Groupon has announced its latest acquisition of AI-powered text and voice communications tool, Presence AI, although the terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The tool enables and facilitates messaging between customers and merchants. 

The buyout comes from the response to market activity from consumers – especially millennials – who vastly prefer messaging and chat-based communications over phone calls. Presence AI enables merchants to answer to the growing trend by offering a 24/7 business assistant that integrates with a merchant’s existing scheduling software to accept and manage bookings, provide instant answers to customer questions, remind people when it’s time to re-book and much more, as referenced in a statement.

“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,” she continued.

Founded in 2015, Presence AI, based in San Francisco operates in the health, beauty and wellness sector, which is also one of Groupon’s largest categories. The firm has a number of key integrations with booking software providers as well as increasing its bookable inventory 12% year-on-year 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.”