January 12, 2018
Chatbots are poised to overhaul customer service in retail as we know it. They can assist both with direct, customer facing functions and help employees better service their customers both online and in brick and mortar environments. The fashion and beauty industry is already reaping the benefits of chatbots integrated within their operations. Econsultancy, an ecommerce research and consulting firm, highlights some of the ways beauty and fashion brands are leveraging chatbots and AI to vastly improve the customer experience.
Augmented Reality and Chatbots for Makeup
Many retailers have deployed chatbots to suggest products or convert prospects to buyers. However, many often service frivolous purposes or annoy customers. In the beauty industry however, chatbots combined with augmented reality can help solve the problem of not being able to try products before purchasing: a common barrier in ecommerce. The Estee Lauder bot links customers with a “makeup artist” powered by AI that can ask the customer questions through a simple quiz to find the perfect lip shade. At the end, the client is presented with an option to purchase in a very similar manner to the traditional retail experience.
Similar to makeup profiling, chatbots can also help online shoppers style outfits. Chatbots can help match customers with clothing and accessories by asking questions to tailor personal recommendations. A chatbots may ask questions regarding preferences, fit, occasion and price range. Econsultancy illustrates how Levi’s virtual stylist chatbot prompts the customer about fit and style to find the perfect pair of jeans. The bot then reveals photos and asks the customer through a survey how they like the look and fit in the photo. It will ask questions such as “How do you like your jeans to fit in the leg?”. This process not only converts more customers, it also decreases the likelihood of returns and helps Levi’s save on reverse logistics.
In order for chatbots to really gain staying power in fashion and beauty, Econsultancy advocates that companies must do a better job integrating bots within their platforms. Many consumers don’t know some of these chatbot services exist in the first place. Brands need to make bots need to promote them, make them accessible and useful. Chatbot conversations also need to be stored into customer accounts so that customers can re-visit conversations at a later date if they want to reference a helpful conversation.