This morning Yext announced a new integration that enables businesses to offer an Uber booking button on their sites and apps, as well as be featured on in-app promotions on the Uber app while en route.
Yext is the latest company — joining SIM Partners, Foursquare, Button and others — to offer integrations with Uber that help local businesses offer on-demand services. And while we’re not quite there yet, the move signals that we’re getting closer to the point where providing on-demand access will be table stakes for local businesses.
With the new integration, clients of Yext’s Location Cloud for listings and local site management can let their customers book an Uber ride to their store from a local website, app, or email campaign via a “Ride with Uber” button. Don’t underestimate that email integration — as Yext EVP Marc Ferrentino points out, a restaurant reservation confirmation is the perfect time to book a ride to dinner.
Once the customer catches a ride, the local business can show an offer or other information such as product specs or a menu to the rider through Yext’s implementation of Uber’s newer Trip Branding feature. Ferrentino advises marketers to take advantage of that captive audience: “It’s all about putting the button in the right place at the right time in front of a user with the highest intent.” Uber partners like Zomato and Hilton have used this deep-linking capability. Also within the Uber app, a Yext client can specify a specific drop-off location.
Greasing the Wheels for Connected Services
Uber’s ride request API for app developers has been around since the summer of 2014, and adoption momentum has been building steadily. But even for a brand as big as Uber, sometimes it takes more than an API to grease the wheels for a developer, even for big national brands and retailers. When Street Fight asked execs at those types of companies to rate their most difficult challenges when doing local digital marketing, integrating technologies came out on top, as shown below.
The pieces to the on-demand integration puzzle are coming together. Like Yext, SIM Partners has integrated Uber’s API with its local site marketing platform to make a connection from a local search more seamless. At least one startup, Circulation, has been founded based on the Uber API to build a platform for connecting non-urgent patients with rides to their healthcare providers for doctor’s appointments and the like. Uber itself integrated data from Foursquare earlier this year so that ride bookers can type in business names rather than addresses.
Beyond technology integration, the ecosystems for businesses are developing across these connections. Button, which makes it easier to deep-link between transaction-oriented and content apps, started with Uber, and is building out a marketplace to help developers connect with each other. Uber offers an affiliate program for users of its API, paying developers $5 for new rider referrals. These kinds of business relationships are just as critical as technology to connect services into a complete customer experience.
And of course, beyond taxi services, Uber is dabbling in delivery. Yext’s Ferrentino says he’s watching closely as Uber’s platform expands, though he doesn’t have an active program to experiment yet.
“As they open up their functionality, we’ll want to extend that to our customer base,” he says. As local merchants seek to compete with Amazon and Wal-Mart, the promise of on-demand delivery without the expensive infrastructure behind it is coming within reach.
David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.
Hear from Yext’s Jonathan Cherins at Street Fight Summit on October 25th in New York. Click here for tickets and more info!