In an ideal scenario for brick-and-mortar businesses, when a customer is done browsing your website and decides she wants to buy something, she would just visit your store and you could make a sale then and there. A new partnership between Uber and Yext wants to help make that scenario more of a reality.
You may not be familiar with Yext, a 10-year-old New York-based advertising and marketing firm that helps companies use location data to better engage with customers, but if you've used platforms such as Google Maps, Apple Maps and Yelp to figure out where to grab dinner or get your car fixed, or used a Snapchat geofilter, it's likely you've run into its work.
With this new partnership, Yext for Uber, if a company is a Yext customer, it can include a rideshare button on its website, in an app or in promotional emails. When a user hails a ride using that button to get to the location of the store, he or she will then gain access to special offers from the business directly through the Uber app.
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"It allows for a branded experience on the way to the store," says Marc Ferrentino, Yext's EVP of product and strategy. "Imagine sending an invite to an exclusive event to some of your top customers and being able to have a ride with Uber button in that announcement … and then the entire experience that they have driving in the Uber to that location is now branded."
Ferrentino said that the branded experiences can be tailored to many kinds of businesses. For example, restaurants could provide a list of daily specials, retailers could show what is on sale that day and hotels could include a link to a concierge service so you could book a spa treatment before you arrive. Some of the companies that are already utilizing the partnership are Cole Haan, home health care service BAYADA and Guitar Center.
"It's all about extending the brand experience past the door and starting it with the journey to the store itself," Ferrentino says. "The experience of the brand doesn’t start when you get there -- it starts really when you click on that button."
He explained that even if the business in question is a chain of stores, whether it's two or 200, each individual location can have its own branded experience thanks to information that Yext already has at its disposal.
Ferrentino says he believes that location-oriented services will only continue to grow, moving beyond something such as Google Maps and into ride sharing, messaging apps such as Snapchat or even the sheer phenomenon that is Pokémon Go. "You're [going to be] seeing more and more of these non-directory type services that need location," he says, "where location is really the center of the value that it delivers."