EBay is piloting Facebook’s automated messaging technology to alert shoppers when an auction for an item they have bid on is ending.

The online marketplace is allowing customers to opt in to the service, which will send automated notifications via Facebook Messenger to shoppers 15 minutes before an auction for an item they have either bid on or that is on their watch list is ending.

The automated messaging service will also notify users if they are outbid on an item in the final 15 minutes of an auction and they can then place a new bid on that item directly through the Facebook notification.

EBay’s vice-president of product and engineering Lucius DiPhillips said: “We know that eBay customers are very active in various messaging apps.

“This integration with Messenger is about understanding where our customers are, improving the buyer experience and finding new ways to engage with them throughout their purchase journey.”

The online marketplace will be rolling out Facebook’s messenging technology to a selection of its shoppers in the next four weeks.

The service is currently only available in the US, but a  spokeswoman for Ebay said the online marketplace planned “rolling this feature out to other territories including the UK this year based on the findings in the US pilot.”

This retail tie-up follows Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announcing the launch of its chatbot automated messenger technology at the social network’s annual developer conference last night.

Speaking at Retail Week Live in March, Facebook EMEA vice-president Nicola Mendelsohn said that retailers could “incrementally increase sales” by using its messenger service to communicate with customers.