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Facebook Update Means More Shopping Pages Are on the Way

Facebook doesn't want you to leave Facebook.

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Facebook is trying to lure more businesses into creating and using business pages. The bait? Facebook Pages that look and feel a lot like the website they’re already using online.

The social network is making a few design tweaks to its mobile app in the hope that people will spend more time interacting with businesses. In short, the new design does two things: It encourages people to contact the page owner through Facebook, and it gives the page owner a new place to show off products and services to prospective buyers.

Facebook is expanding the shopping page feature it started testing with retailers back in July, according to Benji Shomair, who heads up product marketing for Facebook Pages. The expanded test means more pages will soon include a “Shop” tab where users can browse a catalogue of products from the company and, in some cases, make purchases straight from Facebook. Those transactions will be powered by Shopify, according to Shomair.

Facebook

Some of these pages won’t actually sell items within Facebook (at least not yet). They’ll simply have a place to show off products alongside prices and descriptions in hopes of driving people off of Facebook to pages where they can make a purchase.

Facebook is also adding a “call to action” near the top of each page, encouraging people to call or message the page owner.

More than 45 million businesses already have active pages on Facebook, up from 40 million in May, said Shomair, so there seems to be a benefit here for businesses. Shomair argues that Facebook is actually a better way for businesses to reach customers on their smartphone than with a website or a standalone app.

“At Facebook, we know — quite intimately — it’s very hard to build an app,” he said. “It’s quite hard to get people to download your app, but the hardest is actually getting people to use your app.”

But a lot of people use Facebook!

Essentially, the company wants business pages to replace a company’s website or mobile app, and there’s a good reason why. If companies let Facebook host their website information — menus, product catalogues, services — then you, the consumer, won’t have much reason to leave Facebook. It’s the same reason it wants to host news articles. And advertising campaigns. The more content that lives within Facebook, the less likely you are to leave Facebook.

These changes are rolling out in stages. The new shop section is coming to a limited test group and the overall design change is rolling out globally to mobile business pages over the coming weeks. Shomair says the new features should arrive on desktops later this year.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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