Facebook forced its users to download its chat app Messenger as it did not allow them to chat on mobile devices through the main app. However, now users have a good reason to stick to the app as the company has been planning to turn it into a mobile hub for several purposes other than chatting. And now it appears that in the future, the social media firm might allow shopping through the app from brick and mortar stores, claims The Information.

Facebook Might Soon Allow Users To Shop Via Messenger App

Following Asian rivals

The software code for Facebook’s chat app Messenger contained evidence of the company’s potential plans. The code also included directions for users to “pay directly in Messenger when you pick up the item in a store with no cash needed,” the report stated. This means that retailers could allow shoppers to buy products from within the app.

Several retailers, including Everlane and Zulily, already use Messenger to handle customer service around orders. However, they are not allowing customers to make payments for actual purchases as of now. Reports claim that Facebook is also making attempts to get more retailers to use Messenger as a mode of communication with shoppers.

Facebook appears to be following in the footsteps of popular Asian messaging apps like Tencent-owned WeChat, using which customers in China are able to buy items, order rides and transfer money to their friends on Facebook.

Facebook Messenger: a lot more than a chat app

Facebook Messenger, which is being used by 800 million users around the world, is currently experimenting with chat bots, which are software programs that communicate with users in a similar manner as humans do and answer their questions. Users can receive help from these automated bots regarding shopping and booking services like restaurant reservations and travel. Facebook users are also allowed to order Uber and Lyft rides from the app by tapping.

Previously, CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied reports that the company was aiming at making money from the transactions but admitted that commerce in the app will allow them to sell advertising. Reportedly, the social networking giant also plans to start slipping ads in messages between users and businesses by the end of June.