HOW SHOULD BEAUTY BRANDS BE USING CHATBOTS?

With chatbot technology getting cheaper and more easily available, lots of beauty brands have been exploring the possibility of using a chatbot in their marketing strategy. But where should chatbots sit and can they help convert interactions into sales?

For the uninitiated, a chatbot is an AI-powered digital tool that mimics the conversational behaviour of a human.

WHY USE CHATBOTS?

There are lots of reasons a brand might choose to use a chatbot. L’Oréal uses a messenger bot to help users find the perfect gift for their friend or family member.

To use it, you simply search Beauty Gifter in Facebook Messenger and start the conversation by typing “Hi”. “Carmen” the bot will then help you find the perfect gift by sending your chosen person a questionnaire to fill out.

Chatbots use different platforms, the L’Oréal one is on Facebook Messenger but you can also use chatbots over SMS,  Slack, Email, Kik or as a Live Chat popup box on a website. Websites and Facebook Messenger are two of the most popular channels just because they are so accessible.

Our chatbot for Soap and Glory is based on a pop-up help box on their website. The chatbot was built to field the most popular questions the Soap and Glory team have on social media and was built to reduce the excessive time it takes to respond to these common questions.

The chatbot can answer the most popular questions, such as whether the products are tested on animals or what the ingredients are, as these questions do not require a bespoke answer but are time-consuming for the help team to respond to. The chatbot filters out the most common questions leaving the team with just the more specific questions to answer that require a real person to help.

AVOIDING “TECH FOR TECH’S SAKE”

Chatbot technology is getting a lot cheaper, so basic chatbots are fast becoming an accessible option for many beauty brands, but there does seem to be a feeling in the industry that some brands are employing chatbots just to say they have one.

To avoid this, chatbots should be integrated into a self-help channel, which might also consist of augmented reality apps or devices in-store, gift finders and FAQs, chatbots should be a part of this conversation, not a standalone.

If brands do decide to go down the chatbot route, it must be to solve a problem or for a particular purpose. If you already have a method for people to find the answers they need, why bring in a chatbot that only duplicates this?

As for the chatbot voice, the script should reflect the brand as it might be the first contact many people have with a brand, and it should never be close-ended. Brands need to make sure there are options to explore further and get more help, possibly from a real person.

According to research conducted by Mindshare, 79% of the people surveyed agreed with the statement ‘I’d need to know a human could step in if I asked to speak to someone’. Brands must make sure chatbots are not the end of the conversation with consumers.

“79% thought it felt creepy if a chatbot is pretending to be human.”

According to the Mindshare research, 75% of people agreed that ‘I’d prefer to know whether I’m chatting online with a chatbot or a human’ and 48% of people thought ‘It feels creepy if the chatbot is pretending to be human’. Here at Ready, we feel chatbots benefit from having a character persona – but don’t try to pass them off as a real person.