Here’s What Yelp Said About Future E-Commerce Products

    June 6, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

This week, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman spoke at the LeWeb conference in London. SocialTimes initially reported on some comments he made, indicating that Yelp is considering going into e-commerce, which we covered here.

Le Web has since released the entire interview on YouTube:

After discussing business growth, fake reviews, and saying that Yelp is “disrupting the Yellow Pages,” Stoppelman got into the e-commerce stuff.

Yelp goes “far beyond restaurants,” he noted. “I think the number one category right now is shopping, so boutiques, places to buy different things…and so it covers the full range…the Yellow Pages traditionally didn’t cover things like shopping and didn’t really cover things like restaurants, but Yelp obviously cover those pretty well, but goes into the traditional Yellow Pages categories too, like doctors and hair salons, and plumbers.”

Interviewer Loic Le Meur noted that the next logical step for the company could be to start actually selling products.

After saying, “mmm hmm” and nodding his head, Stoppelman added, “I think that is an interesting direction, and it’s one we’ve got a toe in the water, but I see a lot of potential, and that is, we have all these people that are essentially shopping online for something offline, and so why not offer those consumers a way to close the transaction? We already do that with OpenTable Top Tables, so you can book your reservation from your iPhone or your Android device.”

“This is an area that we’re interested in,” he added. The way to think about it is “Yelp as a platform,” he said.

“We’re aggregating all these consumers,” Stoppelman continued. “They’re doing their shopping today, and the problem is that they’re just not closing their transaction. And so you can imagine that you might be able to plug in services like OpenTable for all sorts of verticals, and that could be a really interesting business for us.”

Sounds like this is really on the horizon, but Stoppelman refused to get into any specific product announcements, something he noted that he has to be careful about now that Yelp is a public company.

He did say that Yelp has some upcoming products in the pipeline, but did not make it clear whether any of them are related to e-commerce. He did say that mobile is still a focus, and that international expansion is “top of mind.”

If and when Yelp does decide to get more into e-commerce, it will be interesting to see how businesses react, particularly in light of all the criticism businesses have directed at the company regarding reviews.

  • An Honest Business Owner

    On 5/15/2013, a yelp spokesperson, Luther Lowe, wrote an article titled “how yelp protects consumers from fake reviews”.

    He replied to many of the comments and questions that were posted to his article, but he declined to acknowledge or answer the questions that I had posted to him.

    So I have taken on the task of finding recent news articles and reposting my questions on them, hoping that an official yelp spokesperson will answer them, preferably on their official blog:

    Reposted on 5/15/2013
    Reposted on 5/16/2013
    Reposted on 5/17/2013
    Reposted on 5/18/2013
    Reposted on 5/20/2013
    Reposted on 5/22/2013
    Reposted on 5/31/2013
    Reposted on 6/06/2013

    1- why is the “filtered reviews” button placed on the bottom of the page, where its hard to find? Why isn’t it located next to the other menu choices on the top?

    2- Many business owners wrongly think that if they become paying yelp advertisers, that their reviews will become less filtered. Do you think that if the “filtered reviews” button was easier to find, that businesses would be less inclined to pay advertising fees?

    3- Does a yelp salesperson earn commission or bonuses? And if yes, how does yelp monitor what promises or assurances a yelp salesperson gives to a business owner?

    Many companies monitor their sales staff by recording their sales calls, for quality assurance. Does yelp do this, and if it doesn’t, why not?

    My perspective as an honest business owner:

    1- A review filter is needed, otherwise yelp will become useless.

    2- Yelp has been very good for our business, mainly because we have many positive reviews, both filtered and unfiltered. Yelp has brought in a lot of traffic our way, so yelp deserves credit and a personal “thank you” from me. I’m hoping Mr. Lowe can pass this along to his co-workers.

    3- I support free speech of yelpers and non-yelpers alike. Free speech and the right to express oneself is the foundation our country is built upon, and it is protected by law. Yelp provides a tool to express oneself.

    4- Like it or not, yelp and the other online review sites, are here to stay. As a business owner, you can either keep complaining about it, which in my opinion doesn’t change anything, or you can grasp the new reality, and use it to better your products and services.

    – An Honest Business Owner