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Why Print Bots are Replacing Apps: Simplicity

Updated: Feb 10, 2018

I took this photo with my phone while enjoying breakfast at the Esalen Institute, nestled atop a stunning cliff in Big Sur overlooking the Pacific. It’s a moment that I knew that I’d want to relive over and over when I return home. What better way to do it than to print it on canvas and hang it on a wall?

So, what options do I have for turning this photo into a canvas? Many consumers today would probably go to the App Store and search for an app for ordering photo products.

Let’s see what this experience looks like today:

1. Go to the App Store

2. Find the app

3. Install the app (if you have enough space on your phone)

4. Launch the app

5. Learn the app’s interface

6. Give app access to your photos

7. Browse through products and select the product you want

8. Browse through Camera Roll to locate your photo

9. Preview photo on product

10. Add your product to cart

11. Checkout

That’s 11 steps and almost 8 minutes! That’s a lot to ask from today’s spoiled mobile consumers used to instant gratification and one-tap checkout from Amazon. Plus, the next time that the customer wants to order a product they have to remember the app they used, find it or install another, and spend more of their valuable time doing things that they should not have to do.

Now let’s look at the text bot ordering experience:

1. Text your photo to (310) 997-4148

2. Follow the link in the text response

3. Browse and select pre-rendered products

4. Checkout

That’s just 4 steps to get to the checkout process and I got there in less than 1 minute!

The Immediate Value of a Bot

One of the main advantages with bots is that they offer instant access to value while eliminating friction. There is no sign in or sign up process. It’s the quickest path from a moment of personal inspiration to purchasing and enjoying a photo product.


Some apps are unlikely to be replaced by bots, especially those apps that require access to phone’s hardware resources, such as video editing apps, but for simple tasks such as ordering photo products, chatbots offer the simplest user experience and with the least amount of friction. First time users can get immediate value and get the job done much quicker.



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