A few weeks ago Facebook announced that developers can start building bots for their Messenger platform. Today we’re happy to announce that we have released our shopping bot for Messenger by harnessing our artificial intelligence engine in e-commerce. It is a nice preview of things to come. As we’ve been focused deeply on Messenger and the bot world, I thought I’d share a few thoughts around the topic.
Why is this significant?
Bots are a new type of interface for interacting with businesses, especially on messaging platforms. This is important as the top messaging apps have more monthly users than the top social networking apps, which goes to show that people use messaging and communications more than social networks. Even more so, messaging apps have high retention rates and bots are a promising channel into messaging for companies to interact with customers.
How are bots going to make my life better?
In more ways we could imagine today. First and foremost bots are poised to diminish the usage of calling customer service and waiting 10+ minutes to reach a customer representative. Solving a customer query with short and concise information exchange through an existing channel (e.g. Messenger, Telegram) where customers already hang out is convenient for the user. In addition, automating tasks for personal assistants will become more widespread.
Is this just hype?
Well, think back to the AppStore in 2008. The first apps were all over the place but at the end of the day many practical and useful apps emerged. With bots, a similar story will play out. At first, there will be a wide variety of bots across all fields and after trial and error some bots will fail and some bots will become beneficial (e.g. answering questions, providing updates on flight status, helping with shopping). The opportunity is there and we’re excited to contribute to this development.