Facebook is redesigning its Pages feature to attract more businesses, in part by providing them a new way to showcase their products, the company announced Tuesday.
The design changes and new features were released to a group of small-business owners at a live event in Menlo Park, California.
Among the changes, the company has revamped the way Pages appear on smartphones, offering businesses more ways to interact with customers using mobile devices and tablets. Its adding new call-to-action buttons that will enable businesses encourage potential customers to do things like book appointments or browse their ecommerce offerings.
Page creators can now choose a one-tap display, right below the cover photo that lists Contact Us, Send Message and Call Now. Underneath that bar, there are new section options such as Services, Photos, Shop, Posts and Reviews.
Since more and more people are beginning to shop online, businesses will be able to add a Shop section to their Facebook Page, potentially allowing people to purchase products directly. A Services section will enable them to list the services that are being offered. The changes are designed to make it easier for users to see what businesses have to offer, and also to get in touch with them.
Since July, Facebook and a small group of partners have been testing a way to allow users buy items through Pages but the company says it will open up the features more broadly in the coming weeks.
The new features mean more businesses will be able to allow users click buy without having to leave the social network. The participating businesses will use Shopify, an e-commerce platform, to sell their goods through Facebook Pages.
Competitors like Twitter, Google and Pinterest are also trying out new ways of their own to let users shop.
Previously, the world's largest social network has had a rough past with small businesses. Facebook's changing algorithms have caused frustrations among some business partners, and some of them even complained of losing their ability to connect with customers.
Still, the number of small and medium-sized businesses who actively manage pages on Facebook has risen from 40m in April to 45m in September, the company reported Tuesday.
During Facebook's quarterly earnings call in July, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that the social network often looks for ways to turn businesses, who operate free Pages into paying advertisers, by offering to charge them to promote their posts.