Why do we need chatbots? Why would we want to expose a service through a conversation? Why not just build a web page or mobile app, like we have been doing for the last 15-20 years or so? Isn’t that much better than building the bots?
The answer is that things have changed in the software industry and in user behaviour, and these changes are making bots more and more compelling to software companies. Here are some key developments we have seen:
a. In the last few years, most users have adopted mobiles, and it has become harder and more expensive to impress and engage with them through the web. It has made a lot of software providers turn to create native mobile apps (native apps are those which run natively on mobile phones, for example, Instagram) and exposing these mobile apps through app stores.
b. The mobile app ecosystem quickly became saturated, making it harder and more expensive to compete, in addition, users became tired of installing and uninstalling mobile apps and only a few apps prevailed.
c. Surprisingly, the apps that prevailed and become very common were the messaging apps. Most modern users and three or more of these apps on their phones.
d. User mindshare has stuck with the messaging apps. Users spend most of their time in these apps- this is even a growing trend with young users who do not have the “old” notion of the web, and spend most of their time in chat. Messaging and ubiquity of connectivity mean that people are more available and responsive via messaging than alternatives, indirect mode of communication.
e. These new apps opened the ability to expose service, products and brands on these chat platforms. Slack and Kik launched their platforms in 2015 followed by Facebook, Skype and Apple in 2016.