Chatbots are Here and They are Taking Over (FB)

Chatbots are changing the way people shop. This amazing innovation could eliminate the need to visit a merchant’s store or site and simply use messaging apps to purchase products or services.

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The future of conversational commerce is here and it’s likely that our shopping habits will soon undergo a drastic change. Gone are the days when people had to physically visit retails stores. Online shopping has been the best way to go for the past few years. However, a recent innovation is waiting to take over the consumer industry by storm.

We are talking about chatbots, a computer program that functions according to a set of rules. Some chatbots are equipped with artificial intelligence that allow human interaction. This dialog system can be used with various chat platforms like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Slack, Telegram, and more. The chatbot as a program may be also used for different purposes like buying things, checking the weather, getting news updates, having a virtual friend, having a personal financial guide, and several other tasks.

On September 12, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced that is developing a chatbot type feature in its Messenger app. One of the cool aspects of this feature, which currently is in beta testing stage, is how it will soon allow businesses to send and post their ads via chat messages. The ads of businesses will still be posted on the News Feeds of Facebook but, the advertiser has an option to automatically take the customer to the Messenger app when the ad is clicked on. The chatbot will still contain the ad to maintain the context of the conversation. In addition, it will allow the customer to inquire about the products and services offered by the advertiser as if they were talking to someone in the store. The best part about it is that customers can soon make payments via Messenger. The payment information will be stored in the Messenger to make the succeeding purchases and checkouts seamless.

Paying for your purchases will be much easier once chatbots are fully launched onto the different chat platforms. It may be done as easily as messaging a friend thus eliminating the need to visit a third-party website just to make a purchase. Facebook is looking to have the Messenger have chatbots function fully before the year ends.

During the TechCrunch Disrupt SF, Facebook Messenger head David Marcus announced that the credit card information of people can now be stored in Facebook or Messenger. Customers now have the choice to allow advertisers to use this information to make shopping more convenient. Currently, 34,000 developers have joined the platform. Marcus added that the company is polishing deals with all the major names in the industry such as Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Stripe, and Braintree.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) users will also be happy to learn that the chatbot service is also available on their computers and mobile devices. The recent update of the iOS software system allows them to send their payments directly via iMessage or Siri. This handy feature is dependent on payment apps like Paypal’s Venmo.

Peer-to-peer payment capability via Messenger was first introduced in 2015.Venmo is also growing steadily and it is clearly visible in the $1 billion worth of transactions processed by the company in January 2016. There are more innovations to look forward to using the chat messaging platforms. Experts believe that major changes in the way people pay for their purchases will happen really soon.

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