From what we can tell from Yelp’s announcement yesterday—Yelp just told Groupon “Deal’s Off” with the introduction of Yelp Gift Certificates. While Yelp may have tried to compete with the (possibly fading) online discount giant Groupon with Yelp Deals, these Gift Certificates are an old concept made new by Yelp.
What’s the difference between Groupon, Yelp Deals and the new Gift Certificates? Mainly one thing – repeat interactions around full retail priced goods/services.
While Groupon and Yelp Deals are known for mass awareness and providing a huge discount on services and goods, Yelp has added in a layer which allows consumers a chance to make a repeat full price purchases. These purchases serve two purposes, one as actual revenue and two allow true advocates for brands to spread their brand love with someone digitally.
Moving beyond acquisition and focusing on advocacy is very important for smaller or regional brands, which need to build brand loyalty and trust with their customers and consumers. This is one of the main complaints brands had with Groupon—they spent a lot of money getting thousands of people in, and then that was it. No chance for repeat interaction.
Outside of repeat interactions, Yelp Deals and Certificates provide brands the information on purchasers; helping brands (if even only at a Yelp level) develop a CRM database, and allowing them to clearly delineate “couponers” versus brand loyalist.
All in all, Yelp saw an opportunity and provided their customers a feature they wanted. How do we know it was a feature Yelp business users wanted? Because Yelp took the time to ask their international Small Business Advisory Council for input into Yelp Gift Certificates—hat tip, Yelp.