Mobile app developer Swych announced the beta release of Giftbot, an artificial intelligence-driven, person-to-person digital gifting bot that runs on messaging platforms and in virtual assistant apps.
Swych users can initiate e-gifts from within an ongoing online conversation, and the GiftBot then identifies a recipient from just a first name, automatically picks up the contact’s mobile phone number or e-mail address, makes recommendations for the gift and allows personalization via a greeting. Users receive a confirmation within the Swych app to authorize and pay for the gift after the GiftBot has finished creating it from the conversation.
Swych has designed the GiftBot platform to be white label-ready for retailers and other companies, like financial institutions and corporate enterprises. Beta testing is open on both the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms for users of Facebook Messenger, Skype and Apple’s Siri.
It feels like were getting closer to the point at which bots will do a lot of our shopping, and even our gift-giving. We’re not saying we’re really close to this point, just moving in that direction. Nowadays, AI vehicles like bots are recommending products, and helping us filter and refine our product searches, but eventually, they’ll do more, and the Swych Giftbot is a step in that direction.
As Swych CEO and co-founder Deepak Jain said in a statement, “The paradigm for consumer interaction with brands is at the cusp of a revolution where technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality are gearing up to overtake traditional web- and app-based commerce.”
Something like Giftbot represents one possible and natural evolution for the type of chatbots we see on Facebook Messenger. Right now, consumers can engage with the chatbots to gain information and conduct some aspects of the shopping process, but they don't handle complete purchases to the extent Giftbit does — though maybe they could.
In any case, Giftbot remains at an early stage — it's still actually learning how to do the shopping. As we have seen with some other solutions that rely on AI and machine learning capabilities, Swych is putting its young solution into the hands of users to help refine its machine learning and brand recommendation capabilities.
Swych also sees the benefit of having an e-gifting solution that works entirely in the context of chat and messaging sessions, realizing that chances of people using the Giftbot are higher if they can quickly put it to work when the impulse comes to mind to buy a gift for the person on the other end of the chat. With that capability, it appears to go a step beyond other e-gifting services, such as Nordstrom's CashStar offering, but it makes sense for e-gifting to become more of a dynamic exercise in order to capture more business.
However, Swych isn't just talking about e-gifting during chat sessions. The company noted that the Giftbot could be used in concert with virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri. That's also an important aspect that could further contribute to Giftbot's success, as virtual assistants and the devices that house them rapidly are becoming major players in the shopping process. Bots may be right behind them.