Instead of emailing or making a phone call to an online store, you will be able to directly message them using Facebook Messenger.

David Marcus, the former president of PayPal and current vice president of messaging products at Facebook, discussed how you can soon befriend businesses at Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Using an old-timey black and white drawing of a general store as an example, Marcus explained that businesses in the past used to get to know customers by name and were able to meet demands on a personal basis. He argued that online businesses have gotten away from that kind of hospitality due to how interactions with online shops are now in the form of faceless email threads. We get an email when we’ve made an account with a website, then another email when a product is bought, another when it’s shipped, another when it’s received and so on. It’s inefficient and robotic.

Marcus went on to mention that most online retailer sites are barely usable on mobile devices and that the chat services lots of companies have tried to build, well, just aren’t that good. To fix these issues, Facebook wants to make e-shopping more personal with instant messaging on its Messenger Platform.

To demonstrate, Marcus bought a shirt on Everlane by adding it to the shopping cart and checking out. Then he contacted Everlane in Messenger, which showed him order details like where his package was located.

But more importantly, he made another order by simply chatting with Everlane. He asked if the store had the shirt he just ordered in another color. Everlane replied positively, included the price and asked if he wanted to buy it. Macrus affirmed with a thumbs-up image macro and the order was made.

Facebook’s move to make businesses more like people could work out extremely well. Anyone who has made a purchase online can relate to the fact that for the most part it doesn’t feel like humans are involved anymore. You just click on a link, authenticate everything with a faceless website and call it a day. But this combination of streamlining and personifying the entire e-shopping experience could work wonders, especially for smaller outlets. Facebook Messenger can even act as an app for businesses that don’t have one of their own.

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