Cosmetic, fashion and couture firms have long been hot on technology adoption, with AR mirrors, virtual make-up studios and smart wardrobe matching tools. They’re taking another step with chatbots to help people make better skincare and beauty decisions.
Starting with an aside, I’m starting to suspect a chatbot will be involved when I see any marketing email from a brand that introduces a first name. Apart from CEOs talking directly to us during the recent COVID crisis, marketers rarely use names, and while it is easy to ignore so many of these generic missives, seeing an actual name definitely grabs the attention.
Perhaps having an individual name is more attractive to us at a personal level, or just the rarity of seeing a name makes us want to see who is involved and why? Whatever, a new Nivea marketing campaign involves Charlotte and her “handwritten” signature on the email that leads to the brand’s chatbot to help discover your skin type.
Marketers new to chatbots take note; personality and practicality, with messaging that’s all about the benefits of the chatbot and not simply — hey, we’ve got a chatbot you can talk to buried in a bunch of terms and conditions.
Click on the link and we get a short string of questions about skin type with a range of answers to choose from, resulting in useful advice and a care regime for your chosen type of skin. Pretty simple fare, but a sedate enough introduction to bots from the Nivea team.
There are some obvious weak spots, the bot doesn’t have a name, Charlotte is part of Nivea’s marketing team. It would make sense to link the two together or give the bot, even a simple one like this, some personality that matches the marketing email.
What’s slightly more annoying is this is an update of a Portuguese Nivea marketing effort from last year, so you would have thought that there was more to learn and add from the results of that experience.
Also, the bot’s response range is very limited. You might mention that you have sunburn, but getting a thumbs up in response isn’t the kind of message you’d expect from a skincare firm. If a marketing bot invites you to a conversation, it should at least cover the basic possible queries, especially during summer!
But, these are early days, and Nivea has plenty of other ways to expand their bot both practically and in terms of personality.
The World of Beauty and Fashion Bots
Nivea is far from the first to get involved in the world of bots and beauty. Sephora launched back in 2016 and her longevity makes her one of the benchmark bots when it comes to offering beauty advice. According to a Forbes piece, Sephora’s chatbot helped boost makeover appointments by 11% in makeover appointments when it started using a messenger chatbot.
Another popular feature was Color Match, partnering with ModiFace’s augmented reality technology to help consumers pick out and match colors. Sephora Color Match allows users to hold their camera up to any image or face and an algorithm will automatically detect and present the user with the identified shade, as well as other matching products from the Sephora line such as lipstick and eye makeup.
Mixing bots with other smartphone technology can help build a product that adds value to the user and links to specific products they will want to buy. Much of this can be done within the bot and similar technology can be applied to fashion wear for wardrobe matching and accessorizing.
Taking a high-ticket approach, David’s Bridal in the US, recently debuted its Zoey messaging concierge to help customers plan the wedding of their dreams using Apple Business Chat. The brand notes that messaging on mobile devices is now the preferred channel for their customers, representing over 50% of total contact center traffic.
Specific results saw some 41% of customers opt to use messaging versus waiting on hold, with 90% resolution compared to 73% on the voice channel, and 30% of appointment booking automated, freeing up employee time for in-store customers.
Bots for Every Market and Brand
Whatever your market, beauty bots are very high-profile, talking to huge numbers of brand-aware, engaged customers. They need to be impressive from launch and lead to no negative customer sentiment. Bots can be built for any size brand using no-code tools like SnatchBot to provide front office, updating, booking and sales tools, or as part of a marketing effort to attract customers to your brand.
Just make sure it is either limited to a specific area of need, or smart enough through AI tools like natural language processing to understand what the customer might ask.