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November 23, 2010

I'm a Business Owner: What's a Yelp Check-in Offer?

This week, we want to draw business owners' attention to the hottest new feature of Yelp's totally revamped business owner dashboard: Check-in Offers.

Background: What’s a “Check-in”?

With smartphone usage among consumers growing like crazy, Yelp has developed software (or “apps”) customized for these devices (think: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.). The devices are “location aware,” meaning they offer a way for consumers to perform searches for local business within the vicinity of the phone’s exact location. When users are able to interact with Yelp using such exact coordinates, cool stuff starts to happen.

One of those cool things is a “check in”. Check-ins provide an entirely new way for your customers to exclaim their love for your business: by literally walking through your door and telling their friends they’ve arrived at your place of business. And because Yelp’s Android and iPhone apps synchronize with Twitter and Facebook, your business’s buzz can travel far and wide. Your customers have been using Yelp to “check in” to your place of business ever since we launched the feature nearly a year ago; in fact, our  weekly business owner email provides metrics for how many people check into your business every week.

Announcing: Check-in Offers

Checking in has become popular with consumers -- but how can you, the business owner, leverage this exciting trend to affect your bottom line?

Create a Check-in Offer button

Today, we’re excited to announce Check-in Offers. This new feature within the business owner dashboard allows you to reward customers with a coupon when they “check-in” to your business. It provides a measurable way to reward your most loyal customers while attracting new ones.

Check-in Offers is available in the countries we offer our free suite of tools, Yelp for Business Owners, which is the US, Canada, UK and Ireland and while the vast majority of businesses on Yelp can take advantage of Check-in Offers, we have restricted a few categories from participating. These are the types of businesses you’d expect -- plumbers, limousine drivers, locksmiths, etc -- where a service is provided on the go, rather than at one physical location.

What happens when a consumer unlocks your offer? If a consumer chooses the "Use it Now!" option for his Check-in Offer on that visit, it will disappear automatically from his device in a few hours time. The user or the business owner can also tap a button on the phone to mark the offer as used, expiring the timer immediately.

If a consumer chooses to "Save it!", that Check-in Offer will be saved several places on their device: the “About Me” page; at the top of the business page where they earned that offer and on the Check-ins tab on the Yelp app. The user can then redeem the offer anytime, following the same process above.  

To learn more about how to set up a check-in offer, watch this video and download our Check in Offer How to Guide: