Yelp makes it easier for businesses to showcase their virtual services – TechCrunch

As businesses struggle to reinvent themselves amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Yelp is launching new features to help highlight these changes.

On the one hand, it adds a new category of information called virtual service offerings, which will allow businesses to highlight the fact that they offer services such as virtual consultations, courses, tours and shows. Then anyone browsing Yelp can search for these categories.

The company said businesses are already starting to introduce virtual services in their profiles, especially in the home services, fitness, gyms, health and real estate categories. And Yelp plans to create new Collections that showcase businesses that are still open and offer these services.

In an email, Yelp’s Consumer Products Manager Akhil Kuduvalli told me:

With these new product updates, businesses of all types that adapt and change the way they operate will be able to better connect with their customers and potentially find new ones. Once business owners update their virtual service offerings on their Yelp for Business profiles, we’ll bring those updates to consumers through new call-to-action buttons, updating the home screen and search results with links to business groups offering these new virtual services. , as well as making them appear in other formats such as Collections.

Image credits: Bark

Yelp said it will soon add the ability for restaurants to identify the fact that they also offer curbside pickup. (Apparently restaurants are already using existing features to accommodate – for example, Chili’s is using the waitlist feature to manage diners doing curbside pickups.)

Yelp (which had to make its own cuts in response to the pandemic) also introduced a custom banner that it says has been used by nearly 224,000 businesses to post updates to their profiles. The banner is now available for free to all businesses on Yelp.

Finally, the company said it made its Connect feature to release updates for free to eligible local businesses as part of its $ 25 million relief effort, and introduced new highlights. that allow businesses to deliver relevant offers – like gift cards and delivery during the pandemic – directly into their Yelp search results.

In a blog post Announcing the changes, Kuduvalli wrote:

As government leaders across the country begin to develop plans for reopening local economies, we anticipate that the needs of consumers and businesses will gradually change. We are committed to listening to our community of local businesses and users as they continue to adapt, and will continue to create new ways to help them stay connected and secure during this unprecedented time.

Perry A. Thomasson