Kik app introduces Bot Shop

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Popular chat networking app Kik opened its platform to third-party developers with the launch of the Bot Shop. The company calls these Bots, “a low-friction way of delivering fun, engaging, and useful services through chat.”

Starting today anyone can build a bot for Kik, which has more than 275 million registered users, the company claims that approximately 40% of U.S teens use the app.

Kik’s Bot Shop is launching with three categories – entertainment, lifestyle, and games – and 16 bots, including Funny Or Die, H&M, J-14, Riffsy, Sephora, Vine, and The Weather Channel. Kik has also named three launch partners – imperson, Massively, and Sequel – that will be tasked with helping developers and companies build bots. Kik is inviting all developers to start making bots via its bot API, available at dev.kik.com.

“We want our users to have more fun and engaging experiences in Kik without having to leave the app,” said Ted Livingston, founder and CEO of Kik. “We’ve been innovating in chat in the last few years and have found that the best results come from low-friction experiences that don’t hurt the simplicity of chat. Bots deliver that.”

In 2015, 1.4 billion people used a chat app, according to eMarketer. At the same time, people have stopped downloading new apps in large numbers. More than 70% of U.S. total smartphone app usage comes from just 200 apps, according to a June 2015 report by Nielsen. And a late 2014 study by Comscore found that that two-thirds of smartphone users downloaded zero apps in the last month.

“When we built the Funny Or Die bot on Kik in 2014, we were able to focus on building a great experience for our fans without worrying about user acquisition, and within the first three months, we were chatting with 1.5 million Kik users,” said Patrick Starzan, head of marketing at Funny Or Die. “We’re looking forward to continuing to push the boundaries of chat as it becomes central to mobile computing.”

“With messaging apps like Kik, brands have an enormous opportunity to connect with their audiences that’s much more personal and engaging,” said Erez Baum, CEO of imperson. “We are delighted to be one of Kik’s early launch partners and we look forward to bringing unique chat personas for consumers to engage with brands over messaging.”

To coincide with the Bot Shop launch, Kik will release three new chat bots features: web bubbles (“wubbles”) for sharing rich media content in conversation threads; suggested responses to help expedite text input; and a mention feature that allows bots to participate in conversation threads involving multiple parties, including groups.

To chat with your first bot, go to: bots.kik.com.

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