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.