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Facebook Messenger now lets you shop from anywhere in the world

(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook is making it easier for businesses to talk to their online customers using its Messenger platform.

The online giant has revealed a major upgrade to its chat plugin tool that will allow companies to talk to customers through their own website using Messenger - even if the user is not on Facebook.

Facebook originally launched an initial version of its chat tool back in November 2017, but until now, the service required the user to be logged into the social network to use.

Messenger shopping

Facebook says that the free service will help businesses reach more customers than ever, especially as companies large and small look to move into the ecommerce space during the global lockdown.

"Due to COVID, businesses everywhere have needed to adapt, and for many, that means increasing their online presence," Jenny Li, Product Manager, Messenger wrote in a blog post announcing the upgrade.

"As a result, people are contacting businesses online more than ever. Chat Plugin is an easy solution for businesses to talk to potential customers by bringing the Messenger experience directly on to their website. With minimal effort, businesses are able to kick off conversations, bring a personal touch to the online shopping experience, and build lasting relationships with customers."

The company says that developers will be able to quickly and easily build the chat plugin into their websites, adding the upgraded tool with "just a few clicks" in its Facebook Page settings menu.

The news is the latest in a series of Messenger updates as Facebook looks to distinguish the service from competitors. Reports last month suggest that Facebook may soon allow users of WhatsApp and Messenger to chat directly with one another, from within their respective apps.