Messaging firm Quiq raised $12.5 million in a series B funding round led by the Foundry Group that will enable it to build out its services with artificial intelligence (AI).
Other investors included Teamworthy Ventures, Venrock, and Next Frontier Capital, VentureBeat reported on Thursday (July 25). Quiq’s 2016 series A round of funding raised $6.5 million.
“This investment validates our vision that digital engagement channels, like messaging and chat, are the future of consumer communications and that asynchronous messaging will be the foundation of the next-generation enterprise contact center,” Quiq Co-Founder and CEO Mike Myer told the news outlet.
In addition to AI and customer service bots, the company plans to roll out the first messaging-based shopping cart, according to a Quiq blog post.
The Quiq platform enables the integration of several messaging tools, like Facebook Messenger and Kik, into a company’s websites and apps.
More businesses are opening up to messaging platforms as a way to connect and communicate with customers. Quiq already works with over 120 clients including major brands like Overstock, Pier 1, Office Depot and Men’s Wearhouse to power digital commerce and service conversations, the report noted.
It’s estimated that retail sales stemming from interactions with chatbots are set to reach $112 billion by 2023. Chatbot interactions are set to skyrocket from a forecasted 2.6 billion in 2019 to 22 billion in the same time frame.
By automating many communications previously handled by customer service representatives, merchants are expected to experience big cost savings. Retailers can foresee cutting costs of $439 billion per year in 2023, up from just $7 million in 2019.
Facebook’s Messenger has been responsible for the boom in chatbot growth. Domino’s Pizza, Bank of America and CNN are among the 100,000-plus businesses working with Facebook and creating interactive company chatbots for customer service, and in some cases, sales.
Retailers stand to benefit the most from chatbots, as forecasts indicate that more than 70 percent of chatbots accessed will be retail-based by 2023.