Since the launch of Facebook’s Messenger platform last April, over 34,000 chatbots have been written, using simulated texting and chat interfaces to interact with users.
Chatbots don’t require users to install anything. Chatbots are simpler and cheaper to develop than native apps.
And now chatbots have the ability to accept payments on Messenger, without sending consumers to an external website. With more than 1 billion monthly active users on Messenger, there are plenty of good reasons for businesses to develop chatbots for the platform.
While chatbots remain a novelty, until they prove their usefulness to consumers, merchants can evaluate their effectiveness by testing some of the standouts. Here is a list of chatbots on Messenger. There are several chatbots for online stores, as well as online services.
Chatbots on Facebook Messenger
Fynd’s Fify. Fynd’s Fify is a chatbot for Fynd, India’s largest online fashion shopping app, which provides real-time product pricing and availability. Use Fify to find clothing and accessories for men and women. For curious merchants, Fynd has started a blog, detailing its efforts to develop the bot as part of its open sourcing initiative. “Fify will first talk only about Fynd Fashion and eventually do all sorts of thing related to fashion — discuss trends, alert you about new arrivals, and even gossip about the latest fad of a movie star.”
Kayak. Search hundreds of travel sites for information on flights, hotels, rental cars, and things to do. Keep up to date on your travel plans, and manage your trip. In addition to Messenger, the Kayak bot is available on Slack, Amazon Echo, and iMessage.
1-800-Flowers. Order flowers or talk to customer support without leaving Messenger. This chatbot received some attention at the last F8 developer conference when Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg announced, “To order flowers on 1-800-Flowers, you never have to call 1-800-Flowers again.”
Uniqlo IQ. The IQ chatbot is a new way to shop Japanese retailer Uniqlo. Tell IQ what you’re looking for, and swipe through the results. You can even search by emoji. IQ can grab your bag for shipping or show you availability at stores close by.
Uber. Ride-hailing service Uber has been on Messenger for over a year, allowing users to order cars from any conversation by tapping a car icon. Users can message the Uber bot directly to order a ride. In addition to Messenger, find the Uber bot on Telegram or Slack.
KLM Airlines. After booking your flight on KLM.com, choose to receive your booking confirmation, check-in notification, boarding pass, and flight status updates via Messenger. The chatbot answers basic questions. When there’s a bigger question, a human agent jumps in. With approximately 15,000 social conversations in a given week, the chatbot is a productivity tool for both customers and KLM’s 235-person social media team.
ShelfJoy. ShelfJoy is a Facebook bot to deliver hand-curated book suggestions. It curates millions of books into lists that match your interest. Every day, a new shelf is unlocked and is delivered on Facebook Messenger. Some example shelves are books mentioned in Woody Allen movies and biographies of female mathematicians.
eBay ShopBot. Browse collections, find unique items, and discover great deals with your personal shopper that learns as you chat. eBay ShopBot is in beta, with features and functions still in development. According to the bot’s website, you’ll not only get to see it grow, but you can even help shape its future. Give feedback, no matter how big or small.
Bly. Bly is a virtual intelligent assistant that you can chat with to buy, sell, rent, and offer services. As described on Bly’s website, Bly is “designed to behave like that friend that we all have and seek out each time we need to know if he knows someone to buy this or someone selling that, or to ask his opinion about an apartment or service.”
Burberry. The luxury retailer initially launched its chatbot to showcase the brand’s runway items from London Fashion Week. The interactive bot guided curious users through images of the new fashion collection. Currently, in addition to offering help and shopping links, Burberry’s bot is promoting an upcoming February fashion show.
Sure Bot. Sure is a chatbot to get recommendations on restaurants and cafes. The recommendations are from humans, while the chatbot stands out with a fun conversational interface. Currently, Sure is available in just two cities, but it’s a good example of a fun and friendly interface, including lots of emojis.
HealthTap. HealthTap is a service that provides instant answers from over 100,000 doctors. Its mission is to help people live healthier, longer, and happier lives. Ask a medical question, and get relevant personalized doctor-created content.
M. M is Facebook’s artificial-intelligence-powered virtual assistant within Messenger. Facebook continues to develop its features, such as accepting payments and its new M Suggestions, which makes suggestions based on user conversations. Currently, M is available only to select users. But as Facebook continues to develop Messenger, M’s interface may transform from novelty chat to meaningful dialogue.