Chat platform Kik launched its new Fashion and Beauty category today, its fourth category since Kik created its Bot Shop in April.
The Fashion and Beauty category joins existing categories like Entertainment, New and Noteworthy, Lifestyle, and Games. There are 111 bots in the Bot Shop today, Kik Interactive said, and more than 20,000 bots on the Kik platform.
Kik also announced that the new Fashion and Beauty category comes with a new functionality: You can chat with a concierge bot within a Fashion and Beauty bot.
This update extends activity with groups that started in July with the Zombie Invasion bot. Depending on the reaction to concierge bots, this feature can be extended to bots beyond Fashion and Beauty, Kik’s director of retail at Kik Interactive, Jaclyn Ling, told VentureBeat in a Google Hangouts interview.
The CelebStyle concierge bot helps you dress like a celebrity — like Emma Roberts, for example — while TrendBot keeps you up-to-date with the latest styles.
You can ask concierge bots for tips or tutorials or for recommendations.
Concierge bots can recommend products based on a subject, brand, or product type. But just because you’re chatting with the H&M bot, for example, doesn’t mean the bot is obligated to show you H&M products.
“If I’m in the H&M bot and I bring in the InspoBot, you can kind of see the concierge bot as an unbiased friend that’s giving you an opinion,” Ling said.
Bots can be brought into a conversation to help friends and groups of people shop together. And the new concierge bots can now speak to other bots.
“I think that, as a platform, we understand that… [fashion and beauty] is a key interest area for teenagers, so it’s definitely a focus for us.” Ling said.
Bots that are not in the Bot Shop can only be used by a maximum 60 people at once, the platform states.
Concierge bots will help people shop, but payments are still processed outside the bot. Facebook Messenger recently became one of the first major chat platforms to allow payments within a bot.
“I think it’s an interesting area for most messaging platforms right now,” Ling said. “I really believe there are a lot of steps within the shopping journey. It kind of starts with discovering or browsing and researching and then purchasing, so I think until we can perfect the first two steps, it would be a little premature to add in the transaction piece.”