24 Jan 2017

B2C Messaging Has Potential, Chatbots Not As Much

Chatbots — or automated conversational agents — have been around for a few years. However, chatbot hype only took off in early 2016 when major social and messaging companies began investing in the area. Their reliance on artificial intelligence (AI), as opposed to prerecorded responses, generated a lot of excitement in the industry. Much of this was centered around the concept of “conversational commerce” — i.e., the ability to transact or make purchases using a conversational interface — usually within a messaging app. The premise behind this was that chatbots would enable a frictionless experience as users would not need to open or download another app. But by the end of the year, it became clear that expectations were far higher than existing capabilities could deliver.