Estée Lauder-owned Smashbox Cosmetics has unveiled a chatbot for its UK shoppers which will allow them to try on multiple products via augmented reality.

The cult beauty brand’s chatbot can be accessed by shoppers via Facebook Messenger and offers a variety of services including a store locator, make-up artist appointment bookings and product suggestions and inspiration.

Users can also browse the whole of the beauty retailer’s range within the Facebook chat and are transferred to Smashbox’s mobile site within the chatbot if they decide to purchase an item.

Shoppers can also upload selfies to the Facebook Messenger chat and test out various make-up products at the same time, or test out a whole make-up look on their face.

Estée Lauder’s executive director of application development Mark Lapicki said that the AI- and AR-enabled chatbot was a “genuinely useful” tool for Smashbox’s customers.

“This technology means our customers can experiment with new products much more quickly than they could try them on in person,” he said.

“Smashbox customers are very tech-savvy and this product is also fun and immediately social and shareable.”

This chatbot, which will be a permanent feature in Smashbox’s digital arsenal, came off the back of Estée Lauder’s Christmas gifting offer from December 2016, which allowed London shoppers to purchase items via a chatbot and receive their orders within an hour.

Smashbox collaborated with media agency Manning Gottlieb and AI specialist IV.AI to develop the chatbot.

‘Blazing a trail’

The beauty retailer’s UK and Ireland brand manager Anuschka Kuhnel said: “Smashbox has been blazing the trail with innovative products since 1996. It is only natural that we should lead on innovation in the area of AI as well. Our chatbot will add to the customer experience and make our products accessible whenever and wherever they need.”

Users can communicate with the chatbot by typing a request into the chat or selecting one of a series of options, which include ‘ideas and inspo’ and ‘explore products’.

The bot has also been designed to communicate with Smashbox’s customers as they would with their friends – compliments that are sent for customers when using AR functionality to try out products are peppered with emojis and GIFs.