Messaging apps and chat bots are all the rage. They were a highlight at Microsoft’s recent Build conference; Kik’s bot store announcement last week; and they could dominate Facebook’s F8 developer conference this week. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you soon will.
As background, messaging apps are exploding in popularity among increasingly buying-empowered millennials. Facebook Messenger has 900 million users and growing; and there are several others like WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik, Snapchat (and Slack in the enterprise world).
But as we predicted last year, these apps are evolving from peer-to-peer use, to a means to converse and transact with businesses. That’s everything from customer service inquiries; to checking the status of an order; to buy, schedule, book or reserve something.
Like many other things, this is starting at the brand level with companies like Sephora. However, the real opportunity is in the long-tail SMB segment. But since SMBs are famously time-constrained, they can’t sit there and message customers all day. That’s where chat bots come in.
We explore this emerging — and soon to be huge — area of “conversational commerce” in the latest Analyst Briefs: Insights in Under 5 Minutes. See the episode below and stay tuned for much more bot coverage, including next month’s BIA/Kelsey ENGAGE. I’ll be dressed like a robot.