Yelp Revamps its Business Control Center and Releases Other Pandemic-Adaptive Features

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and Yelp is responding to Covid-19 with a fresh set of features designed to help businesses on its platform showcase the ways they are adjusting to the pandemic.

The announcement follows massive layoffs at the company as advertising plunged along with SMB revenue in the face of coronavirus-fueled lockdowns. But a recent Brandify survey showed Yelp remains a massive presence in the local digital marketing space: 64% of US consumers are somewhat or very likely to turn to Yelp when searching for restaurants, second only to the leader across verticals, Google.

Yelp’s new features will prove especially helpful for businesses in the months, if not years during which Covid-19 continues to affect everyday habits, but a number of the changes align with digital marketing best practices that will serve Yelp clients well beyond the next 12 months. Below is a rundown.

Yelp for Business platform. This “reimagined” control center greeted all business owners on Yelp when they logged on this morning. New or updated features include recommendation cards, tips, a content feed, and faster loads and response times. The platform also prompts business owners and operators to respond to Covid-19 in key ways.

Covid-19 banner alerts. More than 224,000 Yelp customers have already taken advantage of personalized banners that allow them to inform customers of what they are doing to continue operating in the time of Covid-19.

Virtual service offerings. Brick-and-mortar businesses are digitizing for survival, adding online classes, curbside pickup, and touchless payments. Yelp is now foregrounding virtual service offerings, allowing businesses to highlight the fresh, social distancing-safe services they are offering to generate revenue and preserve customer connections during economic shutdowns.

Covid-19 Business Highlights badges. For special offerings not classified as virtual services, there are new badges in Yelp’s Business Highlights feature. This will allow businesses to showcase whether they are providing gift cards and services such as delivery and curbside pickup.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.