Yelp, the local business review site, is testing a deal program that allows users to purchase packages from local businesses at a discounted price for one day only.
The program is currently being tested in San Diego. Two deals have been offered so far: one at a spa and another at a yoga studio. The latter package, which was posted on Thursday, offered users five yoga classes at The Little Yoga Studio for $30 – a discount of $35. More than 220 people took advantage of the deal.
Chantelle Karl of Yelp’s New York press office told MainStreet that the program is a natural extension of Yelp’s core consumer offering, especially since so many people go to the site to make local purchasing decisions.
“A compelling deal can be valuable, even more so if it's from a business that’s delivering a great product or service,” Karl explains.
According to Karl, the company will also launch deals in New York and San Francisco shortly. Other cities will follow depending on how the program is received. Revenue from the coupons is divided between Yelp and the participating businesses.
The site plans on notifying consumers of these deals via e-mail. They currently only plan to offer one deal a week in each test market, which differs from the popular discount site Groupon, who offers a variety of coupons in local communities like Queens, N.Y., and Columbus, Ohio, daily. Unlike Groupon, which requires several people to participate in the offer in order to make it valid, Yelp’s deals are valid no matter how many people sign up.
Groupon declined to comment on Yelp’s new program, saying only that it has no opinion of the offerings.
According to Karl, more than 36 million people used Yelp last July to make a local purchasing decision. In addition to providing an outlet for consumers to post reviews of local establishments, Yelp also lets businesses list specials on their Yelp pages, which then can be teased on the site's homepage.
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