Messenger Platform could be more powerful than you think

Conversational commerce is going to be big in 2016.

Facebook is looking forward to explore a new kind of human interaction with chatbots using Messenger. By adding a digital virtual assistant with human assistance that can help you with your daily life demands, this will take your texting experience to the next level.

“Helping people communicate more naturally with businesses is going to improve almost every person’s life” Zuckerberg at F8.

Human-trained Chatbots and Businesses

David Marcus — VP of Messaging Products — released an article a week ago about how the Messenger team’s mission is to make Messenger the best place to communicate with all the people and businesses around the world. At the end of 2015 there were some significant improvements for Messenger’s features and how they reached 800 Million people using it per month. But what made me curious the most was their 2016 themes:

  • The disappearance of the mobile phone number — Less phone calls, More Messenger
  • Threads are the new apps — Bringing businesses and customer support to your chat
  • We’re all social beings — One-to-one convos and group chat in messenger
  • Innovation matters — M - Messenger’s Digital virtual assistant powered by Human-trained AI
  • It’s all about delight — Making our lives easier
“I believe that messaging is the next big platform” Marcus told Wired.

It opens a lot of questions (for me): How Messenger Platform is going to work?, Are threads going to be the new apps? and What kind of texting experience are we going to use next?

Messenger — The new app store

Messenger is trying to be the core of e-commerce and customer service, Uber’s partnership with Messenger was a direct message for users about how Facebook is looking forward to be a platform. Assist is a chatbot built on Messenger Chat SDK. By the chat SDK you will have access to Facebook built-in payment system so users can purchase items through bots. Starting with shopping, restaurant reservation, booking hotels, events tickets to sending flowers. So the questions is, what kind of integrations can Messenger support to be an even more flexible platform for businesses?

Why do I have to open this list to search for the app I need?

Messenger is replacing apps

The “@” Trend

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is not good enough to detect what you want, The @ or / method is kind of strict as the command line, but you can see how Slack is using it and it worked with people who don’t even have a technical background. Peach did a great job as well by creating what’s called Magic Words by removing the “@” or “/” from the action-triggering text to make it closer to how we type.

@fbchess, @dailycute & @holidaychallenge are Facebook’s new bots (commands) to Messenger, you can initiate it by sending these commands to a friend to play chess or to send a cute GIF.

What if Airbnb is integrated with Messenger, Let’s imagine if you’re planning a vacation with your friend and you’re choosing the place you’re going to book. Here is how I propose this integration:

In-line triggering actions

Your conversation is a 3-way chat now, Both of you can talk to the bot and search for what you want, Together. No more share link, screenshots or jumping between two app.

Airbnb bot will send you recommendations based on what you need and you can book it without going through long checkout process, just use Facebook Payment. You can split the amount with your friend on the spot.

Everyone is moving to cards, Adding the X-axis also gives us more space as flexible component to integrate with messaging interfaces easily.

Additionally, you don’t have to download another app! You just type the name of the app and you’re good to go!

Messenger Platform is good, but it can be much better if Facebook extended what it offers.

Every business has its own character. Users are aware of that. Messenger can offer a lot more features that can help businesses build their own unique product experience. So what does Messenger have to provide to build a sustainable platform?

  • Notifications for platform apps: Businesses should have the ability to notify their users and create a personalized and relevant experience.
  • Dynamic Cards: Google, Twitter and many other businesses are using cards in their design patterns. Cards are becoming the best design pattern for mobile devices. If these cards are dynamic and usable, businesses can build their own features on Messenger.
  • Maps: Messenger did it well with Uber, but could maps be more customized?
  • and many more features…

Conversations are never ending. Chatbots and conversational-based products are attracting entrepreneurs and VCs and bots are getting smarter everyday. Messenger has a good chance to be one of the biggest platforms for these bots. 2016 is the time for all tech startups and giants to start shaping the next internet commerce.

To see more integration concepts with Messenger check my dribbble account