Love Shopping at Boutiques? Do It on Yelp!

By Yi Yang, Epoch Times
May 28, 2015 Updated: May 28, 2015    

I live in New York City, where just about every fashion brand has a flagship store. Still, it’s hard to find a unique item that’s not already owned by a colleague or a friend. Thankfully, there are local boutiques that provide a unique selection of clothes, many from smaller labels based in other states, or local brands that are still obscure. Here is where the real gold is.

From time to time, I still rely on Yelp to find new boutiques in different neighborhoods. The reviews help me determine if it’s the right store for me. After all, the best advice comes from fellow shoppers. I rely on it even more when I’m out of town and in an unfamiliar area. That’s why I was initially thrilled when I heard that Yelp partnered with Shoptiques.com to make boutique shopping available digitally.

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As of May 28, Yelp users can use the platform to shop from select boutiques in the United States. This is done through a partnership between Yelp and Shoptiques.com, an e-commerce site that provides inventory from 1,500 boutiques located in the 1,000 cities across the United States, as well as Paris and London. Currently only 200 of these boutiques are live on Yelp, but more are expected to join in the coming months.

When shoppers search for a participating boutique on Yelp, in addition to the standard photos and reviews, they will see a “Shop Now Button.” From there users can browse the boutique’s inventory and add items to their shopping carts. They can also choose between shipping or in-store pick up.

Shoptiques.com is Yelp’s first partner in the shopping vertical, which is Yelp’s largest category of reviewed businesses at 23 percent, according to a press release.

That fantastic dress that you brought back all the way from Texas might not be so unique anymore now.

Yelp is branching out rapidly to become a one-stop shop for users. Currently, users can already order food and groceries, and book hotels, spa sessions, and winery tours on the platform. Just last week Yelp added five new categories of businesses that offer points of purchase online, including 5,000 local activity vendors that provide anything from photo safaris to parachuting. Users can also book golf sessions, send flowers, book a table at a club, and order bottle service.

This is all done through a series of partnerships. As of October last year, approximately 28,000 businesses in all major U.S. markets are available for booking on Yelp.

It remains to be seen how successful this newest partnership will be. I know I will be experimenting with it. When I just don’t have the time to go across town to a certain boutique, this feature will prove to be useful in securing an item that may sell out. It’s also nice to know that I can access boutiques across the country that I previously would only be able to by plane.

On the flip side, shoppers who are already using Shoptique.com may find little reason to switch their purchases over to Yelp. In addition, that fantastic dress that you brought back all the way from Texas might not be so unique anymore now that it’s a click away for the 100 million Yelp users in the United States.