A big Yes.
Location, Location, Location
The key in understanding these bots is to see that they are about to change the location of e-commerce. As of right now, e-commerce is on marketplaces (Amazon & Ebay) and individual brand's websites. Much has been made about the shift in traffic from the web to apps and social. A large part of this traffic is inside of messaging apps like Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.
The bots are the bridge between this traffic and retailers. These kind of bots are in heavy use in China and India. You can hail an Uber via messaging in China. The messaging is able to provide additional data like payments and location that are harder for text messages to include.
Impact on Retail
All that said, e-commerce will remain where it is, but this will grow the retail pie. Just as e-commerce has been a net driver of growth for the retail sector, this conversational / messaging commerce will also grow the retail pie.
It will also create new kinds of shopping experiences. Just as digital allowed Amazon to increase selection in ways physical stores never could. Conversational commerce is going to drive new innovations in retailing experiences.
Impact on the Retailer
Messaging will cause retailers to go back to the drawing board on how to market and mechanize their products. It will also reintroduce some important concepts that were lost in the translation back to digital, which is the conversation.
Generation Z and to a less extent Millennial have grown up with mobile as their first and often only device to access the digital world. The idea of messaging fits nicely into the ways they interact with other aspects of their digital lives and is a logical next step for commerce.
My startup, Commerce.io, has already developed a platform to allow retailers to build these bots. Let me know if you are interested trying them out.