SinglePlatform, the New York-based startup that provides a one-stop shop for local businesses to build their digital presence, is expanding its reach by partnering with YP.com. The company enables local businesses to provide detailed product information, such as a menu for restaurants, to major online publishers and services like the New York Times, Foursquare, Metromix — and now YP.com.
SinglePlatform originally partnered with YPmobile in 2011, and the results were impressive. Since their presence on YPmobile, restaurant searches, YP’s #1 category, has tripled in use. The local search app has also seen a doubling in the number of phone calls and direction requests to businesses.
This partnership is not just a win for SinglePlatform and YP, but also for the local businesses in the SinglePlatform network who stand to benefit from seeing their business and product information displayed across YP.com, one of the largest search brands. SinglePlatform CEO Wiley Cerilli says this feature, which is now “a core feature” of Yellow Pages listings, is letting local businesses “publish what’s most important for them, in front of millions of people.” Currently, there are 300,000 plus menus on the site and 20 million items. Single Platform predicts that by June, there will be over one million “store fronts” on YP.com’s listings.
This effectively moves YP.com up in the purchasing decision funnel, shortening the user’s path to a purchasing decision and making it more likely that they’ll finalize that decision onsite.
It’s worth thinking about that for a second because this represents a fundamental repositioning of the YP.com core value proposition. Put it this way: what comes to mind when someone says “Yellow Pages?” Answer, naturally: a telephone book. It’s where you go to find business information — but only after you’ve already made your decision about what to buy and where to buy it. It’s at the very end of the purchaser’s decision making process. Now, however, when you go to YP.com you can find not just listing information, but also information about what the business is selling and for how much. This effectively moves YP.com up in the purchasing decision funnel, shortening the user’s path to a purchasing decision and making it more likely that they’ll finalize that decision onsite (hence the 2x increase in calls and mapping requests).
Now, rather than just finding the telephone number for a sushi restaurant, YP.com users can search for California rolls and make their choice based on the restaurants that actually have California rolls and their relative prices. Users are thus able to explore and make a decision based on exactly what they want to buy and where the best place is to purchase it.
“It’s really empowering these publishers and in the end, empowering these users to find what they want to buy in real time from these local businesses,” Cerilli said. In other words, by integrating detailed product listings from SinglePlatform’s business listings, YP.com is moving into the territory of actual purchasing intent. Rather than simply knowing “What” business their users are looking for, they can know “Why.” And purchasing intent is really the end of the rainbow for publishers like YP because, in addition to facilitating an end-to-end user experience, it paves the way for more serendipitous discovery (not to mention more cross-sell and upsell opportunities).
According to Cerilli, search is no longer about looking up the name of a specific place, whether it be a restaurant or a toy store, and finding the address or phone number: “People want discovery engines,” Cerilli said. “YP has been one of the first to point this out that it’s no longer about the listing, it’s about what products and services each listing has and how much they cost.”
This, in a nutshell, is how SinglePlatform is re-imagining consumer search. It’s not about the phone book, it’s about understanding customer intent and reaching the consumer at the point at which the purchasing decision is being made in order to more effectively drive that decision.
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