How bots are driving a transformation in customised beauty

Customised beauty is more important than ever to online shoppers. Image: Bigstock

Personalisation has always been an integral part of the beauty shopping experience, but with consumers increasingly making cosmetic and skincare purchases online, many retailers have struggled to offer the same level of customisation that they would provide in-store. 

Enter beauty bots. 

Using a skin quiz and artificial intelligence (AI), a beauty bot can suggest products that suit a person’s individual skincare needs.

Askbella, a new e-commerce site that launched in Australia last month, aims to do just that. 

The bot provides a free, detailed skin analysis and makes product recommendations as part of a tailored skincare routine. And consumers can then purchase the products on site. 

Having experienced the beauty industry from both a professional and personal standpoint, Askbella founder Elaine Yang felt that there were some gaps in the online shopping journey. 

“I’ve always known the value of good skincare. I tried a whole bunch of different skincare and beauty products to find the perfect fit for my skin but struggled with researching products and matching them to my skin. Once I did finally find a product that worked, I found it difficult to create a skincare routine without lots of trial and error to get the right mix of products – I felt like I was wasting my money,” Yang said. 

Decisions, decisions

After conducting research on the topic, Yang found that 74 per cent of Australian beauty customers are overwhelmed by too many product choices and struggle to find the right products.

“This is where I got the initial idea for Askbella, and the rest happened from there. 

My ultimate goal is to build Askbella as the go-to destination for beauty shoppers looking for guidance with their next skincare purchase, helping them get it right the first time, saving them time, money and breakouts in the long run.”

The platform aims to serve as an “accessible, informative and streamlined online skincare guide”. 

The beauty bot intelligence has been developed with dermatologists by analysing a large selection of products and ingredients.

“The beauty bot is already very smart in analysing skin conditions and providing recommendations, and it becomes more reliable over time as the user number grows. Every time the user engages with the bot and provides feedback about their recommended products, it allows the algorithm to learn and improve accuracy,” Yang explained. 

While most retailers understand the importance of AI digital transformation, they often struggle to integrate technology into their existing business models. Yang said the focus needs to be on hearing what consumers want. 

“The goal of involving AI technology is to create a personalised customer experience rather than adding a new promotional sales channel. To enable tech-focused service, retailers need to understand customers’ personal beauty needs, social occasions, pain points and the emotions behind each purchase. The whole process needs to involve new models and resources,” she said. 

Korean beauty brand Boniik has partnered with Askbella as a distributor. Brands currently stocked on the platform include Cosrx, Klairs, Make p:rem, Dr. Jart and more

“The mission of the brands we distribute is to create high-quality skincare products that target specific skin concerns and deliver value, and Askbella’s ingredient-first approach to product recommendations is perfectly aligned to this,” said YJ Lim, business development executive at Boniik.

“We are also excited to increase the online exposure of the brands in Australia by using AI technology.”


Lim believes virtual assistants will become increasingly important in skincare as more people shop online.

“With consumers spending more time on social media and messaging apps, online skin analysis will help us bring the offline, in-store experience direct to consumers online,” Lim said. 

Yang believes demand for hyper-personalised customer experience will continue to rise in the next 10-20 years. 

“Customised beauty will be the next big thing in the industry. Technology will be heavily involved to facilitate consumers needs, to deliver the best experience,” she said. 

“Thanks to AI and big data, brands will be able to close the market gap by analysing specific demographic requirements, and this personalisation experience will make shopping easier for customers and help the brand sell the right products to the right customer.”

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