Meet ‘Liv’: Estée Lauder launches WhatsApp skincare chatbot

Estée Lauder is working alongside creative tech agency Rehab to produce an AI-based chatbot to engage with customers.

Estée Lauder - Clinique

US skincare and beauty brand, Estée Lauder, is developing an AI-based chatbot to provide personalised, digital skincare advice directly through WhatsApp.

Developed in partnership with creative technology agency, Rehab, the chatbot, dubbed ‘Liv’, helps its users build and maintain a personal skincare routine, directing potential customers to Estée Lauder’s range of products where necessary. These daily tips and routines are carried out in a conversational, interactive manner, all within a simple WhatsApp conversation.

Estée Lauder sees this new digital experience as an adequate replacement for over-the-counter skincare advice. The closure of non-essential retail due to the coronavirus lockdown has prevented face-to-face, in-store advice. In developing ‘Liv’, Emmanuelle Noyer, VP of Estée Lauder UK & Ireland, stressed the importance of “personalised one-to-one beauty advice in a natural conversational way”.

Therefore, to replace face-to-face advice, ‘Liv’ aims to be friendly, natural and receptive, using voice recordings, jargon and emojis, providing a valuable dialogue with its users.

Early consumer testing is said to have shown positive results to this end. Customers felt happy to purchase Estée Lauder’s generally high-priced products due to receiving clear advice and recommendations on their usage. Furthermore, customers apaprently enjoyed interacting with ‘Liv’ in a familiar setting in WhatsApp, with the chatbot slotting in alongside existing conversations with friends and family.

Rob Bennett, CEO at Rehab, explained that “the time has passed for brands to simply spam consumers by email”, instead promoting “experiences that fit into (consumers) lives not add to it”.

With consumers preferring the convenient location of WhatsApp, as opposed to receiving emails or downloading separate mobile applications, both Rehab and Estée Lauder hope that their chatbot will set a new market trend and manner of customer interaction.

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