Offer Gift Certificates Through Yelp

yelp-logoOn September 12, 2012 Yelp announced a new product feature available to all businesses that participate on their site. Businesses can now sell gift certificates through their Yelp profile page.

Gift certificates are not discounted like Deals are. They’re full-value cash equivalents. Of course, Yelp takes a 10% cut of all gift certificates sold on the site but the certificates are full price (or whatever special price you want to offer). For example, if someone purchases a $70 gift certificate, s/he pays the full $70 (and you receive $63). A tip for making this type of promotion more successful is to offer gift certificates in different denominations, so people have a choice of how much they want to spend.

Yelp is a very visible site, with about 26 million monthly users. The gift certificate feature can attract new clients and encourage current clients to purchase certificates for family and friends. You might already be selling gift certificates on your website, yet prospective clients (and others just looking to buy a certificate) might not know about you. Yelp provides an additional venue for exposure. You can set up a free business profile at Yelp. The gift certificate feature is also free.

According to the Yelp site, they tested the gift certificate concept to see what sort of response it would generate relative to Yelp Deals. Here’s what they learned:

  • When giving gifts, some were reluctant to give a discounted product, like deals.
  • Some deals are priced too low to cover the cost of a full meal or service (example: a $20 for $40 deal doesn’t cover the cost of a 90 minute facial at your favorite day spa).
  • Deals are a great way to present a new customer with a reason to try your business.
  • Gift certificates are helpful for turning your existing customers into some of your best promoters.

Has anyone used this feature? I would love to hear your experiences.