The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Newegg and 1-800-Flowers are among the first retailers using a beta version of Apple Business Chat, a mobile chat tool that allows consumers to speak directly to, as well as make purchases from retailers via iPhone and iPad chat capabilities.
Apple Business Chat is one of several features in the recent iOS 11.3 software update. The update also includes augmented reality technology enhancements that can allow AR apps to recognize both vertical and horizontal surfaces as they map room environments, according to Apple.
Apple Business chat lets customers ask for information, schedule appointments, and even make purchases right in Messages on the iPhone or iPad. Apple says this makes connecting with your favorite companies as easy as texting your favorite people.
Here’s how it works: Say you’re looking up a company in Maps, Safari, or Search. If the location you’re looking for supports Business Chat, there will be a Message button alongside the usual options listed. Press the button and your session with the retailer begins.
Simple requests are automated, but a real person will respond if needed. These conversations can be continued on Apple Watch or Mac.
If you’d like to make a purchase, you can complete it using Business Chat. With Apple Pay, it’s even easier because you can pay with just a touch or a glance without leaving the Messages conversation.
Other companies using Business Chat listed on Apple’s website are Discover, Hilton, Marriott, TD Ameritrade and Wells Fargo
Apple is slowly rolling out Business Chat, and the businesses listed are among ten companies who are beta testing the product. The tool should be fairly easy to implement for business, as it integrates with other popular chat tools like LivePerson and Nuance.