Kik, an anonymous messaging platform popular with youngsters, is announcing that it has more than 20,000 bots operating on its platform.
What are these bots doing you might ask? Lots of stuff. CNN is using it to serve up news to a younger audience. Sephora's chatbot will teach you how to use makeup. The Magic Eight chatbot gives you randomly selected answers to questions about your future—much like the black ball oracle of your youth. But what's interesting about chatbots is when brands use them offline, says Kik CEO Ted Livingston. For example, he says, Victoria Secret created a chatbot that you can chat with when you scan a Kik code posted inside a changing room at one of their stores. The scan initiates a conversation with the retailer's Pinkbot, where customers can ask about sizing and other product tips.
"It still is early," says Livingston. "I think the cool things about bots is in a world where everyone is spending all their time on their phone, but nobody is downloading apps. Bots become a way to get software in front of people." RR