Like almost all elements of our lives, Bots are also here to help us with fashion, beauty and online shopping. The technology is heading in the direction of very specific, personal stylish type assistance, where you’ll be able to upload images of yourself and receive advice and tips. For now, it’s still at a quite simple and basic level – but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used to its full potential. It’s worth keeping in mind that in a world already consumed by image obsession, these Bots don’t exactly contribute to it in any fundamental manner, rather they perpetuate it. That doesn’t make them good or bad, it’s just up to you whether you buy in – in any aspect. Whatever way we slice it, products, beauty and fashion consumption, particularly in the online world, isn’t going anyway, so it’s no surprise that these little Bots are popping up, hoping to help people get what they want in the fastest, smoothest and easiest way possible. At this stage there are a lot of Bots out there claiming to offer style advice and to help connect you to the worlds of fashion and beauty online. We scoured around and decided to pick out just those that are actually worth using at this stage. We expect huge growth here in the coming months, but for now – these are the Bots for all your style needs.
If you haven’t heard of Sephora yet, it’s about time you got with the program. Depending on the country you live in, Sephora may or may not be a household name. Either way it’s still expanding at a lightening fast pace, and will likely be at your local mall in no time. The French beauty and makeup chain stocks more than 30 brands, including a home brand, is present in more than 30 countries and has an estimated revenue of 1.9 billion. It’s an example of a company that successfully moves with the times, so it’s no surprise but is still impressive that they’ve so quickly got on board with Bot technology. The Bot, for Kik, works in a fairly simple way. As soon as you initiate a chat it will ask you a few questions about your favourite brands and types of products, so that it can help you get the best search results. It also has the ability to teach you about makeup via tips, video clips and picture tutorials for all types of beauty regimes from eyes, lips and face to hair and nails. It then pushes it products by helping you find the items that were used in the tutorials and suggests those that are top rated.
Further to this, Sephora Bot also offers a “personal shopping assistant” for those shopping in store. You can type in any product that you spot, perhaps a Sephora brand mascara, and it will share product reviews and ratings with you. Are Bots ready to make sales assistants redundant? Not quite, but this technology is certainly primed to shake up employment in many industries.
The H&M Bot works in quite a similar way to Sephora Bot, however the aim is obviously to provide you with information and tips regarding their in-store range, rather than Sephora’s, and it’s more focused on fashion and clothing items than makeup and beauty. To get started, this Bot will first ask you a few things about yourself; whether you’re a man or woman, your age and will then present you with a foray or style images, from which you pick your favourites. You’ll get a set of two images and reply with “1” or “2” regarding which you like most. It will then ask you to describe your style, giving the options of casual, preppy, rocker/grunge, boho and classic. Once you’ve done this it will inform you that it’s created a “personal style profile.” From this point the Bot is ready to go. To use it you tell it an item like “Top,” “Skirt,” or “Flats” and it sends back an outfit suggestion based on that. When we told it “Flats” it sent back an image with a pair of flats, a dress a, denim jacket and a necklace, then asked if we like it. We said yes and it prompted us to shop, share or save the look. Obviously the key is product pushing, but this is actually a pretty cool way to get outfit inspiration, particularly if you’re a specific fan of H&M.
Style q + a
Everybody knows the emoji of the girl holding her hand up to her hair, it’s a classic. Well, Style q + a Bot has taken this beloved image on as its avatar, as it kind of captures everything that it represents. This Bot provides advice on everything makeup, skincare and fashion in a chat based format. You’ll get honest answers to “burning questions” and apparently “meet new friends along the way.” Start a chat with style q + a and it will ask you for honest answers about your beauty, fashion and style. You then get the option to “ask” or “answer”. Choose “answer” and you’ll get sent a picture of a person with a question. For example, an image of a girl with the question “do you think i’d look good as a red head?” You can then provide your answer. Choose to ask and you can pretty much ask anything from “what’s the best eye shadow for blue eyes” to “how do I make blonde hair blonder?” Ask it something really personal like “Do I need to lose weight” and you’ll get the option of adding a pic, asking a makeover squad, or asking your friends. So it’s a pretty personal experience. We opted not to upload a picture with this question, and we received the response “probably not”. When we “liked” the answer, we were given the option of being introduced to the person who answered. So it kind of functions like a social media platform at the same time. Be careful with this one as there’s obviously the potential for trolling, but ultimately it’s a pretty cool idea.
Unlike the previous style and beauty bots we looked at, which are all available on Kik, Amy is available to the broader audience that is using Facebook Messenger. Calling itself your “personal style and fashion shopping assistant,” it’s less brand focused (like style q + a) and more focused on broad advice giving. Amy’s aim is to function like a friend/assistant with whom you can ask style related queries and is definitely in the “app killer” category, as its description states “no more trying to find multiple app icons across multiple screens” so it’s all about the streamlining of online shopping and style hunting.
Summary: These are the four best style/advice/beauty Bots we found in terms of their literal function and the content they provide you with. Definitely worth taking a look at if you’re interested in this area.