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Nordstrom Messenger bot
Screen shots of the Nordstrom chatbot at work. (Nordstrom Photo)

Nordstrom is expanding on its efforts to engage with mobile shoppers, using the holiday gift-giving season as an opportunity to launch its first-ever chatbot.

If you can’t decide what kind of socks to get for dad or whether luggage is the right gift for mom, the bot is a click away on Facebook messenger as well as Kik. Nordstrom teamed with New York-based Snaps to develop the service, which will be available until Dec. 24.

“Our customers expect Nordstrom to offer amazing products, personalized services and differentiated experiences,” Nordstrom spokesperson Jessica Canfield said. “In that spirit, we’ve partnered with Snaps to launch the first Nordstrom Chatbot, a truly unique gifting experience that brings all of those things together by delivering a recommendation for anyone on your list this holiday season.”

Users who engage with the bot will be asked several questions about who they are shopping for and the bot will respond with tailored gift ideas based on their answers.

I launched it in Messenger and the first question, after clicking “get started,” was, “Where would you find this person on the weekends?” Suggested answers included: going to Comicon, hosting a party, making a playlist, or heading out of town.

I chose “heading out of town” and the bot asked, “When this person considers eating out at a restaurant, what’s their main interest?” Available answers included: a notable chef, ambiance, futuristic food, or world cuisine.

After clicking on “ambiance,” Nordstrom’s bot then asked me, “Which emoji relates to this person?” I chose a champagne bottle and answered one more question about possible vacation spots before the bot showed me some gift ideas. Based on my answers to those questions, the bot offered up an Instant Lomography camera, fake tattoos by Tattly, a DIY merino wool beanie kit and some other stuff — all with the ability to shop those gifts at, of course.

There is also the option to type in your own message and Nordstrom promises a customer care specialist will respond shortly to help. I typed in, “I need gift ideas for mom.”

About 10 minutes later, I got a message back from a human named Kelly, who said, “Thanks for asking, we’d be happy to help.” And she provided a link to “gifts for mom” on the Nordstrom site, featuring 970 different items.

Snaps CEO Christian Brucculeri told GeekWire that between Facebook Messenger and Kik, the gift bot gives Nordstrom access to over 1 billion users globally.

“Nordstrom understands the need to start building data, case studies and results in messaging apps,” Brucculeri said. “At Snaps, we view Nordstrom’s holiday chatbot experience as their first foray into the space. It is just one part of the brand’s continued dedication to delivering content experience, intelligent messaging, commerce opportunities, and customer care on messaging apps — exactly where customers want to interact.”

Snaps has worked with some of the biggest brands around when it comes to mobile messaging, including Burger King, Dove, Pepsi, Victoria’s Secret, MTV, L’Oréal, Sony Music and more.

In October, Nordstrom unveiled a new app feature called “Reserve & Try In Store,” aimed at allowing shoppers to pick out items online and then have them set aside at a nearby Nordstrom store so they could try them on.

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