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Yelp Platform Turns Boutiques into Online Shoptiques

The Yelp business model connects customers to businesses with a rich feature set and a loaded phone app. But love from its users hasn’t translated into similar affection from Wall Street. Consecutive quarters of disappointing financials have business types wondering how Yelp will make them yelp with profitable glee.

Finding another stream of revenue rates highly in importance for the company. Back in May, Yelp disclosed its Shoptiques strategy. “Shop cool local boutiques directly on Yelp,” the company said of its partnership with Shoptiques.com.

A couple of requirements exist for boutiques wishing to join Shoptiques. They must operate a physical retail location, and they can’t be a boutique that only deals in vintage and/or consignment merchandise.

Select Shoptiques destinations can be shopped from Yelp’s platform, enabling visitors to not only find desirable local destinations, but to browse, buy, and have products from those stores delivered directly to the customer. Naturally Yelp users can see the reviews other shoppers left for those boutiques as they decide what to buy.

Shoptiques is a heavily curated environment. If accepted by Shoptiques, boutiques become part of the Shoptiques setting in one of two ways. They can connect an existing ecommerce site to a page on Shoptiques.com. Or, a boutique can create a presence through the available website builder. This template-driven approach allows the businessperson to create a site that will look pleasing on desktop and mobile browsers. It also offers SEO tools to help garner good search engine rankings.

As to pricing, a Shoptiques spokesperson told EcommerceBytes, “We don’t disclose that since it varies boutique to boutique. Part of our service is helping boutiques build a website if they don’t have one (or they want to overhaul the one they do have), meaning there is no extra fee for our doing web hosting for them.”

The site’s website builder signup page does list a monthly cost of $20 per month, which is waived for the first 365 days.

Shoptiques touts a roster of 1,500 boutiques in 1,000 cities and 3 countries. They also promote a curated experience of handpicked shops with unique items unlikely to be found elsewhere. Shoptiques provides a customer-friendly return policy of free returns of unworn items within 14 days of purchase for a full refund.

Shoptiques represents one part of an effort by Yelp to find profitability and revenue to satiate impatient investors. The Yelp Platform mostly served for the past couple of years as a way to pay for restaurant orders in New York and San Francisco. But Yelp likely needs to address ongoing criticism of their review model as a priority, before competing services dine on the company.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.