Facebook announced Wednesday that its Messenger app will be a customer service tool for e-retailers Everlane and Zulily.
The retailers can send receipts and shipping updates through the app, and shoppers can add to their order via the app as well.
This new development lays the groundwork for Messenger to become a key platform for business, writes Casey Newton at The Verge.
Facebook got a pretty poor reception last year when it made the Messenger app mandatory for users; many Facebook users felt forced into it and confused by the requirement. Wednesday’s announcement makes more clear what Facebook’s ultimate aims may be — creating a robust platform for communications and business that can handle things from gaming to commerce.
This new feature can help retailers avoid bombarding customers with multiple emails after placing an order online. Instead, Messenger will create a "conversation" with the customer, providing shipping and delivery updates, an option to modify the order, and even continue shopping with the retailer in the app. Buyers will receive the opportunity to opt into the service at checkout.
“Over time we think this will become a way to not only build stronger relationships with customers, but to ultimately drive demand and new purchases,” Everlane CEO Michael Preysman told Re/code.