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- amika is a Brooklyn-based hair care company that had a very popular live chat platform, but the brand didn’t have the human resources to reply instantly and offer a personalized hair care consultation to each visitor.
- amika wanted a chatbot solution that could provide customers with immediate and accurate product recommendations, all while fostering an intimate connection between the brand and its customers.
- So Automat created ace (for a conversational experience on amika’s website), the ultimate AI hair advisor, which spoke in amika’s brand voice and knew its product line and applications inside and out.
- Within just a few months, amika was reporting KPIs of 3x conversion, 4x average revenue per customer, and 90% satisfaction.
- The partnership came in at a crucial moment for amika. After COVID-19 hit, their traditional distribution channel went down and they had to prioritize DTC ecommerce. Automat directly generated 30% of additional online revenue.
COVID-19 has accelerated online sales penetration, and the trend is here to stay. The ecommerce game is becoming more competitive than ever: companies who used to only sell in-store are now launching their own DTC websites.
To stand out, not only do your products have to be excellent and your brand appealing, your ecommerce experience has to do more than just follow best practices.
amika had the first two down, but number three was proving a little harder to nail.
Who is amika?
amika is a Brooklyn-based hair care company that describes itself as a collective of creatives, hair stylists, chemists, and product junkies who like to bend the rules.
Started in 2007, they pride themselves on being “antithesis of a typical beauty brand”, choosing instead to be wild, wonderful, wacky, and beautiful. Their packaging, product names, brand voice, and website all reflect that.
They needed their ecommerce experience to do the same.
Ecommerce runs on chat
Visit any retail outlet online these days and chances are you’ll be prompted to engage in some sort of chat.
loveamika.com was no different. It had live chat, and people loved it. Customers were constantly engaging, talking about their hair issues and asking for products that might fix them.
Problem was, amika didn’t have the human resources to reply on the spot and offer a personalized hair care consultation to each visitor. Customers had to wait to get recommendations, which weren’t always very personalized.
They needed to genuinely engage each customer, delight them, make a bang-on recommendation, and convert them.
So they turned to AI.
Using AI to shortcut the sales funnel
When amika began looking for conversational AI technology, they had a simple objective in mind: to offer a more intimate brand experience and stand out in a very competitive market.
Specifically, they had three goals.
- Increase revenue with immediate and accurate product recommendations that would shortcut the sales funnel.
- Create an intimate and lasting connection between the brand and its customers.
- Address customer needs 24/7 with empathy and professionalism.
amika wanted to increase their ecommerce revenue while providing an outstanding and on-brand customer experience. Automat, an AI company that creates virtual salespeople that help retailers sell more online, promised to deliver.
Designing the solution
To make sure amika achieved its goals, Automat’s AI chatbot had to do one thing above all else: be able to personalize the shopping experience to their customers’ exact needs and put the perfect product in front of them.
Working closely with amika’s brand president and ecommerce team, Automat created ace, the ultimate AI hair advisor. The team focused on ace’s personality first.
They wanted it to be a proper reflection of amika’s brand voice: charming, slightly rebellious, and incredibly knowledgeable about hair care.
ace needed to embody what customers already loved about amika. But it also needed to drive conversations that were missing from the online experience.
Providing personalized conversations would mean customers could get advice and recommendations, just like they would have with a hair care specialist in a store or a salon.
Automat trained ace to learn everything there was to know about amika’s products and how they fit in the world of hair care.
In less than a month, ace was smart enough to be launched.
Focusing on deep personalization
Conversations that lead to spot-on recommendations were just the first step. What makes ace so powerful is the way it uses what it learns about customers to automatically and instantly personalize the entire customer journey.
People open up to ace, and ace instantly highlights products that suit their personal needs, everywhere on the website. Visit after visit, customers feel like the entire website is personalized to them, in a super clear and impactful way.
The results of AI on revenue
In the span of just a few months, ace became an integral tool in amika’s ecommerce strategy. The impact on the company’s revenue speaks for itself:
3x higher conversion rate
- ace makes people feel understood, and the resulting sales numbers have been undeniable: once they engage with ace, amika’s customers are 3x more likely to buy.
4x higher AOV
- ace gives customers confidence in their product selection. On average, customers who engage generate 4x more revenue for amika. That’s what happens when you feel heard and understood.
30% more online revenue
- At the very moment amika saw its traditional distribution channel close because of the pandemic, they saw a surge in online sales directly attributed to ace. 30% of their overall revenue simply wouldn’t have happened without Automat.
The results of AI on customer satisfaction
As for amika’s other goal—to create an intimate and lasting connection between the brand and its customers—the feedback on ace has been overwhelming.
amika has received hundreds of messages from customers thanking them for the recommendations and the great experience.
The following is part of an email they received from a brand new customer during a recent flash sale:
“I have never ordered or used an amika product before today. My sister and I were talking the other day about doing an at-home hair gloss or hair shine. So I googled ‘at home hair shine’ and amika’s instant shine product came up. Like I said, I’ve never used or been to the site before and I was BLOWN away! I took the quick quiz to see which products were recommended and then I added almost every single one to my cart! On top of that, the majority of them were 40% off! I have NEVER EVER had such a great user experience before on a site so I just wanted to send a note saying how awesome the experience was. (I even made my sister do the quiz and she ended up ordering stuff too!)”
And this is just one example out of the many emails and DMs that the brand received. A recent survey revealed that 9 out of 10 visitors to amika’s site were “super happy” with the chatbot experience. Even if they know it’s AI, people love talking to ace.
The bottom line
When talking to ace, customers feel like they’re talking to an expert. It doesn’t ask complex questions. It doesn’t follow a single script. It gets to know customers, asks the right questions, and makes recommendations that match their specific needs.
Robbi Webb, amika’s senior director of ecommerce, says, “ace is a significant upgrade from quizzes and chats we’ve seen across our competitors’ websites, and it’s driving great results for us. We really view ace now as an additional customer experience team member. Somebody that’s always online, that’s always available, and really understands the needs of each specific customer based on their answers.”
Most online retailers rely on click-tracking and third-party cookies to make recommendations that customers don’t even trust. With Automat and ace, amika found a more transparent and efficient way to create a personalized ecommerce experience, one that’s helping them stand out from the crowd.