Long before foursquare rewards or Facebook Deals, consumers turned to Yelp – and many of them still do. Marketers have long regarded the user review site as a marketing necessity (for better or worse), and now it is giving businesses the chance to provide Check-In Offers to loyal customers in time for the holiday shopping rush.
In an official Yelp blog post, the company announced that it has created Check-in Offers. It will now support coupons and other promotional deals marketers may want to provide to users who check in via Yelp at their store locations. Deals can be set up at the Yelp for Business Owners dashboard, available to all participating U.S. brands.
When mobile consumers check in, they can access deals and select “Use it Now” to redeem Offers, or choose to “Save it.” Once they use an Offer, it is removed from their devices.
Yelp officials say they have launched Offers to help businesses leverage the increasing popularity of checking in at store locations. It’s true that location-based tools seem to be cropping up across the web. From Google Places and Facebook Places to Yahoo local search developments and emerging geosocial platforms, location-based searches’ moment seems to have arrived.
The question on marketers’ minds should be whether Yelp’s Offers can help them build brand loyalty in a way that Facebook Deals and foursquare mayorships may not. Forrester Research information released last summer indicated that geosocial apps are slow to gain adoption, but Search Engine Land reports that Yelp CEO Geoff Donaker claims Yelp sites boast more than 38 million unique visitors in a month. Meanwhile, foursquare has about 4 million users worldwide. Plus, Yelp users seem comfortable using the site’s mobile apps, with half of all Yelp searches coming from mobile devices on Saturdays.
Though it may take time to discern whether Yelp Check-in Offers pay off in the long run, marketers may hope to boost sales through Yelp promotions targeted at on-the-go-shoppers for the major holiday shopping weekend ahead. Recent reports reveal that 60 percent of all mobile device-owning shoppers will consult their smartphones before making purchases this holiday season.