Kik, a messaging app popular among teens in North America, has officially launched an in-app store for chat bots today. Aiming to build out its platform and attract more brands and publishers, Kik now allows developers to use Kik’s API to create chat bots on behalf of brands and serve users with entertainment content, customer service, and other functions via automated replies. The Washington Post, for example, is working on a chat bot that can surface relevant news stories at readers’ requests. Other brands and media owners that are trying out this Bot Shop include H&M, Vine, and The Weather Channel. The new Bot Shop will be the focal point for their discovery.
What Brands Need To Do
The launch came right on the heels of Microsoft’s debut of its Bot Framework for building cross-platform chat bots last week. Similarly, Facebook also quietly released an SDK that allows developers to build bots for its Messenger app in January. While it is too early to tell how Kik’s Bot Shop will stack up against competitors, it nevertheless provides an interesting new way for brands to connect with young users. With eMarketer predicting that messaging apps will reach 80% of global smartphone users by 2018, brands would be smart to consider experimenting with branded chat bots to reach customers on popular messaging apps.
To learn more about how brands can use chat bots to better serve customers via messaging interfaces, check out our Fast Forward feature on this topic.
Header image courtesy of Kik’s Blog