You can already order a pizza via a phone call, a text, a web page, a dedicated app, a tweet, a voice command or a watch. And now you can order via a chat conversation. Domino’s has introduced a new pizza ordering bot for the U.S. market to the list of bots available in Facebook Messenger.
If you haven’t used bots before, they appear in a separate section underneath your contacts when you tap on the search bar in the Messenger app. You can then tap on the name of the bot to start a conversation, just as you would with a person. Starting a conversation with the new Domino’s bot immediately gives you the options of tracking an order, repeating a most recent order, or creating a new order. You will need to be logged into your Domino’s account, but the bot will prompt you to log in if you aren't already. Of course you can also use the pizza emoji, in this case to initiate an order.
The service has already been live in the UK and Ireland for about a month, and Domino's bots for some other countries seem to be available too. The aim is to allow ordering via a conversational interface but without human interaction. It also means that it’s one more channel where ordering pizza is an option and easily accessible. The Domino's bot also isn't particularly conversational at the moment, and simply seems to expect you to use the menu options it lists. Perhaps that will change as the bot is developed further to allow more truly conversational input.
Since Facebook announced in April the ability for developers to create their own bots for Facebook Messenger, the number has been quietly growing. Quietly, because they are not necessarily easy to find and Facebook doesn't publish a definitive list, although the Botlist website aims to do so. The functionality of each bot varies significantly, but as A.I. techniques improve and become more widespread we could see them becoming a genuinely useful function rather than a novelty. Facebook and the many companies and developers that are already creating bots certainly think so.