While some critics say the chatbot trend is over before it ever really began, Facebook continues to be bullish on the technology, which has a much more significant foothold in Asian markets.
“We’re doubling down and tripling down on bots,” David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products told USA Today in early April 2017. “We’re fully invested in this, and in it for the long haul.”
Accordingly, at its recent F8 developer conference, Facebook announced a slew of new features for Messenger, including Chat Extensions that allow multiple users to message the same business at the same time.
But to date, there haven’t been any notable chatbot blockbusters — nothing to elevate the technology to a level of general awareness, at least not for Facebook Messengers. What we have seen on that platform are some clever tools from independent developers and larger projects undertaken by brands.
This week’s recommended bot is the latter and while it is a blatant marketing gimmick, it’s a rather ingenious one. L’Oréal’s Beauty Gifter bot helps you find a gift for the beauty product lover in your life by quizzing both you and the intended recipient for pertinent information.
To begin with, the bot asks you to state your relationship to the person (i.e. mother, daughter, girlfriend etc.), then their age range and your budget. After you’ve provided this info, it gives you an invite to share to the recipient that says “Hey ___, this sounded awesome – sharing with you.”
Once clicked, it leads them to a short quiz where they choose between activities and looks. Based on those answers, the bot sends some gift box suggestions. All are from L’Oréal brands like NYX, Urban Decay, Kiehl’s, Shu Uemura and Vichy — but the good news is that you probably didn’t know half of those were L’Oréal brands.
If the recipient likes those options they can pick a few to send back to you, and you have a list of pre-approved gift ideas in the right price range. With Mother’s Day coming around the corner, this could be a handy solution. Maybe not blockbuster handy, but still impressive enough to convince me there is a future for chatbots, even if it takes the long haul.
Start messaging L’Oréal’s Beauty Gifter here.