Kiwi consumers are set to benefit from the arrival of a rapidly growing online review site which will help shoppers identify the most popular New Zealand businesses.
Yelp Inc., a local business guide and review site with social networking services, launched in the USA in 2004 and is now in 21 countries, uses 12 languages and had more than 100 million monthly unique visitors in January of this year.
Kiwi consumers can now take advantage of the new online service where they can review and share their experiences in their communities and search for anything from a place to eat to the closest medical centre or children’s toy shop.
Vice President of New Markets Miriam Warren says the company employs local residents in new countries as community managers to support Yelp’s growth and help consumers have a voice. These "scouts" have been working in country for weeks now, preparing trusted reviews for the launch date.
A Yelp employee is being hired for Auckland and will be the community manager in the area. Marketing focus on grassroots campaigns and the community manager helping a local group of most active and prolific users on the site.
Warren says culturally-rich New Zealand is home to a colourful range of experiences and she is excited to watch as Kiwis make Yelp their very own local guide.
“We're looking forward to reading the chorus of opinions about where to find the best fish and chips, watch the rugby live on-screen at local bars, and try the nation’s globally celebrated wines. We’re excited to bring Yelp to New Zealand to connect consumers with great local businesses,” she says.
Continuing on San Francisco-based Yelp's international growth strategy, the launch completes the company's inclusion of Australasia, following its introduction in Australia in 2011. NZ is the 21st country to have access to Yelp, and joins the UK and many European countries, she says.
Since the company’s launch in 2004, it has seen 36 million reviews posted to its site, says Warren.
Yelp’s mobile application was used on 9.2 million unique mobile devices on a monthly average basis during the fourth quarter of 2012. During the same time period, a consumer generated directions to or called a local business from a Yelp mobile app every second, while approximately 45% of all searches on Yelp were done via the company’s mobile app.
Users are able to tap into Yelp on their mobile phone to search for the best local cafe or shopping mall, and they will be shown the most highly ranked examples in their nearest location, along with consumer reviews, tips, photos, directions and other business info.
Yelp's free mobile apps are now available, as well as its free suite of business owner tools, Yelp for Business Owners (http://biz.yelp.co.nz).