If you open any e-commerce website, you will suddenly see a chat box springing on your screen and an instant message appears that will tell you something about the website or may give you suggestions regarding a purchase. Such a phenomenon is the classic example of a chatbot where you may then continue to interact with it and it will tell you about the products according to your wish. With the constant development of APIs, chatbots are the latest addition in an increasingly automated world.
Such a trend is yet to explode a technological potential, but it surely bears the sign of a new way of marketing. Experts suggest that slowly, end users will stop searching online markets or search engines for products and chatbots will do the job for them. If created properly, chatbots can ensure that your searches will effectively be effortless to the extent that search engines will be replaced by chatbots with built-in features for search.
The advantages at hand
The chatbots are surely growing and there is good reason for it. Developers contributing to it are contributing heavily to the API technology development which can pave way for further technological marvels. Since the chatbots are human-like, they also make the process interactive and hence, the mechanical process of searching is replaced by an interesting way to look for things. In fact, some companies are trying to inject chatbots in the form of messaging apps that will allow you to instruct the chatbot to set reminder, do searches and other activities and many other human like experiences.
Thus, it allows catering to an extremely broad audience who may not even have to type their searches. In fact, the ability to produce personalized tones directing web traffic according to your interest is surely a new realm to internet browsing. It also has the ability to enhance your brand image if used properly. A big example is Tommy Hilfiger, whose chatbot TMY.GRL was released in parallel with New York Fashion Week. It does not jump into action from the word go. It investigates your choice through a series of questions. Then, it will direct you to the required direction.
The disadvantages in the horizon
The disadvantages are kind of obvious, given the technology is yet to bloom completely. These bots can either serve a specific purpose or try to sound interactive and serves the purpose you want it to serve. However, it is not yet of the quality of human-human interactions and hence, the mechanical nature may put a few people off. But, that problem is being reduced step by step and one can surely say that in a few years, chatbots will start behaving like human customer care service providers.
The other big disadvantage has recently been manifested by the Microsoft chatbot called Tay. Within hours of going online, it picked up from the stream of languages that circulate in Twitter and then reframed its vicious, racially and sexually abusive tweets to shake up the whole world. Microsoft had to take it down immediately before it became the online prototype of Hitler. The case only goes to show that chatbots are only ready to serve a specific purpose and they are not ready to learn organically like humans. So, whether chatbots can go the distance or not is yet to be seen.