Last year, Sephora joined the 6 percent of brands on SnapChat, blasting their followers with special deals on new beauty products. This summer the beauty powerhouse teamed up with women’s lifestyle publisher, POPSUGAR, to do what no makeup brand had done before: attach a mobile shopping function to customers viewing fleeting photos in Emoticode, an app similar to Snapchat. Naturally, the next step for Sephora was to become a chatbot pioneer on the mobile messaging app, Kik, providing makeup tips and reviews through a messaging interface.

“We’ve had our eye on what Kik is doing for a while now and strongly believe that it is a top app that offers Sephora a new avenue of connection with our clients,” says Sephora VP of Digital Marketing Bindu Shah. “Brand engagement and client acquisition, particularly of the highly mobile and connected audience of Gen-Z and younger millennials, was a huge draw for us.”

Though Shah’s goal to drive brand engagement through the app is well-intentioned — Sephora’s Kik bot attempts to personalize by offering users a quick quiz immediately — the bot falls flat in a few places. The reward to the 30-second quiz, for example, is underwhelmingly impersonal: a mini makeup demo for a style that the user never had a chance to weigh in on.


Sephora Kik Bot

Sephora’s Kik bot opens with a mini-quiz about the user’s makeup preferences


For users interested in learning more about what Sephora Collection product is best suited for them, or tips for applying eye shadow, the bot digs deeper.


Sephora Kik Bot

The bot learns about a user’s preferred style before recommending the perfect products.


For users seriously considering whether to commit to a new product without the hassle of visiting the store, the Sephora Kik bot is super convenient — particularly if they’re ready to purchase online. In-store tutorials, though fun and a signature part of the Sephora brand experience, can feel like an unnecessary turn off for some customers, especially those who may not be buying for themselves.

Functionally, the bot is a serious winner for ready-to-buy users who want to learn more about products on the go or for existing Sephora fans to continue engaging with the brand. But the Sephora bot has a long way to go if they want to win over the curious-but-uncommitted users and provide truly personalized makeup tutorials through Kik.

Have you found great makeup products using the Sephora Kik bot? We’d love to hear your comments below.