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business data digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Browns’ new tech store, Gucci’s millennial advisors, Amazon’s fashion gap

The new Browns concept store in east London
The new Browns concept store in east London

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past fortnight.


TOP STORIES
  • Browns opens a nomadic concept (tech) store in London’s Shoreditch [Wallpaper]
  • Gucci has a “shadow committee” of millennial advisors [QZ]
  • Amazon ‘still has a long way to go’ in conquering fashion market, says report [BoF]
  • Alibaba’s 11.11 shopping festival is ready for its biggest global event [BrandChannel]
  • Opinion: What’s wrong with fashion’s sustainability strategy [Glossy]
  • ‘Terry Richardson is just the tip of the iceberg’ [NY Times]

BUSINESS
  • Hilfiger says making clothes in America remains unrealistic [Bloomberg]
  • H&M denies burning good, unsold product [Racked]
  • Greenpeace on why fashion is at a crossroads [FashionUnited]
  • Vogue and Vice are starting a new website together [Jezebel]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • You can now PayPal friends in Messenger and get help via chat [TechCrunch]
  • WeChat is becoming a sales tool for luxury brand sales associates [Jing Daily]
  • Snap’s misfire on Spectacles [The Information]

MARKETING
  • Sephora cast its own store employees for its most diverse campaign yet [Racked]
  • Selena Gomez is party-ready in Coach’s glitzy holiday ad campaign [Fashionista]
  • Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter unveil “Party with the Porters” holiday campaign [TheIndustry]
  • The land of Fenty: The Rihanna masterclass in brand-building [BrandChannel]
  • Why visceral storytelling is the next brand-building territory [LeanLuxe]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Take a look at Apple’s first ‘Town Square,’ its most beautiful retail store yet [TechCrunch]
  • Now Amazon wants to leave a package inside your house [Marketplace]
  • The most successful e-commerce brands build for mainstream America, not Silicon Valley [Recode]
  • Hudson’s Bay to sell Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue store to WeWork [RetailDive]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Target.com rolls out augmented reality experience for smartphones [StarTribune]
  • The Under Armour ArmourBox: Subscription gear handpicked by an AI [BrandChannel]
  • Walmart’s Store No. 8 showcases the future of VR [RetailDive]
  • Nike’s focus on robotics threatens Asia’s low-cost workforce [CNBC]
  • Wal-Mart’s new robots scan shelves to restock items faster [Reuters]

START-UPS
  • How Stitch Fix’s data-driven styling could boost its IPO value [Bloomberg]
  • Harvey Nichols partners with Bink on “Payment Linked Loyalty” [TheIndustry]
Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick mobile social media

Yoox Net-a-Porter is pushing Whatsapp as a sales channel

Yoox Net-a-Porter is exploring Whatsapp as a mobile sales channel (Image via Net-a-Porter #MFW street style)
Yoox Net-a-Porter is exploring Whatsapp as a mobile sales channel (Image via Net-a-Porter #MFW street style)

Luxury e-commerce group Yoox Net-a-Porter is working on an initiative that will allow customers to buy products directly through Facebook-owned messaging service, Whatsapp.

The company already sees its personal shoppers using the app to communicate with its most valuable clients, and its plan is to expand that usage, according to CEO Federico Marchetti.

Some 40% of its higher-margin in-season revenue comes from just 2% of its customers, which it calls its EIPs, or extremely important people, he explained to Bloomberg. The company also knows its mobile shoppers place more than double the orders of desktop users.

“We’ve made some of our biggest sales to EIPs by chatting to them through WhatsApp,” Marchetti said.

Whatsapp currently has a reported 1.2 billion monthly active users, up from over 700 million in January 2015. It’s one of the most popular messaging service worldwide, but being a closed network, has not been an easy one for brands to utilise.

While the likes of Vogue launched a short-lived group chat (or broadcasting service) on the app in 2016, most other instances, including a campaign from Agent Provocateur for the holiday season, have been focused on individual communications.

Vogue started a short-lived Whatsapp group chat in 2016
Vogue started a short-lived Whatsapp group chat in 2016

This sits alongside the likes of WeChat in China by comparison, where payments are already integrated and many users have their bank accounts linked to the service. Luxury brands in this space are still new to the idea of selling directly, with just a fraction of them offering it according to research firm L2, but there’s scope there for uptake.

At this point, YNAP says it is still testing its plans for Whatsapp and has no scheduled release date. Marchetti declined to give details on how payments might work on the platform, but stored client details might be the simplest method without a significant technology development. In other words, manually ringing up e-commerce via existing accounts as an option following the clienteling side of the private personal shopper conversations on the app.

There are also learnings already out there from other businesses. In the US, Nordstrom for instance launched a service called TextStyle that allowed customer to buy directly from sales associates via messaging, simply by replying “buy” and entering a unique code. The purchase is completed using the customer’s Nordstrom.com account information.

Meanwhile, we’ve also started to see the move to e-commerce within platforms like Facebook Messenger off the back of the growth of chatbot services. The likes of Everlane, Sephora, Burberry and others have been using it as both a content-sharing and customer service tool. Payments are also possible, hinting at what could be rolled out to Whatsapp down the line.

That said, Everlane recently announced it is pulling back from using the platform as a notification option, returning instead to email. When the partnership first started in 2015, CEO Michael Preysman said: “Over time we think this will become a way to not only build stronger relationships with customers, but to ultimately drive demand and new purchases.” It looks like that may not have happened, Recode reports.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media technology

What you missed: personalised retail, AR in Covent Garden, what went wrong for Nasty Gal

augmented reality
Augmented reality in Covent Garden

As we move ever closer to the end of the year, there are lots of forward-looking stories coming out, speculating around what the future of the industry might look like. Perhaps unsurprisingly, personalisation and machine learning are popping up time and again. A must-read this week is the perspective from Benedict Evans on what sensors in cameras everywhere means for data, retail, fashion trends and more.

Also worth taking a look at is the augmented reality that’s taken over Covent Garden, how adidas is taking inspiration from Uber in its latest m-commerce app, and insights on the rise and fall of both Nasty Gal and Karmaloop.

Don’t forget our Snapchat Masterclass takes place in London tomorrow (November 22) – just three tickets left for anyone looking to take advantage of our last minute 20% off offer using code “community”.


TOP STORIES
  • Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of Dressipi: The next revolution in retail is data-based, personalised services, and the UK is at the vanguard [City AM]
  • ForerunnerVC on tailoring investments to the new reality of retail [Medium]
  • Covent Garden becomes world’s first augmented reality shopping destination [The Industry]
  • How Adidas’ m-commerce app takes inspiration from Uber to go beyond influencers [The Drum]
  • Benedict Evans on cameras, e-commerce and machine learning [Benedict Evans]

BUSINESS
  • Nasty Gal: What went wrong? [BoF]
  • What the hell happened to Karmaloop? The rise and record-breaking fall of the pioneering e-commerce clothing site [Complex]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • What WeChat teaches about the future of social commerce [AdAge]
  • How 5 brands are testing Instagram’s new shopping feature [Glossy]
  • 6 examples of how marketers are using Snap Inc’s Spectacles [AdWeek]
  • Snapchat parent files for $25 billion IPO [WSJ]

RETAIL
  • WAH Nails to open “salon of the future” in Soho [The Industry]
  • How predictive AI will change shopping [HBR]
  • The Marks & Spencer brand needs an experiential makeover to win back consumers [The Drum]
  • How luxury retailers are navigating Black Friday [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Apple considers wearables expansion with digital glasses [Bloomberg]
  • Reebok brings jobs to America, along with 3D printing innovation [BrandChannel]
  • Virtual reality takes fans inside the world of watches [NY Times]
  • 11 exciting new materials designers should watch [Co.Design]

UPCOMING EVENTS
Categories
e-commerce mobile

Smartphones: Still third choice for fashion shopping

smartphones fashion
Topshop Unique

We’re buying more and more fashion on our smartphones these days but it seems laptop and desktop computers, as well as the tablets that we use to browse while lounging on our sofas, are still our favourite devices for actually spending.

A new report from e-tail personalisation platform Nosto, based on data from 700 vendors, shows that m-commerce accounts for 51% of all online spend across categories, but for fashion, we’re still more likely to buy via a traditional computer or tablet.

And we spend more per order on other devices. UK shoppers’ average fashion order value (AOV) via smartphone was £89 in the first half of the year compared to £116 on desktop/laptop and £107 on tablets.

While some commentators seem surprised/frustrated at this, I’m not particularly shocked. Personally, I buy on my laptop, my tablet and my phone, depending on the circumstances. But if I’m in the comfort of my living room, buying via a smartphone is the last thing I’d do. And given that most of my fashion purchases are done from the sofa, then I’m a confirmed laptop/tablet shopper.

My phone is more of a device for research – shooting photos, making price comparisons while in-store and so on. That makes it a crucial omnichannel tool and with Nosto saying mobile bounce rate is the highest of any device and time on site is also the lowest, it seems many people feel the same way.

However much investment e-tailers put into their smartphone apps and however tech-tastic smartphones get, it makes sense that consumers will use a large screen over a small one when they’re able to when shopping for items as personal as things we’re going to wear.

And that seems to be the attitude across Europe. Consumers in the Nordics and France spend more via smartphones (£101 and £96 AOV respectively) while in Germany it’s £88 and in Spain £81. But with those figures not too far different from the UK’s, it seems the laptop/tablet bias is fairly universal.

That said, fashion m-commerce via smartphones is growing fast and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But whether it will ever become the primary channel for fashion spending (especially higher value transactions) is still open to question.

Nosto said mobile accounted for 29% of all UK fashion web traffic in the first half, a rise from 22% compared to H1 2015.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday.

Categories
mobile technology

Mobile wallets: French shoppers say “non merci”

mobile wallets
The French are becoming avid m-commerce shoppers but they’re less fond of smartphone payments technology

Samsung Pay celebrated its first birthday last month and hit 100m transactions worldwide (from the seven countries in which it was available). But in a world where m-commerce is surging, there still seems to be a lot of consumer resistance to smartphone-based mobile wallets in some countries. That’s despite many shoppers in those countries tapping their debit and credit cards on contactless payment terminals with increasing regularity.

A new survey illustrates this perfectly, It shows that the French are becoming avid m-commerce shoppers but it seems but they’re not too fond of smartphone payments technology.

The survey, by CCM Benchmark and reported by eMarketer.com shows that French shoppers are buying fashion via their smartphones in increasing numbers (34% out of a survey group of 1,000 adult consumers), booking travel (40%), buying cultural items (that’s books and music to you and I, with 33% of respondents buying them), and consumer electronics/household appliances (23%).

They’re also researching on their phones with 65% of them using those phones in-store to check out products and deals and take photos.

But mobile payments? Not so much. The French are saying a big “non!” to smartphone/smartwatch payments at the moment. Most m-commerce transactions in France are still pretty ‘analogue’ with consumers preferring to tap their card details into the checkout form on a website or app.

In fact, only 7% of digital buyers had taken advantage of the ever-increasing number of mobile wallet solutions out there, which is a low number given that m-commerce shoppers might have been expected to be more mobile wallet-friendly than the average online shopper.

Around 27% of respondents did say they were ‘ready’ to use a mobile wallet but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll take action any time soon. And as many as 56% said they weren’t willing to pay that way.

Why is this? Unfortunately, the survey didn’t say. Maybe it’s security concerns, or maybe setting it up in the first place just seems too fiddly.

What often influences take-up of such innovations is a compelling piece of technology that makes it a no-brainer, or another change that drives fast adoption. In the UK, the ability to pay using contactless on London’s cash-free bus system was key for driving people to accept contactless payments in general.

In France, perhaps smartphone and operating system makers hoped their state-of-the-art devices had done enough to become that sort of catalyst. But not so.

At least the problem isn’t global. Those Samsung Pay figures and a survey this summer of 2,000 consumers in the US and UK by mobile engagement specialist Urban Airship, have showed a more favourable outcome for mobile wallets.

Urban Airship said 54% of US/UK consumers had used systems like Apple Pay and also see them as key for staying updated on sales, offers and coupons as well as boosting their interest in loyalty programs. Importantly too, 67% of millennials have used them and they’re also more popular among high-income households.

Perhaps the message from France to Apple, Google, Samsung, and the numerous banks now offering mobile wallet tech isn’t so much “non merci” as “s’il vous plaît être patient!” Maybe they’re just not ready for this giant tech leap forward… yet.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday. 

Categories
business e-commerce Editor's pick mobile

Burberry results: Digital and mobile make it a luxury firm in a million

Burberry
Burberry

Burberry’s in the news at the moment. No, wait, Burberry’s always in the news. Just more so at the moment. Only a couple of days after announcing Christopher Bailey would step down as CEO, the company issued a trading update this morning that the news media is jumping all over.

Newspaper and websites largely jumped on the negatives in the announcement and perhaps that’s not a shock given that Burberry has some major challenges ahead (not least among them a new management structure that replaces Christopher Bailey with an external CEO while appearing to give him as much power as ever).

But what’s more interesting than the basic sales figures is its news around digital. Digital grew strongly in all regions during Q1 (no surprise there) and Burberry’s digital growth is being driven by mobile that now approaches 60% of traffic to its site.

Let’s just step back a minute and look at that figure. This is a luxury brand, part of a sector that took virtually a decade to even recognise the existence of the internet. It’s also part of a sector that loves beautifully crafted websites that are seen at their best on large retina screens.

Yet that 60% means Burberry is enjoying the kind of website traffic via mobile that we’d expect to see in the mass-market from brands such as New Look or River Island.

It’s a testament to the investment Burberry has put into digital and a signal to its luxury peers that the ‘M’ in m-commerce can stand for lots of things as well as mobile (Mass, Margins, Momentum, and downright Marvellous, for instance).

Importantly, Burberry has also focused clearly on omnichannel where the stores work with the e-store and the warehouses for a seamless customer experience. The company said this morning that its single pool of inventory model has been further expanded, with about 90 stores now live globally, improving stock availability for all online markets and helping to drive digital/mobile growth further.

Now for the numbers

So, digital aside, what else did we learn this morning? Well, the market is still challenging. Currency-neutral retail revenue was flat in Q1 at £423m, although exchange rates boosted it by 4% in total. But comp sales fell 3%.

There was good news from Asia Pacific as revenues rose and the UK delivered mid single-digit percentage growth, with a rise late in the quarter. But the troubled Hong Kong and Macau markets remain a problem, tourists flows in Japan were down, demand in the US is uneven and mainland Europe is “depressed”, especially France and Italy.

More good news please. OK, fashion apparel and accessories outperformed and the main campaign that launched at the end of May – which was more product focused, featuring the Patchwork bag with new buckle hardware – seemed to be having an effect.

Relative strength in bags was driven by the runway rucksack (as pictured above), while lightweight outerwear performed well, in particular cashmere trench coats and newly-launched menswear styles.

The company also saw an increased number of personal appointments as it boosted its ultra-luxury services and there were more in-store craftsmanship events to enhance customer engagement.

Burberry said the external environment remains challenging and underlying cost inflation pressures persist. Since May, its outlook for wholesale revenue, particularly in the US, is more cautious for both the first and second halves of the year, in fashion and beauty.

The company now expects currency-neutral wholesale revenue to fall more than 10% in the first half to September 30, while retail revenue should be up in the low single-digits.

Thought for the day

But as we digest these figures, we have to remember that Burberry isn’t alone in this. The entire luxury sector is seeing challenges at present and all of those negative listed above can apply just as much to most of the world’s most desirable brands as to Burberry.

What Burberry is almost alone in though is its almost-obsessive focus on digital. And that’s something that can only help it in the tough times ahead.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Alexander Wang’s future, Louis Vuitton wins Instagram battle, new Kenzo film

Alexander Wang - fashion and technology

A round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion and technology news (and beyond) over the past fortnight or so. Read on for Alexander Wang’s views on Amazon, insight on how Kit and Ace overhauled its e-commerce, and detail on Tencent and L’Oréal’s zany branded content experiment in China…


  • Alexander Wang talks about the future of fashion – including Amazon (as pictured) [Racked]

  • On Instagram, Louis Vuitton’s resort show comes out on top [Fashionista]

  • Kenzo just released a Japanese all-girl biker gang film [Dazed]

  • How Kit and Ace overhauled its e-commerce [Glossy]

  • Selfridges unveils iOS app with ‘shoppable’ Instagram feed [Econsultancy]

  • Condé Nast partners with Gucci on branded content [The Industry]

  • Inside Tencent and L’Oréal’s zany branded content experiment in China [AdAge]

  • Sephora uncaps new mobile revenue stream via shoppable Snapchats [Mobile Commerce Daily]

  • Adidas on Snapchat leaks its latest collection [PSFK]

  • Nike reveals Euro 2016 ad starring a body-swapping Cristiano Ronaldo [The Drum]

  • Visa introduces NFC-enabled payment ring for Rio 2016 Olympic Games [Brandchannel]

  • How online models are chosen to influence the way you shop [Telegraph]

  • Pinterest’s real-world Pins let in-store shoppers save real items to virtual boards [AdWeek]

  • Snapchat passes Twitter in daily usage [Bloomberg]

  • Smartzer seeks to carve niche in shoppable video realm [Glossy]

  • Welcome to a cashless future where retailers recognise our faces [The Guardian]

  • Refinery29, focused on global expansion, hits Germany [AdAge]

  • Fashion’s fraught relationship with 3D printing and sustainability [Glossy]

  • Line’s beauty and fashion portal rolls out its Persian carpet [TechCrunch]

  • Why is futuristic fashion still retro? [Slate]
Categories
Editor's pick mobile

Snackable shopping is changing the mobile commerce scene as users buy little and often

Grabble

It’s said that we check our phones on average up to 85 times per day. We do so in bed, on our commutes, in the office, in front of the TV, even while we’re on the toilet. We’re doing so to browse content and connect with friends of course, but increasingly we’re also doing so to shop.

Mobile commerce jumped 56% to $49.2bn in the US in 2015, which is double the previous year’s growth, according to comScore. While desktop sales were still substantially higher at $256.1bn, growth slowed to 8.1% from 12.5%.

“Mobile devices are driving demand,” Andrew Lipsman, a comScore vice president, told The Wall Street Journal. “They can create an impulsive buying moment at any point in the day because they are with you all the time, right in your pocket.”

It’s on that basis that retailers are seeing consumers increasingly making a number of quick and cheap purchases throughout the day, rather than gathering things in their baskets and buying all at once. Referred to as “snacking”, this new mode of commerce places the smartphone as an “all-day impulse aisle”.

Speaking at the FashTech Summit in London last week, Daniel Murray, co-founder of shopping app Grabble, noted a similar trend. Grabble originally had a traditional cart, or basket, in place that would gather items users wanted to buy, but no one was then actually making their purchases. “We ripped [the basket] up and did it item by item instead,” he explained. “If you ask a user, they say they want to add everything to a basket, but then they do that and abandon it. They’d see a £300 bill and decide they don’t want to buy it after all. Now we have users who compulsively repeatedly buy item after item.”

It’s a straightforward concept; a matter of psychology convincing people to purchase little and often rather than shelling out huge sums. But Murray says it’s also about simplicity in the process. “If there’s any friction, then there’s going to be a problem with conversion. You have to make the experience as simple as possible, otherwise you miss out.”

Grabble has made the steps in between wanting to buy and completing checkout as short as possible in order to enable it.

This “snacking” particularly takes place in apps, rather than the mobile web. For retailers however, app visits are an ongoing battle – stats from Forrester demonstrate US and UK consumers now spend more than 88% of their app time on just five downloaded apps. Within that, aggregation apps and platforms like Facebook and WeChat that provide content and services in one contextual stream, are the most-used. “As an app, you have an existential crisis every day of why you exist on [consumers’] phones,” Murray noted.

Yet eMarketer shows US consumers spent 3 hours and 5 minutes a day using apps last year, compared to 51 minutes surfing the mobile web. In 2016 that’s expected to increase a further 10 minutes for apps, and stay at 51 minutes for mobile browsers. To be one of those top five then, is about creating consistently relevant needs for consumers.

The ability for push notifications helps, especially if targeting a younger consumer. According to messaging app Kik, which particularly appeals to US teens, users are three times more likely to open a notification than they are an email.

Retailers have to become increasingly savvy about how they position such updates however, sharing content that appeals to and not bugs the user on what’s considered their most personal device, said Murray. A savvy combination of geo-activated messages, right time rewards, and more personalised offers and content, are routes to success thanks to the data collection such apps now enable.

But it’s that simple one-click purchase to satisfy an always-on culture of snackable shopping, that’s making the real difference.

Categories
data mobile

Digital artwork visualises data trends from Grabble’s mobile commerce

AAA_2681

Data has its place front and centre at this week’s Millennial 20/20 Summit in London with a live projection tracking real-time info pulled from shopping app Grabble.

Created as a piece of art in collaboration with digital studio Holition, the visualisation tracks the £50m worth of items saved into people’s digital wishlists in the app over the last seven days.

Much like a similar project between Holition and Lyst in 2014, trends are identified ranging from key shopping times through to differences between male and female consumers.

Peak “grabbing” time on Grabble for instance is late Sunday afternoon, when a quarter (26%) of the week’s saves into the wishlists are made. Pre-work grabbing is most popular with women, who particularly like to do so at 8am, while men by comparison tend to do their grabs (65% of them) at 9pm at night.

grabble - holition data

All of this is brought to life in the digital artwork by pink (female) and blue (male) dots – further demonstrating such ideas like men being more willing to buy from retailers they already know, by the fact they’re clustered around well-known names. Women in contrast are more randomly spread across brands, including smaller ones, illustrating they are more experimental in their shopping and open to using the app as a means of discovery.

As Dan Murray, co-founder at Grabble, says: “We see at least 1m interactions per day through the app but with Holition’s help, we’ve been able to transform dots and dashes into a stylish and engaging piece of art. It’s not only aesthetically appealing but will be useful for the many retailers we work with in helping them visualise the buying patterns of our audiences at different times of the day/week.”

Check out the video, below:

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick mobile social media

Facebook is pushing the idea of “conversational commerce” hard

everlane

 

In what will come as little of a surprise, Facebook is backing the idea of consumers being able to shop directly through messaging apps.

Speaking at Retail Week Live, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said shoppers will be able to increasingly contact retailers and brands directly through Facebook Messenger, and use that conversation to order products instead of leaving to go to a website.

She referred to this as the next big digital retail trend, according to Drapers, and highlighted that 800 million people worldwide now use Facebook messenger and one billion use [Facebook-owned] WhatsApp.

“Six out of the top 10 apps in the world are messenger apps and it will not be long until brands are integrated into that space,” she added.

Indeed, stats released last year by Business Insider show that four of the biggest messaging apps have now met (and no doubt since overtaken) the number of people using the four biggest social media platforms.

 

Messagingvsocial

 

It’s on that basis Facebook Messenger is believed to be heavily following in the footsteps of its Chinese counterpart WeChat and aiming to become more than just a place for conversation, but for everything from banking, to travel, customer service, and yes, shopping.

It released its business offering on the platform in the US in 2015, with the likes of Everlane as launch partner.

Everlane shoppers can now receive updates about their order via FB Messenger rather than just email. For those wanting to, they can just leave it at that. For those more inclined, they can use the app to then spark up a conversation with the customer service rep on the other end of it. Given payment details are then stored, they can order anything they like through that discussion, but better yet, also receive personalised recommendations and the such like given their history is stored in that one app.

“It is instant communication and a different type of commerce. It allows shoppers to shop whenever they like,” said Mendelsohn.

At this point for Everlane, it’s reportedly still a human at the other end beyond those initial shipping updates, by the way. But the bigger part of this conversational commerce trend – a term first coined by Chris Messina, developer experience lead at Uber, in a must-read blogpost earlier this year – will be the role bots play to automate much more of that back and forth.

This is something WeChat is already heavily invested in, and others including Kik, Slack and Telegram all too. It’s also a step Facebook is rumoured to be announcing at its next developer conference in April.

As Messina wrote: “Computer-driven bots will become more human-feeling, to the point where the user can’t detect the difference, and will interact with either human agent or computer bot in roughly the same interaction paradigm.”