How Retail Stores Get the Most Out of Yelp for Business

Have you heard of Yelp? Have you used it? Have you optimized Yelp to drive foot traffic to your retail shop? If your answer is no to any of the above questions, it’s time to get serious about Yelp, and what it can offer your business. Yelp is a business discovery and review site. Today’s customers also moonlight as online reviewers, motivated by the spirit of sharing and getting information about where to go, and where not to go. Consumers use Yelp as a place to applaud a business or as a very visible forum in which to lodge a complaint.

Would you ignore hundreds or thousands of people standing outside of your business with signs that either praise or complain about your services ? Bottomline? Don’t ignore Yelp. The consumer review platform has a monthly average of 120 million unique visitors, with 55 million unique mobile users. With an impressive mobile following, this means users are most likely closer to a purchase decision. And Yelp, along with merchants that know how to utilize Yelp, help those users at that crucial time in the purchase process.

Devise an Action Plan for Yelp

Yelp created an active community full of shoppers who use it to get connected with the services other community members recommend. When customers search for businesses on Yelp, they usually know what they want to buy and are ready to make a purchase – they just need some direction as to where exactly to do so. That’s where maximizing Yelp to work for your business comes in: in a world full of different ways to market, both online and off, Yelp is the real thing. Create an actionable plan for your business to follow: you can pay to get ahead with Yelp, use it for free, or do both. What follows is a run-down on both paid and free ways to leverage Yelp.

Paid Yelp Advertising: What It Is, How It Works

Like most content-driven resources, Yelp makes money from its advertisers. Yelp has what businesses want: local shoppers who want to spend money. Advertising on Yelp comes with a host of benefits – from removing competitor ads from displaying on your Yelp listing to allowing your ads to display on a competitor’s listing.  To help businesses select an advertising option that’s a good fit for their unique services, Yelp created a few different choices to choose from.

Call to Action

A call to action is a simple way to advertise on Yelp. You create an enticing line, as well as a link. An example of a call to action would go like this: a customer searches for yoga and along with the normal results, a call to action for your yoga studio would pop up reading something like this: “Register for Yoga Classes Now and Get 15 % Off”, or “Schedule Time For Yourself at Lilly Yoga Studio”. Call to Actions put your business right in front of potential customers when they are in the decision making process. Yelp advertising packages are custom-made and depend upon a lot of different factors – a good guideline is anywhere between $300 and $3,000 dollars per month.


Yelp Deals work in a similar way to Groupon and other deal platforms. You start by offering a discount for your product or services (for example: $20 for a $40 voucher) and Yelp helps you market it. You don’t need to pay Yelp: your customers pay Yelp and Yelp gets a cut (30 percent for deals). Yelp pays you your proceeds on a monthly basis.

Gift Certificates

Yelp will help you sell your gift certificates at full price. You can choose an array of different price options to offer, and the buyer can send a friend or family member will then purchase the gift certificate from Yelp, who then sends that gift certificate to the recipient. In exchange for this service, Yelp collects a percentage fee of ten percent and pays businesses their share of the proceeds each month.

Free Yelp Advertising: What It Is, How It Works

Aside from paid Yelp advertising options, there are myriad free ways to put Yelp to work for your business. Claim your business on Yelp and roll out the red carpet to make your Yelp listing an inviting and comfortable place for your customers to gather (and hopefully, leave great reviews).

Directly Communicate with Customers

Yelp gives you the chance to directly respond to customer reviews, both privately and publicly. If a customer leaves a positive remark, it’s a good idea to build engagement and comment back, “Thanks!”. If, however, a customer leaves a negative review – you can comment back or send a private message.

Promote Your Yelp Listing

It’s a good idea to remind customers who love your shop that you’re on Yelp. Start an in-store “Call to Yelp” program: get some signage that says “Find Us on Yelp” or “Yelp About Us” to make your presence known. Another good tactic to invite more reviews is to add a link to your Yelp listing – directly from your store’s webpage.

Create a Sharp Yelp Listing

Yelp lets you add photos that showcase your business, employees and products. Add as many great photos as you can to really entice would-be shoppers to stop by. You can also add a link to your website and write a strong description of your business that puts your best (virtual) foot forward.

Simply put, Yelp is powerful – and it’s a powerful way to drive foot traffic to your store. Start learning to speak Yelp – and aim for fluency in this popular local platform.  Whether you invest time or money (or both) into powering up your Yelp presence, it is an investment that has the potential to pay off big time. Build your Yelp listing one review at a time – and watch the shoppers start to come in.

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