Yelp expands Platform to include spas and salons

Yelp Platform allows businesses and consumers to make transactions directly on the site

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 8, 2014
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Last year, Yelp decided that it was sick of just being the site that told you where to go; it wanted in on the action and, more importantly, the money! And so it launched Yelp Platform, which allows users to buy goods and services directly from Yelp.

Yelp first partnered with and Eat24 to offer food delivery services, while promising that other verticals would be coming. Now, nine months later, it is finally expanding to its second category: spas and salons.

Yelp has entered into a partnership with Booker, a company that enables service business to sell their services online, to allow users to schedule their appointment directly from the Yelp website or mobile app, it was revealed on Tuesday. 

The spa or salon simply has to be supported by Booker. In addition, users will also have the ability to choose to save their payment details for future appointments, given that such services often get repeat business.

"Before consumers decide to spend money at a local business, they turn to Yelp -- whether it’s to help them discover the best pizza joint, a trustworthy locksmith or a quaint B&B for a weekend getaway," the company wrote.

"This is exactly why we introduced Yelp Platform last year, to give people a seamless way to transact directly with the businesses they’re already discovering on Yelp."

Other categories that Yelp outlined last year that it plans to expand to include yoga studios, salons and dentist appointments starting with Booker, Intuit’s Demandforce and MindBody.

A select number of spas and salons are already available for booking on Yelp Platform as of today, including Yelo, which is located in New York, and more will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Another revenue stream

It makes a lot of sense for Yelp to expand its services to become a marketplace. After all, it has a huge database of businesses, perhaps the biggest on the Web. And a lot of people already rely on the site to see which businesses to give their money to. So why shouldn't help Yelp also get a piece of that business?

Yelp Platform gives the company another revenue stream. Right now, Yelp makes most of its money off of business accounts and local advertising. It's full year revenue for 2013 went up 69% to $233 million, while local ad revenue grew 71%.

While Yelp Platform hasn’t had much of an impact on revenue yet, J.P. Morgan analyst Kaizad Gotla sees promise.

“We expect Yelp to continue adding additional service providers over the coming months, further solidifying Yelp’s position as a destination for local content and potentially local commerce in the future,” Gotla wrote in a research note.

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