Given that the vast majority of consumers read online reviews before purchasing goods or services, third-party review sites are an important place for brands to build and maintain a strong local presence. And, when it comes to the places local customers search for the social validation of reviews, Yelp is one of the most trusted and popular.
With 24 million cumulative reviews across a broad demographic and 90 million users per month, Yelp enables local businesses to reach up to three times more potential customers. In fact, 97% of people make a purchase from a business they discover on Yelp – 90% of those within a week. What’s more, 80% would share details of companies they find this way with others.
Yelp is continually adding features to enhance the experience of business owners as well as site users. In this blog post, you’ll learn the latest Yelp local business updates and how different brands can excel on this local marketing platform by understanding Yelp’s features and capabilities.
All businesses can benefit from:
Customizable buttons in Yelp Connect
As part of Yelp’s ongoing mission to ‘provide businesses with the tools they need to connect with their customers, they now have customizable call-to-action buttons. These enable businesses to tie them more closely to post content and encourage the potential for conversions. Available options are:
- Call (XXX) XXX-XXXX
- Get directions
- View business
- Visit website
- View more photos
- See portfolio
- [Custom URL]
- Call now (coming soon)
- Message business (coming soon)
- Request a quote (coming soon)
Improved health and safety information
While customers are eager to support local businesses as restrictions ease after a tough economic year, they may have concerns regarding your health and safety guidelines. Yelp allows companies to highlight new service offerings and protective practices at their various locations. These include:
- Staff checked for symptoms (available to all businesses)
- Disposable or contactless menu (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)
- Heated outdoor seating (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)
- Covered outdoor seating (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)
- Indoor dining (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)
- Private dining (available to restaurants)
- DIY meal kits (available to restaurants)
- Outdoor services (available to fitness and beauty businesses)
- 1:1 sessions available (available to fitness businesses)
- Limited group sessions available (available to fitness businesses)
In addition, users can now give feedback about safety practices they observe being upheld onsite. They can comment on whether social distancing is being enforced and if your staff is wearing masks.
These reviews validate the information provided by the business themselves and helps instill confidence. They also ensure potential customers feel comfortable and know what to expect if and when they visit the location.
Resources for businesses
Business owners can now access information about Yelp’s various products and features as well as informative articles and videos on a variety of business-related topics, including how they can effectively market their business using Yelp for brand growth and development at their Yelp for Business page.
Minority businesses owners can benefit from:
Free, searchable attributes
In response to ‘an alarming increase in violence targeting the Asian community,’ Yelp is amplifying the voice of Asian business owners, alongside other minority groups by allowing them to add ‘Asian-owned’ to their Yelp Page.
This helps consumers to more easily find and support such companies in their local community. Other available attributes include Latin-owned, Black-owned, and Women-owned.
Restaurants can benefit from:
Takeout features in Waitlist
During the lockdown, customer searches for nearby takeout options increased exponentially (3,200%). Many dine-in-focused restaurants had to quickly pivot to meet the new demand. Now, with restrictions easing but many still feeling cautious about venturing out, the need for this service is likely to remain high for the foreseeable future.
That’s why Yelp is continuing to add features to their Waitlist app. The app was previously aimed at supporting restaurants that manage dine-in services. The app now allows restaurants to easily enter and keep track of all takeout orders – whether received by phone or website. They can also add pertinent information about customer requests and car details for a more seamless curbside pickup experience.
Restaurant employees can also use the app to directly communicate with their customers via SMS – texting them when their order is ready. This means that safety practices, such as social distancing, can be more effectively upheld during transactions.
Guest Profiles for a more personalized experience for customers
An excellent option for repeat diners and restaurants alike is the Guest Profile feature. Customer contact information, dietary preferences, and more are stored, allowing for easy autofill of key details. Having this information to hand also enables restaurants to provide their customers with more specifically tailored dining experiences.
Coupled with this, new point of sale integration gives businesses an even more precise understanding of customer wants and needs. Details include the amount spent at each transaction, who the server was, and what items they ordered. This facilitates more effective, targeted marketing strategies. These insights can also be used to improve the customer experience.
Upgraded analytics for a better understanding of performance
Yelp for Business has made it possible for multi-location, franchise, and chain restaurants to view and monitor restaurant performance metrics at a brand level, in addition to offering detailed information about each location. Any outliers will be highlighted for easy visibility.
Restaurants can track trends and view information on service elements such as average wait times on different days of the week, table turn times, seating conversion rates, and which source seated the diners in the first place. Data is available for the past two years.
Resource center for restaurants
Yelp business users can now access a whole host of inspirational, educational podcasts, articles, tips and guides, and success stories at their restaurant resource page. Content covers everything from how restaurateurs are best utilizing Yelp’s new features to effective COVID cleaning procedures. Expert guests host live Q&A sessions addressing questions and queries to support business growth.
Learn more impactful tips for Yelp and multi-location restaurant brands by diving deeper into the following: