- Posted by Kateryna Bozhenko
- On May 19, 2017
- 0 Comments
- company, development, local, Octodev, Yelp
What’s in a Yelp?
The Yelp app allows its 142 million unique users the ability to search for local businesses and services and see reviews about them. It’s an app that lets users submit information about various shops around the area, such as the name, an address, picture and a rating, and on the other page, users can see the see the shops submitted on a map, to better visualize what stores are closer in terms of location. Like many of the on demand apps before it, what makes Yelp successful is the ability to streamline production lines, making consumers directly with demand.
It might seem like a basic business model, but in actuality, it’s been shown that the Yelp rating review increases sales up to 5-9%, which equates to roughly $8,000 dollars annually. Yelp’s simple yet effective model has transformed the concept of service selection. Here, we’ll outline some of the critical components and functionality requirements you’ll need to build your “Yelp for X”.
Critical Yelp Components
Determining Your Market Audience
This is the first step in developing your ‘Yelp for X’ type app. On the service provider side, to structure the app you’re going to need 2 pages, one for the submission of shops, and another to display them on a map.
You’ll have to think and clarify these two important questions “what types of services is my app going to select for the determination of places nearby” and “what geographical and demographic needs are vital to take into account for developing the features and functions of my app in this specific region/country”.
But take into account that the main users of your app can be local dwellers, travelers, businessmen, or tourists. Further take into account that 78% of users are interested more in Restaurant/Food category, so you can target your app to this sector or make it more niche.
Building an App like Yelp
1. User Profile: This can include integration with other social media accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter. It’s a basic feature of most social media apps and helps to streamline user experiences of your apps so don’t miss out.
The time it will take to develop your Yelp for X app depends on your developing experience. On a user’s profile, they’ll be able to see all of their reviews and photos, and further browse all past places that they’ve visit, and add places to your ‘favorites’ list.
Consider adding a ranked feature, for those users who have been to the most locations and provided the most reviews. The more immersive, safe, secure, and personal the user profiles are, the more your users will trust your app and recommend it to their friends, growing your client user base.
2. Reviews and Ratings: This might seem like a common feature, but the ability to see past user experiences and read about them via the reviews and rating option is critical. This is what draws in potential clients, so make reviews and ratings one of your main features, as Yelp has.
72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and a further 90% say that positive reviews impact their company buying choices. To implement this feature, you’re going to have a server which will store all necessary information (which can be done through unique Google/Apple identifiers to further track comments).
When we take into account that up to 82% of Yelp users come to the app or website with the intentions of making a purchase, it makes sense to capitalize on this opportunity. The window only extends for a week, as 89% of those users who do have the intention of making a purchase do so within a week.
Thus, we can learn from how Yelp user’s reviews have a huge impact on your app’s success. For developing your rating algorithm, think about the fact that it will need to be able to analyze the large critical mass of users activity and the content they generate. For this purpose a dedicated server would be required.
3. Push Notifications: You’re going to want your app to be able to provide your users with relevant information to the types of businesses around them, and to do this you’re going to need crucial information about people’s preferences and lifestyle. Yelp currently only offers information about ratings and reviews, so this is a window of opportunity with your Yelp like app to make it newer, and more user-oriented than Yelp.
4. Activity stream: This is another central component of social media apps and websites. This feature makes a chronological list of all of the previous activities and notifications, which are displayed in your app. It gives users a sense of what’s going on and how other people are using the app, and can direct them to try out new businesses and services, so this feature opens up a wealth of opportunity.
5. Geolocation-based search: This is the bedrock of every on demand app’s success, and is a key feature of such an app. Save your clients from the trouble of having to point out their city of their residence, as your apps geolocation service will do it for them.
It’s key to be able to sort businesses by distance, so users of your app have a sense of where shops are in relation to their location. Geolocation is, of course, an optional feature for users to give your app access to their geolocation, and if users cut off your app’s permission, your app won’t be able to perform to its optimal level.
You can further think about adding search categories to quickly be able to find any and all establishments you need on the map, whether it’s a 3 star Michelin restaurant or a local gas station. Furthermore, you can read reviews and see the rating of every pizzeria, hotel, shop and any other place to choose the best one.
Your Yelp app detects and displays a list of all interesting establishments nearby, and this list will be long, including hairdressing salons, shops, markets, cafes. The application of a filter will optimize user experience as they can choose their priority (i.e. the ability to sort places by distance, price, or rating).
To further optimize user experience of your Yelp for X app, make sure that when users pick a location, they can check the businesses detailed information (i.e. the correct business address, phone number, working hours). You want your app to provide all this information and to further be able to calculate the route to their destination point.
Paid/Sponsored Search: This is one of the simplest and most effective ways of making revenue, and it simply means that you get the local business owners to pay you for hosting their advertisements to your app. You can further monetize this by adding a paid service for users to have an ad removal feature to remove adds from their profile.
Advertisements: This is the easiest and quickest way to make revenue from your Yelp app. Forbes estimates conclude that the advertising of local businesses accounts for around 73% of Yelp’s company evaluation value, and this increased $31 billion to $35 billion between 2014 and 2015.
Offers and Deals: Much like Groupon, consider implementing an inbuilt offer system. It will greatly incentivize users to use your app if they can find discounts and deals for services (reduced gas prices for going to local gas stations, reduced or free meals for restaurants if they leave a review) that are available exclusively on your app.
Both users and service providers gain in this way, and you as the app developer gain money for every deal. That is one of the main ways how Yelp makes money, so it’s a lesson you should take into account as an app developer.
Shop Online: This will drive up your start up cost, but the apparel store feature that allows customers to shop online brings in around 5% of Yelp’s annual revenue, so it’s an option to consider.
Optional: Adding Gamification features and other additional Tools
It’s been found that adding an edge of competitive spirit increases engagement, in life and with your app, so consider adding a gamification features.
Foursquare is a better example of this than Yelp, as they implement stickers, badges, virtual currency, nominations, which you can then turn into an additional form of income if you decide to host in-app purchases. And if we look closely at Yelp, we can see the innovative tool SeatMe added to it, which makes it possible for various restaurants and cafes to remotely manage table reservations.
Charging restaurants for these tools adds an additional revenue pathway. Adding a registration function to make table reservations in restaurants and apps from within your app (charging both the user and the restaurant for this feature) is a potentially innovative option.
Further, having the ability to upload pictures and videos, and broadcast these videos through social media (e.g. Facebook Live, Snapchat, Instagram Stories) will mean that uses can share their lived experiences.
Having a filter feature, in which users can upload and edit pictures with special features exclusive to your app can also captivate your users and keep them loyal to it.
In-app purchases are also a good way to gain additionally revenue as well as improve user friendliness. It’s trendy and useful, as the ability to search and book hotels in foreign cities also from directly within the app further incentives users to like the app.
How long does it take?
Depending upon the experience of your developers, it could take anywhere from 12 to 24 months, and you’ll need between 3 to 5 different experts to set up a database, back-end, front-end, design, etc.
It can be difficult to estimate the start up costs of developing a price of an app like Yelp, so we recommend developing a MVP (Minimum viable product). This will help you test your idea and save money by not spending money on a vast of resources. Foursquare API has a great venue database and is mostly free.
The average market price per hour for app development is $50, but this price is dependent on the development country/region (where your developers are located, e.g. in Ukraine it would be around $35/hr), your platform (iOS versus Android), design interface, which can take anywhere between 80-200 and can vary from $4,000 to $10,000.
Creating a user friendly app, UX design (i.e. one that’s easy to use so your clients, who are generally travelers of some sort, can orient themselves quickly and painlessly), can take up anywhere between 40-140 hours and cost around $2,000 to $7,000.
Here are estimates for the development time and cost of a “Yelp for X type” app.
- Social sign in: 30-40 hours, $1100+
- Push Notifications: 80-100 hours, costs $2800+
- Geolocation: roughly 70-100 hours up to $2500+
- Uploading pictures and videos: 80-160 hours, $3000+
- Reviews and Rating: 80-160 hours, $2800+
- Filter Integration: 300+ hours, $15,000+
- Filter by category: 40-60 hours, $1400+
- Reservation: 200-250, $7000+
- User profile: 300 – 340 hours, $10,500+
- In app purchases: 120 – 160 hours, $4000+
So, you’re looking at a minimum price of $90,000 and a maximum price of roughly $170,000. This might seem like a bit high price, but the quality of your IT developers and design team dictates the future of your app, so invest your funds in a good team to best ensure the development and success of a unique app.
Apps like Uber and Yelp may dominate the market, but there’s always room for niche new apps that can go further. We proudly collaborate with real people to do real work for both web and app development. Our team believes any idea is worth trying, and we believe we can help you gain a better understanding of your project, help you set milestones, and move step by step forward into the future. We will discuss all the specifications of your Yelp for X mobile app with you in great detail, to build you a highly functional app and include you in the process from start to finish.
It may seem like a challenge but developing an app for a smaller, underserved market has the potential for you to scale businesses and receive amazing results. And we want to help. Inquire more with us so we can help you to build your grocery delivery application! So get in touch with us today, and we can lay the foundation of your business and development needs. Contact us today for a free consultation or estimate for your Yelp like app, and we will help you as best we can to pave the way for your company and app’s success.