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Facebook is set to use Messenger to connect shoppers and retailers and drive footfall

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Facebook is looking to connect the 40 million active businesses on its site directly with consumers using Messenger, as it phases out the discover tab. The social site is hoping that this will help it boost commerce on the site.

“We want to make it more seamless for people to reach out to businesses on Messenger in places where they’re already looking to connect,” explains Facebookin its blog, of its decision to kill off the Discover feature. “We will put more investment into tools to connect people and businesses — including updates to linksweb plugins, various entry points across our family of apps, as well as ad products — that lead to Messenger,” the company says.

Among the services available to businesses will be lead generation tools, appointment making tools and offer access to customer service chatbots, the company announced earlier this year at its F8 developer conference.

The lead-generation tool will come as a Messenger template within Facebook Ads Manager. This allows businesses to create experiences that can also help qualify leads in Messenger and then continue conversations in the app or integrate with existing CRM tools to track the leads further.

Appointment booking, meanwhile, is only now launching into beta with select developers and businesses. This will allow retailers and other businesses to accept appointment requests and make bookings in real-time through Messenger. It will also integrate with standard calendar-booking software.

The big draw here is that it could see Messenger conversations turned into in-store traffic, as well as online and phone appointments, the Facebook claims. The feature will be launched globally to all developers later in the year.

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