Consumers want to interact with businesses on their own terms and in the channels they choose. Messenger‘s built-in audience makes it the ideal place to engage customers with new offerings and to leverage the investment that businesses have already made in building a Facebook following. With Facebook’s continuous improvements, it’s possible to run an entire loyalty and rewards program right in the Messenger Platform. Let’s look at an example of how a convenience store can utilize Messenger to drive customer loyalty.

1. Sign Up

Messenger makes it really easy to onboard new customers to a loyalty and rewards program. There’s no app to install; customers are already actively using Messenger, and — as of Sept 12, 2016 — you can drive customers to a Messenger bot from an ad campaign. Once the customer taps Get Started, they’ll be able to register for a new rewards account or link to their existing rewards account. To register, the customer just has to provide the bot an email address and select whether they’d like to get email updates. The customer gets a confirmation email with their account information, and they’re finished. If the customer already has a rewards account, they can simply take a photo of their existing card or type in the number on the card, and they’re all set. That’s it! It’s a win-win — the customer can start getting rewarded and the business can start building loyalty in about a minute. Compare that to the cost and time involved in getting a customer onboarded in an app.

2. Rewards card and account

The Messenger bot gives the customer access to their rewards card and rewards balance at any time. Customers can select My Card from the menu or simply ask the bot for the information. This utilizes the rewards infrastructure that’s already been established by most retailers and can tie into cross-marketed rewards programs. With the Messenger platform account linking feature, it is also possible to log directly into an existing rewards account and link it to the bot.

3. Local stores

Helping customers find local stores is a breeze. They can simply select Local Stores from the menu and share their location or zip code. The bot replies with a list of local stores and provides directions.

4. Promos

At any time, the customer can find out about current promotions by selecting Promos from the menu, which will show the latest promotional deals and allow the customer to find the nearest store that’s offering them. It’s also possible for the bot to periodically push promotions to the customer through Messenger.

5. Order ahead

The ability to order food and products ahead of time is another compelling integration. This is particularly useful for quick-serve restaurants or convenience stores that have prepared food offerings. Integrating a food ordering system with a bot is no more complex than doing so with an app.

6. Payments

With the recent release of Messenger Platform 1.2, customers will be able to make payments right from the bot through the platform, as well as linking directly to a point-of-sale terminal or a gas pump to make a payment.

Demo of the reward system

The bot can leverage and interface with the existing loyalty and rewards, ordering, and payment platforms that businesses have already invested in. They can be available on every device the customer uses with one-time onboarding. This is just one of many examples of functionality that was once only available in apps or websites. Now, it can be replicated and potentially improved upon on the Messenger Platform, while leveraging businesses’ existing investment in Facebook.