How to unlock the full potential of beauty and wellness: AI, AR, and beyond
In the shift towards a consumer-centric approach for beauty and wellness brands, new technologies are more important than ever. We speak to Miikka Mäkiö, Senior Vice President of EMEA at Revieve, about how to utilise the power of AI, AR, and cutting-edge technologies like Gen AI.
By EDITORIAL STAFF
October 05, 2023
Founded in 2016, Revieve embarked on a mission to transform the beauty shopping experience and make it more personal and impactful. The CEO, Sampo Parkkinen, realised there was a gap in the market for personalised skincare advice and product recommendations. This drove him to create a platform that would not only help consumers choose the right products but also educate them on how to use them effectively to improve their skin over time.
The journey began with a focus on skincare. Leveraging their expertise in technology, the company developed innovative solutions to provide personalised skincare advice. However, they chose a unique path by collaborating with brands and stores rather than going directly to consumers. This strategic decision allowed them to reach a wider audience and have a more significant impact on the beauty industry.
Fast forward to today, and Revieve has witnessed exponential growth, particularly during the pandemic, when people started seeking digital solutions through brands and stores more than ever. People now view beauty, health, and wellness as interconnected, and Revieve has adapted by expanding its offerings into makeup, haircare, nutrition, and more.
Miikka Mäkiö has worked with beauty brands and retailers globally, helping them to deploy state-of-the-art digital solutions for their beauty shoppers, especially consulting on how to get the most out of these tools. As the Senior Vice President of EMEA at Revieve, he’s working with brands like Shiseido, Orilame, and No7 along with retailers such as AS Watson Group and Boots.
You talk about being customer-centric, understanding customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations. How can you help brands serve their consumers through data?
— The data has become the lifeblood of decision-making for businesses across industries, says Mäkiö. However, in the realm of beauty retail, where personalisation and understanding consumer preferences are paramount, traditional data sources like purchase history and browsing data only scratch the surface. It’s here that AI- and AR-powered digital consumer experiences step in, offering a new dimension of beauty intelligence.
— We stand out here, redefining how beauty brands and retailers engage with their customers. Unlike many players in the market, Revieve taps into zero and first-party data to fine-tune its efforts, making them not only more efficient but also highly effective. By gaining a deeper understanding of their target audience, retailers can then explore new and innovative strategies, bringing a fresh perspective to reaching potential customers.
How can data be used to provide a personalised consumer experience?
— By elevating customer retention, loyalty, and engagement, we harness the mentioned zero and first-party data for deeply personalised marketing that resonates on a personal level. This extends to loyalty programs, nurturing lasting customer relationships. It can create value-added loyalty programs by understanding customer behaviours and preferences. It can guide product development and assortment positioning, aligning offerings with customer demands, and improving monetisation strategies.
— Zero and first-party data also play a pivotal role in making informed product development decisions and optimising assortment positioning, ensuring that the offerings align with customer demands. This data-driven decision-making ensures that products not only grace the shelves but also land in the hands of eager customers. Consistency across channels is crucial for retailers and this approach ensures enhanced cross-channel engagement and omnichannel optimisation, and reduces training and onboarding costs while ensuring a seamless transition for customers between various touchpoints to interact with your brand in the way that suits them best.
How has the beauty and wellness industry shifted towards this customer-centric approach?
— We’re witnessing a profound transformation in how consumers engage with brands. This is all thanks to the transformative power of AI, AR, and cutting-edge technologies, such as Gen AI, that are now a fundamental element of the contemporary beauty industry. The significance of the customer experience has surged, with a striking 88% of consumers now deeming it as vital as the actual products or services offered by a company (up from 80% in 2020). This transformation is primarily propelled by the adoption of relationship commerce approaches and underscores the growing emphasis on customer-centric experiences, says Mäkiö. He continues:
— Recognising the uniqueness, preferences, and needs of each individual, personalisation serves as the initial step toward forging enduring and meaningful relationships in the beauty and wellness sector. That’s why brands are increasingly placing a growing emphasis on personalization and partnering with companies like us, leveraging advanced AI and AR technologies to gain a comprehensive understanding of each customer’s preferences. Innovative solutions powered by beauty tech empower brands and retailers to extend the user experience, strengthening the emotional bond between the brand and the customer.
How can brands that aren’t tech-savvy learn to use data? What are some first steps?
— They can certainly harness the power of data by partnering with innovative beauty tech companies. You don’t need to be an expert in data evaluation or possess in-depth knowledge of data analytics but just provide access to your data sources. The rest is taken care of.
— A key starting point is identifying the data sources and understanding what kind of information they have access to. When we leverage these first and zero-party data to provide insights into consumer behaviours, it’s not a manual process. It’s all automated. It enables you to build detailed customer profiles, streamlines the process and ensures that brands without extensive tech knowledge can harness the potential of data to drive business growth.
What role do AI and new technologies play in this field in the years to come?
— The beauty industry has long been an advocate for AI, embracing its capabilities across various sectors and its influence has expanded significantly. A multitude of innovations, including Computer Vision, real-time AI interactions, and AI-driven recommendations, are playing a pivotal role in transforming the relationship between businesses and customers. As to where it is headed, AI and AR are just the beginning of the future of beauty tech. With new technology developments, consumers can be reached in new ways and foster deeper relationships, including a personalised brand experience and virtual community building or engagement.
— It’s fascinating to witness the emergence of Generative AI and Conversational AI as pivotal technologies, redefining customer interactions. Conversational AI enables human-like, real-time conversations with consumers, providing instant answers. Gen AI, on the other hand, acts as a decentralised knowledge hub, extracting insights from data through tailored queries, enhancing the user experience. Both drive customer-centricity and data-driven success. They generate personalised content, fuel product innovation, optimise marketing campaigns, and enable hyper-targeted engagement.
You can provide a bunch of different services and technologies. Which are the most crucial ones for brands, in order to help them raise ROI and brand awareness, and improve the consumer experience?
— Key modules are the AI Skincare Advisor, Makeup Advisor, Skin Coach, Haircare Advisor, Virtual Try-On, and a product recommendation engine. Not only do they provide a tailored approach to each individual but also immersive virtual experiences, ongoing consumer engagement, and consistent brand identity. The platform’s data and analytics further empower brands to make informed decisions, ultimately driving better ROI and fostering brand loyalty.
One of Revieve’s partnerships, with Super-Pharm, Mäkiö describes as ”transformative”.
— Their commitment to enhancing the beauty experience through consumer education, trust, and emotional connections has been exemplary and they used our platform to bring their vision to life. After integrating a range of our solutions, including the Skincare Advisor, Makeup Advisor, and Artist Makeup Virtual Try-on, both online and in-store, the impact has been nothing short of exceptional.
— The deployment has not only driven user engagement and marketing ROI but has also been instrumental in collecting valuable data. This data, in turn, has opened up new avenues for growth and innovation. Together, we’ve not only enhanced the beauty shopping experience but also driven significant business growth.
What else is on your agenda now?
— Retailers and brands who effectively harness the mentioned data types in 2023 can expect substantial returns, with studies showing that data-driven personalisation strategies can lead to a significant increase in ROI, says Mäkiö. Businesses integrating first-party data across channels have reported a 150% boost in cost savings and nearly 300% revenue growth. However, collecting data is just the first step; the real challenge lies in leveraging consumer data to create timely, personalised campaigns that resonate at an individual level.
— The future holds immense potential for zero and first-party data, shaping more personalised, insightful, and engaging interactions between brands and consumers. This evolving landscape will further enhance the beauty and retail industry’s ability to cater to individual needs and preferences, ultimately redefining the customer experience.
— In the realm of beauty retail, where personalisation and understanding consumer preferences are paramount, traditional data sources like purchase history and browsing data only scratch the surface. When AI- and AR-powered digital consumer experiences step in, they offer a new dimension of beauty intelligence.
— Businesses integrating first-party data across channels have reported a 150% boost in cost savings and nearly 300% revenue growth.
— AI and AR are just the beginning of the future of beauty tech. With new technology developments, consumers can be reached in new ways and foster deeper relationships, including a personalised brand experience and virtual community building or engagement.
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