my favorite being Paula’s Choice. The customer service is very responsive, very knowledgeable in skincare and eager to help; I contacted them both through the online contact section and through social media, always had a good experience. They are also very willing to replace or refund products when there are issues. I like that the website is simple, I can browse easily by category, sale, size, filling out my cart is easy. I’m not one impressed by luxury, I prefer that they use simple packaging, fully recyclable shipment box (filled with paper, not plastic) and that I can recycle product packaging through Terracycle.

Ana Maria Avatar

Also, great sales. They have regular 15-20% off codes. There were many times I purchased with 20%, got free mini sets (I have a years worth back-up of mini BHA and AHA exfoliants) or full sized items, with cash back from Rakuten (which can also get like 10%+ with holidays and stuff).

kjh Avatar

I did strictly Paula for years, until I needed anti-inflammatory. Still use ~3 products, including the defense long name TM daily. Ordered a pot balm set that s.o. had scraped with a fingernail, with the seal scratched up and jammed. Despite having sent in a photo and a f/u email, no response other than ‘we’ll get back to you’…which they never did. Maybe they intuited that I switched to Purito and Cosrx, lol. TBH, that surprised me. I am going to get their centella product, though.
The question:Beautylish, hands down. The one that pleasantly surprised me was the one time I ordered from Nyx. Individually wrapped products in a black lace bag. Not my taste, but sturdy and nice, nonetheless.

Ana Maria Avatar

It wasn’t indeed a nice situation, especially since sometimes they are too `eager` to replace products costumers didn’t liked. I never had bad experiences in US, just when I lived in Europe with the Paula Choice representatives in my home country. But I’m sure bad things happen, both mishandling products and situation, no brand is flawless.
I know that feeling of still buying… when they launch new products I usually end up trying them even if they aren’t theoretically for my skin type. Except the Unscrub anything I tried was at least OK; some products aren’t for my skin specifically, wouldn’t repurchase them, but I still used them completely and didn’t mind.

Maggie Avatar

And I have to agree that it’s probably the best website for shopping for skincare. The ingredients lists are always there and are even explained–I love it when information is easily at my fingerprints. I love that they have a vast collection of mini-sized products available for people to try out. I’ve never had to directly contact customer service so I can’t comment on that.

Ana Maria Avatar

Too bad the cash back is only 3% or something… I got once a 20% sale with a 13 or 15% cashback and a azaleic acid serum full size, it felt like stealing. 😆
I knew they would throw something for the anniversary month, was waiting on it, I’m nearly out of my retinol. Now I have to decide on how many conditioners to stock up; they updated the packaging on everything in the body line, so I’m kind of concerned they will discontinue it.

Ginny Avatar

CHANEL absolutely. They ship fast and the presentation is beautiful. I love those boxes! It’s like unwrapping a present, you almost forget you paid for it ??

Deborah S. Avatar

Beautylish is by far the best brand/online retailer I have purchased from and their customer service is exceptional, in my experience. I have received broken palettes from Sephora, incomplete packages from Ulta and probably the worst offender for me is the overuse of packaging. I know I want my packages wrapped safely and to arrive without any damage but using way too much packaging is also a problem for me. I have received a package from MAC that had one lip pencil in it and had enough filler to safely cover 1000 lip pencils. I have received individual e/s pots in an envelope mailer and that was a recipe for disaster, which occurred. It was from an Indie brand and in general, I find them to be pretty good but this particular brand would not answer my emails regarding my broken order. Eventually I received replacements but it really soured me to the brand.

Ana Maria Avatar

Sephora is notorious for wasteful packaging and adding more plastic bags then needed… and who remembers those tons of fragrance cards they you to send? 😆
Sephora also highly disappointed me by selling or giving expired make-up. I also check the batch code of my skincare and make-up, on multiple occasions Sephora sent products 3 years after the manufacturing date.

Christina D. Avatar

I think Beautylish is outstanding. Their packaging is superb, their shipping is fast and reliable, and the Customer Service is amazing. I highly recommend them.

Pearl Avatar

Sydney Grace and Beautylish for customer attentiveness and service
Chanel, Beautylish and Tom Ford for packaging – I love the attention to detail from Beautylish and love the fancy, sturdy boxes from Tom Ford and Chanel

Valerie Avatar

Agree Chanel is the best buying experience. I’ve kept their boxes for organizing purposes and their presentation is so thoughtful. Also, they sent me some PR stuff at the end of the year, which was neat – CC-engraved towels. It’s luxury at its finest and makes me want to purchase from them directly.

Valerie Avatar

Reading everyone’s comments, I agree that Beautylish has the best customer service. They replaced broken and missing products with no problem. Amazing company. Their wrapping paper is cute, too. Selfridges has that cute yellow box with envelope and free linen baggies that I reuse for storage and travel. Great presentation but returning stuff is a little bit of a hassle, with DHL.
But imo, Chanel tops Beautylish and Selfridges in terms of experience, keepsake boxes, and feeling of luxury. It really is next level shopping.

Genevieve Avatar

I do occasionally purchase from overseas websites because we can’t get the products here – I have found Colour Pop to be pretty good (for lipsticks), Sydney Grace (for eyeshadows) and Beautylish to be generally excellent for palettes.
Within Australia, I like Ozsale and Cosmetic Capital (for skincare products that are often on sale).

Annie Avatar

Few overseas companies ship to Switzerland with customs / duties paid, so you’re always up for a surprise for extra charges (usually at a hefty price tag). Few companies ship duty paid but add extortious surcharges.
Beautilish is the exception, giving you a quote of the end price, very reasonable markup (basically just the VAT) and as everyone else said customer service is outstanding. I ordered something Tuesday evening and it will get here Friday morning. Super fast replies from customer service solving any issues etc
I order other brands to a German shipping address as shipping to EU is usually easier and have found Niche Beauty ok in Germany. Sephora Germany is awful in terms of choice, pricing and customer service.
So for me it’s Beautilish hands down for any brand that they carry.
Still need to figure out how to best get some indie brands like Sydney Grace or Persona in Europe without paying more for customs than the product costs….

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