Chatbots, and any integrated technology, are an amazing way to automate elements of customer service, provide recommendations and create convenient channels for customers. However, beauty is inherently a very personal and sometimes emotionally driven purchasing path that should not be cut away from human interaction. This brings us to where we think brand to customer communication is heading (outside of traditional customer service queries). It’s about creating a beauty community, a conversation, something that indie brands on social media platforms are utilising. A simple example of this is driving conversation through questions in the captions of an Instagram post or a poll on Twitter or Instagram Stories. This has evolved to involving customers in an Instagram or Facebook Live stream or dedicated Twitter chats.
The future of this beauty conversation will focus on forming a community for customers. It’s a step further on from the crowdsourcing market research approach that brands such as Glossier and Volition Beauty use to understand what their customers want when developing new products. For many years, there was a dedicated forum for all things Lush where people could discuss products (new and old) and ask for recommendations. This concept has evolved with brands beginning to use collaborative messaging spaces such as Slack and Facebook Groups.
The VIP Glossier treatment will invite you to join a Slack channel where you can discuss all things beauty, share feedback and take part in Glossier meetups. It’s personal and a step up from the traditional loyalty points card system. SpaceNK recently launched SNK Chat designed to be a dedicated community for SpaceNK shoppers to discuss beauty, get recommendations and share your beauty knowledge with the added bonus of being rewarded for your participation. Currently available on both the desktop and mobile version of their website, it allows you to ask questions or answer someone else’s. This ranges from people asking for recommendations on products to help with acne scarring to new brand queries. Instead of having a chatbot suggest a product for you, a human would be recommending something based on their own experiences. This opens up the traditional customer review platform into something more real-time and collaborative.