ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Yelp expands local business reach with shopping feature

Peer-to-peer review site Yelp is taking its service into commerce with the development of its shopping platform and partnership with digital commerce Web site Shoptiques, allowing users to shop local boutiques in their area through the application.

The shopping feature displays local shopping boutiques in the user’s area and gives her the option to shop the merchandise in the Yelp app, allowing the review service to get a piece of the action it has long been helping local businesses receive. The app aggregates local businesses in the area of the user paired with ratings, giving consumers an option to make an informed decision of which retailer to visit and now, convenient and immediate purchasing options.

“The mobile-mall trend is taking off and this is a development worth watching,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of sales and business development at Unbound Commerce, Boston, MA. “Yelp and other large traffic aggregators are seeking to leverage the fact that shoppers are eager to convert and might want to avoid the extra steps of visiting another retail website.

“Google recently tipped their hand about their buy button plans for search,” he said. “Again, this is a way to show advertisers and other stakeholders that they are delivering more than just brand exposure and redirected site traffic.

“For consumers, it means a wide range of products, sold to them in the context of a site they know and trust.”

Shoptiques is an online source for boutique customers to purchase merchandise without having to be in-store. The partnership will congregate all the Shoptiques shops in the user’s area, along with the Yelp reviews and allow her to shop the merchandise without leaving the app.

Greater audience
This can help local business access a broader reach, as mobile apps can access a global audience rather than solely local in-store shoppers.

Yelp has been one of the top peer-to-peer review services, along with other apps such as trip advisor. Implementing a shopping feature will allow the review site to extend its revenue gain even further, offering consumers a faster and integrated shopping experience.

Consumers prefer making informed purchasing decisions and Yelp is making that happen with this partnership. Pairing reviews with an option to shop generates a feeling of security to consumers, which in turn will compel them to confidently spend more.

However, negative reviews could prove detrimental to local boutiques as the mobile app allows users to post their feelings freely as long as it is within Yelp’s community guidelines. If consumers have felt scorned, there is nothing stopping them from posting an unfavorable review of the business and even one bad review can deter shoppers.

Users can open the Yelp app on their mobile device and search the list of boutiques in a particular location that Shoptiques has aggregated. They have the option of just browsing the merchandise to decide if they would like to visit the store, purchase directly through mobile or place a hold on an item of interest.

Shoptiques is the first partner that is involved with the Yelp shopping platform. However, the review site claims that other partnerships will be seen soon as well.

Mobile payments
Yelp is just one of the many mobile apps foraying into mobile commerce and payments.

Snapchat combined mobile messaging and mobile commerce with its reported recent investment in shopping application Spring, to capitalize on the growing popularity of conversational commerce (see more).

Also, mobile messaging application Tango is partnered with Walmart and Alibaba Group to move into the mobile message shopping frontier, driving sales in what promises to be a more convenient way for consumers while bringing the idea of conversational commerce to the forefront (see more).

“Local stores can reap the benefits of large-scale exposure and proven incremental sales, as long as they are willing to accept whatever the Yelp terms are and can deliver the goods sold,” Mr. Kerr said. “Because Yelp uses location as the primary way it delivers content, their partnership with Shoptiques makes a lot of sense.

“Shoptique finds the small, local retailers and Yelp delivers the traffic to their mobile shoppers,” he said. “The local retailer gets the orders and fulfills them.

“[Shoppable features] is a hot trend and allows small retailers to participate in marketplaces far-larger than they could reach on their own. As long as they can deliver a data feed, retain enough margin and abide by the shipping and other program guidelines, this should be a win.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily