The beauty industry has undergone a digital makeover with the move towards creating virtual beauty assistants in the form of chatbots. The idea is that they will perform many of the functions of in-store human assistants.
The benefits of chatbot technology are overwhelming and have taken most major global industries a step further with better customer experiences based on the primary ability to directly reach customers from anywhere, 24/7.
As the beauty industry uses a lot of personalisation, beauty chatbots that are able to provide customised interactions and recommendations based on user behaviour, opening a new world of marketing possibilities for beauty brands.
Beauty chatbots: then
The first steps of chatbot technology in the beauty industry were cautious and straightforward. Beauty chatbots were initially used to handle mundane customer service enquiries, such as store locations and product returns.
But chatbot technology has come a long way since then, providing far more value to users through meaningful interactions.
Beauty chatbots: now
Beauty chatbots have evolved into savvy virtual store assistants for a host of leading fashion, beauty and cosmetic brands. Some even enlist the assistance of augmented reality to offer personalised product recommendations and beauty tips, as well as try-ons.
The best cosmetic beauty bots in the industry now easily handle the roles of beauty consultations, appointments, gifting and influencer marketing through chatbot platforms like Facebook Messenger and Kik.
Users are able to have a conversation with a beauty chatbot much like they would a human assistant in-store and receive tons of beauty information, tips and recommendations. The bots ask users a series of questions, the users then share photos and links and a digital beauty consultation is underway. It’s that simple.
Best beauty chatbots on the market
Here is a list of the most popular beauty chatbots currently available on the market to see how they differ in services and applications.
Sephora has created an intuitive beauty chatbot that interacts with customers via the Kik (online bot shop) platform. It allows customers to try out a vast range of makeup shades and tones simply by uploading a selfie into the messaging interface. The bot can also colour-match — customers can submit a photo of a dress and the system can colour-match the dress colour and recommend products of the same colour.
Customers have the option to either select various shades for themselves or utilise the app’s skin-matching technology for recommendations for their skin tone and style. Once they have selected which choice of products they wish to purchase, customers are ushered to the respective brand’s website to checkout. Customers are also able to book in-person makeup consultations through its Facebook reservation bot.
Update: we’ve heard that the Virtual Artist is not working in some countries. Hopefully, the Sephora IT team are working to get it up and running again!
This popular beauty chatbot acts as a beauty consultant by helping customers find the right products for building a personalised skincare regimen. Customers simply fill out a questionnaire about their skin and send a selfie to the chatbot via Facebook Messenger, text message, or a desktop computer. HelloAva’s algorithm recommends a wide variety of products, and then a licensed aesthetician confirms the choices before sending customers to the checkout page.
Customers can also chat with aestheticians if they have any questions about the recommendations. HelloAva’s AI machine learning technology uses reference data on other clients from similar age and demographic groups. It also keeps tabs on each customer’s past conversational history and recent purchases to provide continually personalised service offerings.
Kalanibot is the world’s first influencer chatbot. Until recently, CoverGirl’s business model has centred around celebrity endorsements, specifically film stars and fashion models. But now that social media influencers are the new film stars, CoverGirl sought to corner the market and create an influencer chatbot. Kalanibot is modelled on Instagram influencer Kalani Hilliker, a teenage dancer with over 4 million followers.
The beauty chatbot is hosted on messaging app Kik and is catered to a teenage audience. Klanibot interacts with its users conversationally and promotes cosmetic products Kalani herself uses, and then offers coupons for the promoted product which users then purchase.
The cosmetic industry isn’t the only one enlisting the aid of chatbot technology to reach their audience directly, the hair industry is also getting in on the action. Hair dye company Madison Reed’s virtual hair colour assistant bot helps users source their perfect shade of hair colour.
Madi is a Facebook Messenger chatbot that you can also access via SMS text. Customers simply submit a photo of themselves and the system analyses the photo to identify the primary and secondary tones. After a few straightforward questions asked by Madi, customers are then sent recommendations of the right Madison Reed product. Now, customers don’t have to wait weeks to schedule an appointment with a hairstylist, they can get their hair colour matched instantly.
An industry makeover
With the world’s leading beauty brands embracing chatbot technology, it marks the beginning of the trend toward more personalised and intelligent beauty experiences. The future promises a significant number of exciting transformations in the beauty industry as beauty companies enhance their user experiences with technology. So, what’s next on the cards for technology in the beauty industry?