As businesses struggle to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, Yelp is extending a helping hand with the implementation of a tab to spotlight companies’ digital offerings, such as fine dining takeout and online classes.
“Yoga studios have had to quickly shift to virtual classes, fine dining restaurants are pivoting to takeout and restaurants are selling groceries,” Yelp said in a statement on Monday (May 4). “In these unprecedented times, as we all do our part to social distance and keep one another safe, we remain committed to our mission – to connect people with great local businesses.”
A tab for new virtual service offerings is now active on the pages of businesses that offer virtual consultations, classes, tours, shows and performances. Users can search the listings to find local businesses with digital offerings, such as yoga, therapy, tutoring and more.
“In the past month alone, we’ve seen businesses of all kinds adapting to these new circumstances and are already enabling virtual services. Categories that have seen the greatest adoption to date include home services, fitness, gyms, health and real estate,” according to the statement.
Searchable, curated lists of open businesses will also be offered soon. These collections will be “carefully curated by Yelp’s Community team” and will be available across more than 100 U.S. metros. This is a chance for some local companies to expand their reach to new customers nationwide.
To better assist restaurants that offer takeout and delivery, Yelp has updated its search and “home experiences” to feature tailored options for consumers. In addition, businesses offering curbside pickup will soon be able to announce that service. Curbside pickup will also be searchable in the app.
The banner alert for business pages that Yelp launched in April is now customizable so that owners can “communicate directly with their customers.” Businesses can announce changes to their hours, their COVID-19 preparedness protocol, special deals and more.
“Since creating this new banner alert, nearly 224,000 businesses have created customized updates. We’re continuing to improve the banner design, making it even easier to read and ensuring consumers can clearly see if the information included is up-to-date and accurate,” Yelp indicated.
Despite loosening restrictions, the fifth PYMNTS study of consumer behavior before and during the pandemic indicates that when compared to people who are ready to venture out, nearly twice as many Americans have little or no interest in leaving their homes to reengage in the physical world.