Sometimes, it’s cooperation — not competition — that benefits consumers the most. More and more, local technology companies are choosing to work together, relying on partnerships to expand their footprint and help streamline the experience of buying and selling goods locally.
Delivery.com, a New York-based online ordering company, has released a new framework, or API, through which developers can allow users to order from the firm’s network of local businesses — all without leaving the confines of a website, mobile app, gaming system or Google Glass. The API helps to automate the work of a business development team, allowing the company to bring the type of integrations already available on Yelp to the cornucopia of smaller, locally-focused properties.
In July, the six year-old startup began working with Yelp as a founding partner of Yelp Platform, the review company’s initiative to help bring commerce functionality into the site. The integration, which was built around the same API available to developers today, allows users to order directly from any restaurant on Delivery.com’s network from their Yelp page. The company manages the orders made from Yelp, or any other API partner, as if it came from the its branded site, and handles all of the customer service or logistical problems that might occur after user submits an order.
Twitter and Facebook have relied on third-party widgets — the Tweet or Like buttons seen on thousands of media sites today — to bring its core functionality to users beyond the walls of their core properties in an attempt to reach a wider swath of users at a more frequently interval. For media sites, the social media widgets helped users share their content more frequently, and expand their audience in doing so. But, the new partnership programs launched by Delivery.com — and other online ordering firms like Eat24 and Seamless — go beyond simply offering developers a new vehicle to expand their audience; it provides a new, an purely incremental, revenue stream in an extremely competitive market.
In many ways, Delivery.com’s program, which offers developers a share of every order made through their property, opens up the door for local content and data companies to generate new revenues from a rapidly growing affiliate marketing industry. The strategy, which allows brands to pay content sites for users each user who click through a given link, has typically been out of reach for restaurants and other business that sell locally, because there was no way to measure whether a person actually made a purchase afterwards.
“If you look at Yelp’s stock price as an indicator from when they announced Yelp’s Platform to where we are today, it’s a pretty good indication that the street is reacting to taking what they have, which is eyeballs and intent, and turning it into not just ad dollars but transactions as well,” Jed Kleckner, chief executive at Delivery.com, said about the growth in partnerships between local content and commerce companies.
For Kleckner and Delivery.com, the partnerships, and API program, provide a mid-sized startup with a vehicle for grow without the liabilities of it. “Building local takes along time even if you’re big,” he told me. “As we grow as a business, the only way we can grow faster is if we can leverage what’s out there with what we have.”
In conjunction with the release of the new API, the company is also hosting a developer competition, offering the winner $65,000 in cash and prizes.
Steven Jacobs is Street Fight’s deputy editor.