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TECHNOLOGY

Yelp shouts out to personal consumer preferences

BY Dan Berthiaume

Yelp Inc. is providing consumers with a uniquely tailored user experience.

The local business discovery app is launching new personalization functionality that tailors the app to individual consumer preferences and lifestyle. When two users open up the Yelp app from the same location, they will see a completely different homescreen and search results based on their personal preferences.

As part of the new update, users can indicate their personal dietary and accessibility preferences, lifestyle attributes (such as being a parent or homeowner), and things they like to do. Yelp processes the information in real-time and transforms the user’s homescreen and search results into a personalized experience represented by Yelp’s newly created heart symbol.

The tailored experience includes search result rankings, shortcuts to filters, and personalized highlights that tell the user why they might like a retailer, restaurant or other business based on their preferences.

Yelp is leveraging its user-generated reviews, photos and attributes to identify and surface business information that is aligned with consumer needs, in addition to search history data. The preferences a consumer shares with Yelp will only be visible to them, and the information will only be used to personalize their experience on Yelp.

Specific personal preferences consumers can include in the new customized Yelp experience are dietary (such a gluten-free or vegan), food and drink (such as Chinese, pizza, or brunch), interests (such as live music and farmers markets), lifestyle (such as parent or pet owner), and accessibility (such as wheelchair or gender-neutral).

While Android users can currently access the new search functionalities, iOS users will have access this fall, and the full personalized experience will be available next year. In the next year, Yelp says it will unveil a new design of its app and website that better integrates all of its products, including Yelp Reservations, Waitlist and Request a Quote.

“As Yelp turns 15 this year, we’re embarking on one of our most significant product updates with the introduction of a new personalized experience,” said Vivek Patel, Yelp’s chief product officer. “Yelp has always been a helpful discovery platform that surfaces great local businesses based on your search. By making it more personalized, we’re saving people time and giving them an easy way to find the right business for them. Now, Yelp will help you discover businesses and activities based on who you are and what you like to do.”

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