Groupon announced that it has acquired Presence AI – an AI-powered text and voice communications tool that enables and facilitates messaging between customers and merchants. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Consumers – especially millennials – vastly prefer messaging and chat-based communications over phone calls. Presence AI enables merchants to answer to that trend by offering a 24/7 business assistant that integrates with a merchant’s existing scheduling software – or replace pen and paper – to accept and manage bookings, provide instant answers to customer questions, remind people when it’s time to re-book and much more.
“We’re pleased to welcome the Presence AI team and their booking technology to Groupon. Booking is a key part of our voucherless initiative aimed at improving the redemption experience, providing always-on availability, giving consumers more reasons to buy through Groupon and opening up our marketplace to a broader range of merchants,” said Groupon Chief Product Officer Sarah Butterfass. “Presence AI’s technology is very complementary to what we’ve been building into our existing booking experience and will accelerate our roadmap with its text- and chat-based interface.”
Groupon increased bookable inventory 12 per cent year over year and booked tens of millions of diners, concert-goers, spa visitors and more in 2018. As the company transitions towards universal bookability for certain services, Presence AI’s technology will provide merchants with the capabilities to support this booking vision.
“We’re very excited to join Groupon and continue transforming client conversations through the use of artificial intelligence,” said Presence AI co-founder and CEO Michel Meyer. “With more than 3 million text messages generated last year, Presence AI is saving merchants time and generating additional revenues. We can’t wait to bring our technology to more businesses.”
Presence AI was founded in 2015 in San Francisco and operates in the health, beauty and wellness space, which is one of Groupon’s largest categories. The company already has a number of key integrations with popular booking software providers.
Presence AI was backed by the Amazon Alexa Fund and participated in the 2018 Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, which supports early-stage startups using voice to deliver transformative customer and business experiences.