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Get Holiday Ready Online

The holidays are here, and Americans are looking to get gifts for their loved ones at local businesses. A recent Yelp-commissioned survey conducted online among over 2,000 U.S. adults found that nearly 150 million Americans are likely to shop at local independent businesses this holiday season*, and together, all of these holiday shoppers** plan to spend nearly $40 billion at local independent businesses*** this holiday season.

In fact, by the end of Small Business Saturday (November 25th) more than half of Americans (55%) will have started their holiday shopping!

Additionally, if you’re a service based business, or in the health and medical field, this time will be busy for you too! When friends and families get together they want their homes clean, functional, and, if you’re in a cold weather state, warm! Nails need to be done, hair needs to look fabulous, and people need to get in for check ups before their insurance deductibles reset at the start of the new year.

In the mobile world we live in today these consumers, customers and patients are discovering, planning and keeping track of their to-dos in the palm of their hand, and you should be too! Here are a few tips to ensure that your business is holiday ready in the place people are finding you - online.

Step One: Get Your Holiday Hours Updated and Accurate

On Yelp specifically, consumers are searching by things like ‘open now’ and if your business hours are not updated to reflect your holiday hours, you could be losing out on opportunities to be their next stop. When you log into your Business User Account at biz.yelp.com you’ll notice a tab on the left-hand side labeled “Business Information”. In this section you’ll see all of your general business information - address, phone number, hours. Just below hours is a section you may have not seen in the past labeled Special Hours. This allows you to select calendar dates in the future and input hours will vary from your ‘standard’ hours, in advance. Now you don’t need to constantly log into your account and make updates.

Step Two: Get Photos of Your Holiday Goods and Services Online

If you have a hot item this season that you’re offering or a special on services, what better way to let people know than through visuals? We live in a visual world where consumers swipe through photos more often than they read text, so meet them where their interests are!

On Yelp, you’re able to upload unlimited photos through your Business User Account. Make sure to caption them and let people know what they’re looking at. This also helps you get found more often in search. If a customer is looking for a ‘gel manicure’ or ‘gifts for dad’ and you have photos of your offerings with captions including those keywords it will help you appear higher on the natural search results.

Step Three: Run an Offer, Provide a Gift Certificate Option, Give a Deal

For many, the holidays are about shopping for a deal. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday; these are all opportunities for consumers to get a jump start on their holiday shopping and planning but it’s not the only spending people do before their gift exchanges, holidays parties and family gatherings.

In the spirit of saving, you have an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition with a deal, gift certificate or offer. On Yelp specifically you can host a ‘Check-In Offer’ letting those customers who are physically in your business check-in and receive something special of your choosing. It could be a % off, a fun item, or a deal (i.e. free appetizer with an entree). Check-in Offers are great because the consumer is prompted to share the check-in at your business with their social networks (free marketing for you!).

If you don’t have a brick and mortar business you can set up a Yelp Deal instead of a Check-In Offer. Yelp Deals are a dollar for dollar value set by you through your Business User Account. Yelp Deals and Check-In Offers can both be turned on and off anytime through your Business User Account at biz.yelp.com. Give it a try for the holiday season and see what sort of engagement you can get from your customer base!

The holidays provide a unique opportunity to attract new customers but people who are looking to spend money on gifts, themselves or getting things up to snuff around the house need to know you’re an available business for the task! Make sure to proactively promote your holiday offerings where people are looking to discover new businesses. With just a few minutes of your time, and the use of free tools on sites like Yelp, you can get holiday ready in no time.

For questions or support on getting your business listing completed and holiday-ready, feel free to reach out to bizoutreach@yelp.com.

*Based on 234.6 million American adults (according to US 2010 Census) multiplied by 63% of Americans likely to shop local this holiday season = 147,798,000 Americans

**Holiday shoppers refers to those who will shop for gifts this holiday season and are likely to shop local

***Based on 234.6 million American adults (according to US 2010 Census) multiplied by 63% of Americans likely to shop local this holiday season multiplied by average spend of $267.20 = $39,491,625,600

Survey Methodology: The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Yelp from September 26-28, 2017 among 2,261 U.S. adults ages 18 and older among whom 1,941 will shop for gifts this holiday season. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact press@yelp.com.

Emily Washcovick

Contributed By: Emily Washcovick

Emily Washcovick is a Manager of Local Business Outreach at Yelp. She hosts informational sessions with local business owners across North America to educate them on best practices for navigating the world of online reviews. She also hosts a series of webinars on subjects relevant to business owners and regularly contributes content to Yelp's "Blog for Business Owners."


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