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Sephora debuts chatbot features for consumers at home and in-store

As one of the first beauty retailers to institute the use of chatbots, Sephora is continuing its streak with some extra features for its chatbot service aimed toward improving consumer experience both at home and in-store.

The two new features focus on different areas of the consumer experience. One will help customers book appointments with a Sephora beauty specialist and the other will give customers help with making purchasing decisions on their own

“Our two new bots for Messenger offer enhanced ways for our clients to engage with Sephora by streamlining how they access relevant service and product information on their mobile devices,” said Mary Beth Laughton, senior vice president of digital for Sephora. “We’re excited to leverage the Messenger platform to create quick and natural conversational interactions that are client-led.

“This allows us to provide richer, more varied conversations that ensure clients get exactly what they want out of the experience.”

Reservation assistant

Sephora has been leading the charge when it comes to the use of chatbots in the beauty world, focusing on branded emojis and other uses for the technology to improve their customers’ lives.

On top of that, the brand is adding two new features to its chatbot services – Sephora Reservation Assistant and Sephora Color Match.

The first of the two, Sephora Reservation Assistant, helps Sephora consumers make appointments with beauty specialists at a Sephora location quickly and seamlessly by sending a message to the Sephora chatbot.

Due to the natural, conversational interface that consumers use with the chatbot, all they have to do is tell them where they are and the bot will automatically find them the closest location with a list of available times for appointments.

The chatbot’s smart learning capabilities let it understand natural language used by the consumer, whether they give a date, a time, a combination or specify their location in a variety of different ways – for instance, writing just their city or a more detailed address.

Consumers can then instantly book the appointment through the bot on Facebook Messenger and receive a confirmation email a few seconds later. Sephora partnered with a company called Assi.st to create this automated service.

Color Match
The second new feature makes use of a partnership with a company called ModiFace that uses augmented reality 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.

Using this, users can hold their phones up to advertisements or Instagram photos they like of people with enviable looks and the chatbot will help them find the right products to recreate that look themselves.

Color Match can aslo be used to match colors with things other than faces. For example, consumers can hold their phones up to outfits they like and the chatbot will help find matching palettes and products to complement that outfit well.

As mobile users, especially millennials, become less likely to download discrete apps for every service they need, chatbots are beginning to fill that space. By adding useful features such as the ones provided by Sephora’s messaging service, the cosmetics brand is capitalizing on that shift just as it starts to happen.