Shopsense, a Mumbai-based retail technology startup behind the online fashion shopping app Fynd, has launched Fify – world’s first fashion shopping “botfriend”. Fify is conversational commerce bot for discovery and transactions.
Fify is in public beta on Facebook Messenger and will soon have presence across SMS, Whatsapp and Telegram among other platforms.
As said, this is the era of personalisation where one to one personalised communications are every marketer’s dream. In the pre-smartphone era, to get information about any product, one needed to dive into channels such as email, SMS, and search engines. Then came apps. But now people are downloading fewer apps, and certainly don’t turn on push notifications. According to researches, people are now spending more time on messengers than social media platforms.
“People are shifting time. This time will be monetised by pure Internet companies and in this case primarily by Facebook. Messaging is the new platform and bots are the apps. We want to be on this channel before any one and use it to scale massively and efficiently,” said Farooq.
What is Fify?
Fify is an intelligent fashion discovery and transaction bot, which will have its own memory and personality to resemble a human being. She would be like a 20-something stickler for all things in ‘Vogue’. Her mission is to make the world a beautiful place where everyone is well-dressed and looks their best. She comes alive at the mildest opportunity of discussing fashion, styling & shopping!
Since the bot is expected to have chat with consumers, it has been trained with different conversation stories having different types of users, such as Genuine, Novice, Daily, Flirty, and more. She will also respond with funky GIFs to emote positive and negative sentiments such as angry, happy, appreciation, wink, thank you, and more.
The founders’ primary aim is to make Fify a daily conversation bot for people to converse with her about all topic in fashion. Initially, Fify will talk only about Fynd Fashion and eventually do all sorts of things related to fashion – discuss trends, alert you about new arrivals, and even gossip about the latest fad of a movie star.
The app will integrate with nearby store inventories allowing users to discover and follow brands they love, order products and get it delivered within hours. As Farooq Adam, co-founder of Fynd puts it, “Fify is Fynd’s intelligent fashion discovery and transaction botfriend.” Fify was built in line with the startup’s purpose of ‘Helping people effortlessly discover their fashion’. As people tend to reach out to friends for shopping help or product reviews, Fynd decided to make Fify that botfriend to assist users with all their style dilemmas.
How it works?
The development of Fify is based on an AI/Bot engine, Platform (memory), Distribution and Mobile Web. As per Farooq, asking consumers to install app, adds a huge mental hurdle, eventually making Fify ineffective. Therefore, mobile web is going to be integral to enable transactions once intent is established. Once a customer discovers a product on Fify, they will be able to complete the transaction on mobile web without having to install the app.
As shown in the image below, Fify’s responses are powered by an editorial layer – The Closet, which would act as a better conversation starter. “The closet articles would give more context to the message. Think of this like a news from CNN but on fashion,” said Farooq.
Future Growth and Revenues
As the team will start moving towards strong AI, Fify will evolve constantly by reading news, fashion blogs and other relevant RSS feeds to become aware. “Soon she will behave differently with different people. She will remember your tastes and preferences and be context aware of what is happening in your world.”, says Farooq.
“A typical shopping journey goes as Discovery → Transaction → Fulfilment → Post Transaction. Fify will have to enable every part of this journey to be become habit forming. End goal for Fify is to drive revenue. If we are able to drive transaction through Fify, everything will follow – customer delight, stickiness, word of mouth, etc.”
Fynd is backed by Kae Capital, and Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal from Snapdeal.
Other Startups Using Facebook Messenger Bots
Earlier this week, Jugnoo, the online auto aggregator portal has introduced Jugnoo Bot to enable auto rickshaw bookings on Facebook Messenger. It enables the users to book their Jugnoo ride simply by typing a text message in Facebook messenger or clicking on ‘Book-a-Ride’ option. Jugnoo automatically authenticates users through their Facebook login details, eliminating the need to login into the Jugnoo account separately. Jugnoo’s AI-based engine then detects their ride location and suggests nearby multiple locations to choose from.
Users can also share their location via FB Messenger location button. The Jugnoo Bot then shares ETA and fares with users to confirm their ride. Once booking is confirmed, a Jugnoo driver is assigned and the driver details (Name, Phone Number, Vehicle Number and Driver’s pic) are shared with users . The Bot also allows real time tracking of the ride by users.
Then, there is Chennai based Lawbot, that can analyse legal contracts and point out potential risk areas. Unilazer Ventures backed Niki.ai is an app where users can chat with a bot to book cabs, order burgers and recharge phones. Skedool.it is another chatbot which allows one to schedule meetings and is backed by Kludein Llc, redBus and Pranav Pai.
Then there is Helpchat and Lookup who are trying to use chatbots along with manual chats.
Online doctor consultation platform Lybrate had also extended its services to Facebook through its chatbot. Uber, TechCrunch and WSJ are some other names adding to the list.
Since Facebook opened its messenger platform to let anyone build chatbots, ‘conversational commerce’ has taken quite big leaps. On one hand, this is a positive step towards encouraging customer interaction, as chatbots are quite life-like and fun element to the conversations. However, on the other side, it would lack the natural bonding between humans, and would be based completely on database being fed to the bot by the company.
Well, it’s too early to say anything, and would be interesting to watch how it evolves in coming future. Who knows that with ongoing developments, it becomes a normal routine thing to talk with brands botfriends over Messenger, WhatsApp and other chat platforms.