At TechCrunch’s annual Disrupt conference, Facebook’s VP of Messaging David Marcus announced that chatbots – built atop Facebook Messenger – can now support native in-app payments. Users will see "buy now" links pop up in relevant chats, enabling them to checkout via a quick payment confirmation tab that defaults to the synced credit card connected to the user’s Facebook or Messenger account.
 
It’s about time!
 
As the largest digital peer-to-peer social network, Facebook’s addition of peer-to-peer payments is a natural progression (not to mention no brainer) – and arguably, one that is perhaps long overdue. As a primary platform for connection with friends and family, extending their functionality to allow users to split checks, send gifts, etc. makes perfect sense. But beyond this, there are added benefits here as well: Facebook is keeping users engaged with their platform.
 
Payments are a fantastic means to keep users logged in and using their platform, not to mention an attraction feature for retailers. Up to this point, Facebook ads functioned at most as displays: if a user found the content alluring, they would click through to the retailer’s website, potentially converting the click into a sale. Now, however, Facebook has transformed its platform into a powerful commerce engine – consumers can conveniently make a purchase without ever having to leave their site. This means higher conversion rates, which translate into more valuable ads.
 
Despite these forward thinking advancements, I don’t believe we’re seeing the full potential of Facebook Messenger Payments—yet. This move is likely the first step in a much larger commerce strategy. Retailers and e-tailers need be paying close attention.

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