Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:
[Listings News] Yelp Adds Video Feature to Reviews
News Source: Business Insider
Last week, Yelp announced that it will be adding a new video upload feature to its app. Reviewers will be able to include a 3-12 second video clip and caption along with their review, similar to its current photo upload feature.
The idea is to help convey the atmosphere of a restaurant, store, salon, or other small business to readers—something that can’t be done effectively with photos alone. Yelp’s mobile product manager Madhu Prabakar says, "[The feature] will be a reward for businesses that go to great lengths to achieve a certain ambiance, whether by having a certain lighting or the music at just the right level.”
Elite Reviewers will be able to start uploading videos in early June, with the feature rolling out to the rest of users sometime this summer.
Key Takeaway: Yelp’s video feature will provide patrons with a way to highlight local businesses in a more dynamic way to other app users. Make sure your business is camera-ready by cultivating the kind of ambiance you want your customers and mobile consumers to experience.
[Tech News] Google to Offer Discounted Wi-Fi for Small Biz
News Source: Venture Beat
This week, a leaked report on Information.com indicated that Google is planning to continue its investment in the small business sector by providing discounted Wi-Fi hardware and software for SMBs. The release timing of these new offerings is still unknown, but rumored to be as early as this summer.
It appears that, by providing better networking options for small and medium businesses, Google hopes to promote the adoption of some of its other web-based services such as Docs, Apps, and cloud storage.
Key Takeaway: If you’ve struggled to find reliable, affordable Wi-Fi hardware or software for your business, Google’s new offering might solve your problem. However, you’ll likely be sold on the idea of trying a few of Google’s other products as well during the process.
[Payments News] Square Launches Cash-Advance Program for Small Businesses
News Source: Mashable
Mobile payments company Square announced this week that it will be branching out into the lending space with Square Capital. This new cash-advance program provides Square users with a loan that is paid back incrementally as a percentage of future sales (on top of the base transaction fee associated with each charge).
Unlike other business loans, Square Capital has no set time period for repayment, allowing businesses to pay back more when sales are strong and less when sales are down.
The program has been piloted by companies since last year; an exit survey showed that 85% of participants would recommend the program to other businesses.
Key Takeaway: Square has been expanding its offerings over the past year to provide a broader suite of services that will help small businesses succeed and grow. Square Capital is a natural outgrowth of this evolution. Whether this lending model works or not remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting approach that removes much of the pressure of traditional loan repayment from small businesses’ shoulders.
Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know!