How BuzzFeed, Time Inc. Are Using Facebook Messenger Bots to Create Gift Guides

People shop differently for gifts than they do for products one buys for oneself. Using bots for gift shopping could turn out to be fruitful.

Buzzfeed, trying to bring to e-commerce what the company has learned in producing media for a platform world, has recently launched its first e-commerce bot. This bot is built around gifts, which makes a lot of sense for bots.

Buzzfeed Facebook Messenger Bot

digiday:

BuzzFeed recently launched its Ultimate Gift Finder on Facebook Messenger, an extension of its expanded e-commerce arm. The gift finder asks you a few questions like — Who are you shopping for? How much do you want to spend? — and then spits out one of 100 suggestions, like $8.99 unicorn slippers from Target, or a $49 pizza-print throw blanket from Society6. You can buy the item, get more suggestions like it or start over. The publisher collects a small portion of each sale.

If a messenger bot could use public information of Facebook friends for better gift targeting, this has the potential to become huge.

​Jesse Shapins, director of product for BuzzFeed, told digiday on Buzzfeed’s approach:

“The idea was to use emojis, GIFs and a playful quiz-like conversation to help people find fun gifts.”

Time Inc. is also experimenting with a first e-commerce bot:​

Elsewhere, Time Inc.’s Real Simple just launched on Facebook Messenger with a focus on doling out last-minute holiday planning and gift buying tips. The bot was built with GameOn and it sends out daily holiday tips on topics like decorating and gift-giving. After the holidays, it will move on to tips and tricks for home and life and be applied to other holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

A very sensible approach for bringing the bot to its first customers. (In contrast to a general purpose gift guide)

Both bots have obvious 1.0 execution problems, as chronicled in the digiday article. It is the general direction that is worth of taking note here.

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