App Development

Chatbots Vs. Mobile Apps – Who is winning the race?

Siri. Cortana. Bixby. Facebook Bot. And endless others.

Chatbots, turbo-charged with Artificial Intelligence (AI) have become commonplace in every facet of our lives.

A Chatbot is the most common avatar in which AI comes into our daily lives.

With chatbots gaining entry and establishing their presence, mobile apps are slowly taking a backstep. Or rather, they are evolving to become as intelligent as chatbots.

With time, chatbots will become our primary source of connection with anything on the Internet.

Gartner predicts that “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.

The benefits that chatbots will bring to businesses is also phenomenal. They will drive business growth in a customer-driven world at fractional costs. In fact, since 2016 when the era of chatbots began, they have started becoming the new websites, messengers, web browsers and even mobile apps. Chatbots are gradually replacing every other digital medium.

What makes chatbots advanced and capable than mobile apps is that they learn the same way we humans learn; through progression. Machine Learning enables them to continuously learn and adapt to queries thrown all day long.

Long story short: chatbots are racing past mobile apps. They are opening up new experiences for users and helping businesses reach their goals sooner with cost economies.

Here are some ways how chatbots are outpacing mobile apps:

Augmented User Engagement

There are three major challenges that mobile apps succumb to, unlike chatbots. Mobile apps need significant storage space, they are often slow and can be optimized for marketing only to a certain extent, like push notifications or in-app messaging.

Chatbots scores above mobile apps in all these areas. AI Chatbots can chat and interact with customers on a real-time basis. They have conversational user interfaces where customers can ask questions and receive inputs from the chatbot.

A perfect example is the Sephora’s chatbot on Kik that gives customers with relevant cosmetic product suggestions.

sephora kik NEW

Image Courtesy: Forbes.com

These chatbots bring the point of sale to the customer screen. Mobile apps work the other way around – they direct customers to products, which is not always effective in selling.

This, in turn, augments the user experience manifold and has led to a whole new kind of conversational eCommerce where customers interact with chatbots before any transaction.

Hyper-personalized Customer Service

AI and Machine Learning enable the chatbot to continuously learn and understand the customer preferences thus making them more responsive like a real-life store assistant would be.

Each time the customer interacts with the chatbot, like asking a question, a product recommendation or mentioning a fitting size, the chatbot learns and stores it in its memory for future use. It works like our human brain which stores new information and retrieves it at the right time, but, with more accuracy.

Mobile apps cannot do this! The most they are capable is to allow the user to set preferences or configure the settings so that the products or services are offered accordingly. Apps are more rigid in nature when it comes to personalization.

Chatbots go a step ahead than mobile apps and offer hyper-personalization. They serve the exact preferences of users without asking for input every time. For a customer-centric business that wants to complete conversions in minimal steps possible, this is a major breakthrough.

Wider Reach of Audience

Over the years, messenger apps have overtaken social media apps and every other app category in app stores. Data from Business Insider shows that messenger apps like WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat,  Facebook Messenger have surpassed social networks in usage.

bii chat apps vs social networks

Image Courtesy: Business Insider.com

Facebook went a step ahead and launched Facebook Bot – an Artificial Intelligence platform that businesses can use to integrate a chatbot into their messenger. The messenger will respond to customer queries that reach the page’s inbox, this giving a live chat support for customers. Even brands like Louis Vuitton have turned to facebook bot to chat up customers online.

Chatbots help reaches wide-range of the audience quickly and cost-effectively. The reach can again be scaled by integrating the chatbot into additional channels like Facebook, Pinterest, Email, Skype, Slack and so on. Gmail has already rolled out chatbot intelligence in its mobile app for auto-insertion of frequent replies.

Image Courtesy: Medium.com

This wider reach combined with flexible integration into any third-party service makes chatbots a favorable option than a mobile app. Mobile apps are restricted by platforms like Android, iOS or Windows. Chatbots can function anywhere, be it a website, a mobile app, or in third-party software. This makes them a clear winner against mobile apps.

Definite Cost Savings

From a business perspective, developing, deploying and maintaining a mobile app is not a cost-effective option. The average app development cost can range anywhere from $10,000 onwards. Depending on the platform of choice, like Android or iOS, the costs are again subject to change. There are also additional costs incurred for maintenance and continuous upgrades.

Chatbots, on the other hand, are self-learners. They learn and upgrade on their own by building information gathered from user input. This leads to significant cost reduction for the business.

Furthermore, there are several bot building tools available online that allows even amateur coders to build and launch their own chatbots. Chatfuel and Motion.ai are two perfect examples. These tools save the cost otherwise required to hire talent to build a chatbot from scratch.

Bringing It All Together

A chatbot over a mobile app is the way forward for businesses. Chatbots offer a platter of benefits that will delight customers and also result in cost savings. They can bring about a human touch to areas where human-like interaction is expected. Sooner or later, on an average day, we would be talking to more bots than with humans.

Will mobile apps perish? Not exactly. But, we can be certain that both chatbots and mobile apps will co-exist together. Just that chatbots will dominate in presence and usage than mobile apps.

Do you want to know how your business can benefit from using a chatbot? Talk to us?