Apple Business Chat aims to steal chatbots' retail thunder

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Apple's iOS 11 update will support Business Chat, a chat capability on Apple iMessage for companies such as retailers to use to communicate more directly with their customers, Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Friday. During the live-streamed announcement, the company demonstrated how consumers could use Business Chat either from Apple's Safari browser, Siri virtual assistant or other Apple applications to talk via text message directly with a business that supports the feature. The Vibes Mobile Consumer Report, for example, found that relatively few customers actually have engaged with chatbots, and companies like mode.ai have told Retail Dive that early-generation chatbots have lacked the artificial intelligence and rich feature set that would make them truly useful to customers, something Facebook's Chat Extensions was in part designed to address. Nuance is one of the Apple partners that will help bring Business Chat to retailers.The capability can be used through Nuance's Nina AI-based virtual assistant and the Nuance Digital Customer Engagement Platform.