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Need a plumber? Book your next home repair on Yelp

Need a plumber? Book your next home repair on Yelp

Yelp is burrowing deeper into the world of online commerce with a new platform that allows users to book home services.

Consumers will soon be able to schedule a visit from the plumber, book movers or hire an electrician directly from the company’s Yelp page. Yelp has partnered with ReachLocal, a Southern California-based online marketing company, to create the new online booking system, which should be available before the end of the year.

The partnership, announced Tuesday, is Yelp’s latest effort to connect with local customers and win the favor of small business owners. Last month, the San Francisco company announced it acquired mobile reservations service SeatMe, a move designed to strengthen ties with the local restaurant scene and compete with FourSquare and Square, both favorites among local businesses.

In an interview Monday, ReachLocal co-founder and CEO Zorik Gordon said the new service will help mom-and-pop shops that have traditionally done most of their business offline tap into the online consumer market. ReachLocal estimates home services is a $400 billion dollar market, but the industry is one of the slowest to adapt to new technology, with many businesses offering customers little more than a phone number and an answering machine to book an appointment.

Often, the only online presence these small businesses have is their Yelp page, but until now, Yelp pages have been only a message board for customer reviews. Yelp had an average of 108 million unique monthly visitors in the second quarter of this year.

“This is closing the loop where the whole transaction is online,” Gordon said. “Consumers can just book and never interact with the business. The phone is going away.”

Yelp will handle the new web page redesign, which will soon include a booking widget. ReachCommerce, the online booking and scheduling technology that ReachLocal launched earlier this year, will handle all the coordination with merchants. Gordon said any merchant that uses ReachCommerce technology and also has a Yelp page will offer the new booking service.

ReachLocal company also recently launched ClubLocal, a free Web service and mobile application for home repairs, in Dallas and the Bay Area.

Heather Somerville Heather Somerville (68 Posts)

Heather Somerville reports on consumer affairs, retail and technology for the Bay Area News Group. She lives in San Francisco, where she enjoys rock climbing, yoga and biking across the Golden Gate Bridge.

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