Prestige beauty giant Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) has announced an expanded strategic partnership with Google Cloud to explore new applications of generative AI across its portfolio of luxury brands. This builds on their multi-year collaboration to harness AI and cloud computing to transform the digital beauty experience.
From customer service to marketing, the two industry leaders aim to tap generative AI’s potential to enable more responsive, personalized consumer interactions across ELC’s brands like Estée Lauder, Clinique, and Tom Ford Beauty. Specific planned uses include analyzing consumer sentiment in real-time across social media and other touchpoints, and optimizing business operations. This will help ELC proactively address concerns, adapt to external trends, and improving the consumer journey.
The announcement expands an existing partnership where ELC utilizes Google Cloud tools like Vertex AI, BigQuery, and Looker to consolidate data and tailor consumer experiences across brands and geographies. With Google Cloud's AI solutions tailored for retail, ELC has also developed personalized sites delivering improved conversion and customer lifetime value.
For example, ELC is leveraging Google Cloud’s Vertex AI platform to streamline operations via generative AI-powered workflows. The goal is reducing costs while unlocking productivity gains. Google’s latest large language model, PaLM 2, allows ELC to proactively address consumer needs and concerns, by parsing nuanced feedback from diverse sources including call centers and brand websites.
“Through our collaboration with Google Cloud, we are creating high-touch, personalized experiences online that our consumers expect from every interaction with our brands,” said ELC EVP Online Gibu Thomas.
Another highlight is ELC's implementation of generative AI to turbo-charge its customer service operations. PaLM 2, has proven to be twice as accurate as human operators in classifying customer calls. This increased efficiency not only speeds up issue resolution but also provides invaluable data that feeds into other areas of the business like product development and site merchandising.
ELC say it plans to extend these capabilities to channels like social media. According to Thomas, "By working with Google Cloud's generative AI technologies, our data science teams are unlocking new ways to serve our consumers."
Generative AI has also found a home in ELC's marketing department, notably for creating SEO-optimized content. For now, the AI tools don’t replace human creativity; they augment it by generating multiple versions of text, thus accelerating the copywriting process. It's a balancing act between technological capability and human insight, underpinned by ELC's commitment to brand equity and consumer trust.
ELC's investments in AI and data science aren’t a shot in the dark. The company had previously worked with its development partner, Eviden, to deploy a data analytics platform, consolidating its data from across marketing, sales, and operations into a single environment. This strategic maneuver enables them to better understand consumer intent, tailor consumer experiences for its myriad of brands, and optimize customer lifetime value.
The collaboration between ELC and Google Cloud is a timely response to the beauty market's ongoing transition characterized by fluctuating consumer expectations and an emphasis on personalization.
"Our work with The Estée Lauder Companies to build a foundational data platform is now helping drive new generative AI use cases that will transform the consumer experience and the beauty industry overall,” said Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.
With beauty consumers increasingly expecting personalized, responsive engagement online, the ELC-Google Cloud alliance demonstrates the immense potential of thoughtfully applied generative AI. For ELC, this means aligning AI capabilities with business values, elevating consumer experience, and setting new standards for the beauty industry.