Allure is launching a chatbot to help readers discover and purchase products from its annual Best of Beauty issue.

The bot, called the Allure Beauty Assistant, is available starting today and is accessible through the Best of Beauty feature on the magazine’s website and mobile app. By participating in a series of questions and answers on topics like skin and hair type, the bot helps users identify items from the list best tailored to their needs and provides links to buy them — giving Allure a way to bolster affiliate revenue.

“That iconic red Allure Best of Beauty seal means a lot to people,” said the publisher’s editor-in-chief, Michelle Lee. “Seeing it on packaging or attached to a product represents trust and results in a major lift in sales for brands, because consumers know how much testing goes into us choosing those winners.”

The bot is part of a larger effort by the brand to expand its e-commerce initiatives by using its status as a beauty authority to profit. After launching its monthly subscription beauty box in February 2016, Allure integrated “Buy it” buttons into its website redesign, a partnership with Amazon in which the publication receives a cut of sales. Lee said the bot will help users find personalized products more quickly than culling through Allure’s vast product recommendations.

“Our aim is to make everything shoppable on the site,” Lee said. “Because our users trust Allure’s recommendations so much, we’ve found that they’re extremely far down the funnel by the time they’ve gotten to a ‘Buy It’ button. When it comes to Best of Beauty, they trust that we’ve recommended the best and they’ve read the review. The bot helps them find a more personalized selection, and they’re ready to buy it or try it. It’s a really useful pathway for the user.”

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An image of the Allure Beauty Assistant app in action

The Allure bot was largely the brainchild of Phillip Picardi, digital editorial director of Allure and Teen Vogue, along with Condé Nast’s CoLab team in Austin, a branch of the media conglomerate opened last year with a focus on digital innovation and research and development. CoLab worked in tandem with Allure editors and the emerging products team in New York to develop the technology, which took about six months to create.

Arlie Sisson, vp of emerging products at Condé Nast, said the team decided not to use Facebook for the bot so it could reach more people. While Condé Nast experienced success with Facebook bots for brands like Teen Vogue and Epicurious — in which users spent on average of four minutes engaging with the technology, a lengthy time for bot engagement — she said the team wanted to alleviate the challenge of locating the bots.

“There’s a discoverability issue for Facebook messenger bots,” she said. “We’re not seeing as many people there as we want there, but when they get there, they love it. So we thought, ‘Where can we take this functionality and then add it to a website?’ The focus was to draw a larger crowd, and that can be found on the website; that’s where Allure sees most of its traffic.”

In order to best capture Allure’s brand voice on the bot, the product teams consulted with Lee, Picardi and several beauty editors at Allure. The goal was for the bot to be friendly and informal, so users feel like they’re receiving real-time recommendations from the magazine’s editorial staff. As a result, the design includes GIFs of staff members like Lee and references to pop culture.

“The tone is reflective of Allure.com. We wanted to make it more relatable and sound conversational,” Picardi said. “We never want to talk down to the reader. When you’re asking a friend about beauty products, you don’t want it to sound clinical.”

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An image of the Allure Beauty Assistant app in action

Sisson said that as Condé Nast continues to grow its digital programming, the key is to develop the right technologies for each brand. While the company is dabbling in a number of emerging platforms, from Google Voice to a new augmented reality program from Apple, she said the team considers what would resonate best for each readership.

To this end, when looking to the future, Lee said her team plans to expand the bot’s capabilities to Allure’s library of product reviews, expanding monetizing possibilities even further.

“We see lots of opportunity for the bot in the future, potentially extending it to other parts of our site, SMS, further e-commerce integrations, social and retail activations,” she said.