The average person uses 3-5 apps per day. How many do you have on your phone? The big app purge is coming — you know, the day you delete all of those apps that you don’t use.
In a really big way, apps have failed us, and the reasons are quite obvious.
First, apps require learning. Each app has its own user interface, which inevitably becomes more and more complex with each new release, all but ensuring that new users will struggle.
Second, app discovery sucks. It’s the equivalent of Yahoo circa 1996. You basically have two options: know the name of the app, or hope that it is popular enough to be featured / ranks high enough on a few keywords so you can discover it. If you have a problem and you’re seeking a solution, chances are you won’t find it in the App Store.
Lastly, apps have too many friction points. You have to sign up, sign in, and remember the app for future use. This means that a lot of great technology that could be life changing goes unused, primarily due to cognitive load.
The user experience with bots is ultra fast and simple. In fact, it’s as simple as picking fruit from a tree, something humans have been doing for 100,000 years or more. No matter what fruit you’re picking, the user experience is similar, despite the reward being different.
The immediate value of a bot
One of the main advantages of bots is that they offer instant access to value while eliminating friction. There is no sign-in or sign-up process, like an app or a website requires, and since the bot already has access to your social media profile, it can personalize information to you instantly.
Additionally, the bot UI is standard, so there will be no new interface to learn. First-time users can get immediate value and solve their problems quickly. Bots excel at one-time-use cases. If you need help fighting a parking ticket, ordering pizza, or finding out if Sephora has your favorite lipstick in stock, bots will effortlessly solve your problem.
Bots will dominate in these areas:
- Retail: Imagine being able to quickly find out that Sephora just got the Selena collection in stock, and then be able to put the signature red lipstick on hold. Bots will offer this level of personalized experience without the heaviness of an app.
- Customer Service: Everyone hates calling 1–800 numbers, and soon bots will become a much loved alternative. Imagine never having to be on hold again!
- Local Services: Bots will be great at getting local services. Need to preorder lunch, book reservations at a hotel, or even hire a local plumber? Bots will automate this process.
- Scalable Personalized Content: Bot can segment their audience and give different users different experiences. This is something you can now do with Chatfuel, and it’s showing signs of great success.
- Social: Soon you and your friends will be able to summon a bot to group chat to have it order movie tickets, book a trip, or even order takeout.
- One-Time-Use Cases: In areas where the epistemology is well known, a bot will be able to offer professional-grade services. For example, a dermatology bot will be able to monitor your skin ailments and prescribe medicine. Bots will be able to quickly scan your eye and tell you if you have diabetes (something Google has done successfully) or even fight a parking ticket for you.
- Conversational: When multiple variable inputs are needed, bots excel. This means that bot apps can more effectively understand a particular need than an app can. Furthermore, conversations are very human, which means that a bot has a much higher chance of being memorable.
Due to high friction and low discoverability, 99 percent of apps and their technology will never see the light of day. This is a massive waste! Bots’ tail will have far more value than apps’ long tail. In terms of popularity, the tail will both be much longer and have a higher volume. Bots will be more comparable to websites or even phone calls than apps.
The internet allowed us to democratize content and product creation. As a result, artists, bloggers, musicians, and product creators are no longer at the whims of large corporations. Solo acts have access to distribution channels like never before, and bots offer the next logical step.This means further democratization for product and content creation and an even bigger push towards personalization. In order for bots to fully capitalize on this opportunity, discovery will need to be improved.
Currently, Facebook does not even have a bot store; however, this is sure to change. One of Facebook’s main goals is to ensure that their bot store doesn’t fall victim to the same issues of the app stores. In terms of discovery, it needs to be more like a 2016 Google search than a 1996 Yahoo browse.