Business

Yelp and ReachLocal form exclusive partnership to own home services industry

Above: Yelp cofounder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman talks onstage during the first day of MobileBeat 2013.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Yelp is on a mission to dominate local services. Yelp and ReachLocal announced an exclusive partnership today that will enable users to book home services directly on Yelp.

Yelp has made a major push this year to become a place where people actually do business, rather than just research. Millions of people use Yelp to search for repairmen, home cleaners, interior designers etc. By partnering with ReachLocal, Yelp visitors will be able to see current appointment availability and to book and buy home services through a company’s Yelp profile, instead of having to reach out to the business independently.

ReachLocal provides online marketing tools for local businesses. The public company added ReachCommerce to its suite of solutions earlier this year to help small and medium businesses move all their operations online, including scheduling, booking, email confirmations, tracking of technician arrival, digital estimates, and payments. ReachLocal will power home service bookings on Yelp at the end of this year, and ReachCommerce users will have the exclusive ability to integrate booking into their Yelp profiles automatically.

Yelp launched Yelp Platform at MobileBeat 2013, taking a major step towards becoming more than just a reviews site. Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat that his goal is to turn Yelp into a “one-stop shop” for transactions with local businesses. The first vertical on Yelp Platform was a food delivery feature through partnerships with Eat24 and Delivery.com. Consumers could browse for food options on Yelp and then place their orders through the service.

Home services is a huge market of $400 billion a year. Americans spend a lot of money on local services, but the market remains highly fragmented. It is made up of a large number of small, local businesses that don’t have a strong Internet presence. This presents a challenge for consumers, who want a convenient way to hire someone trustworthy and competent, and for businesses that struggle to reach potential customers.

ReachLocal is one of the few companies that has made anyway headway in addressing these challenges. Angie’s List is another. The company provides reviews and discounts on home services and is doing extremely well. In a recent earning call, Angie’s List reported significant growth in memberships and revenue. ReachLocal takes a different approach by primarily targeting businesses rather than consumers, but it spun out a new consumer offering called ClubLocal earlier this year. ReachLocal’s CEO Zorik Gordon told VentureBeat that consumers have come to expect transparent pricing, responsive service, and guaranteed satisfaction when it comes to online purchasing, but they still expect inconvenience when it comes to local services. ClubLocal was intended to eliminate as much friction as possible from the process, and the partnership with Yelp is also part of that vision.


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