Curbside, a startup powering same-day shopping experiences for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, including CVS, is today announcing a new partnership with Yelp that will allow consumers to shop in Yelp’s app, then pick up their items locally. For shoppers, the idea is that they’ll be able to browse area businesses’ products and promotions in Yelp, then drive to the store to pick up their order — without even having to get out of their car to retrieve it.
The startup already had a relationship with CVS, which invested in Curbside last year. At the time, CVS said it planned to roll out this new curbside pickup option to its 9,600 retail pharmacy locations, which would take advantage of Curbside’s technology to power this experience.
This partnership also allowed CVS to introduce an in-app feature, called “CVS Express,” on mobile, which was available at 350 retail locations across the U.S. as of August, 2016. That rollout has continued at a fairly rapid pace, and has now reached 4,000 retail stores.
The “CVS Express” experience allows customers to shop from nearly 10,000 SKUs in the CVS app. When their order is received and filled, an alert is sent to the customer’s phone, telling them the order is ready for pickup. Curbside’s geo-location technology then alerts store staff when the customer arrives, and they bring the order — already bagged — out to the car.
This same experience is now coming to Yelp.
Even if customers don’t have the CVS mobile app installed, they can shop from CVS via Yelp — an app that is, in many cases, more likely to have a presence on users’ smartphones. The CVS integration in Yelp has the same footprint as to what’s available through CVS’s own app and website, it’s just a different means of accessing the pickup feature.
But to be clear, this feature is something that Curbside is providing to its customers — not Yelp. Curbside today works with a number of stores beyond CVS, including through partnerships with Sephora, Westfield malls and others. But because it requires an inventory feed, Curbside works well for restaurants with fixed menus and larger retailers — not mom-and-pops — on the retail side.
In addition to CVS, this pickup option is also available for Curbside customer Pizza Hut, which is live now in the Bay Area on Yelp. The Pizza Hut integration is considered a trial.
Other stores and quick-serve restaurants will be added in the future, Curbside tells us. It’s working with a handful of restaurant chains — those that are regional or national — which will add pickups to Yelp in the months ahead.
For Curbside, going live on Yelp makes sense because it gives its customers the ability to reach customers on a larger platform, and reach customers who may not have the business’s app installed.
“The way things are going, consumers are spending time on properties like Yelp,” says Curbside CEO Jaron Waldman. “It’s more cost-effective and a better customer experience to be reaching them in the context of where they’re living, essentially,” he explains.
The timing of the Curbside partnership is interesting, too, given that Yelp just exited its food delivery business. Earlier this month, the company said it was selling Eat24 to GrubHub for $287.5 million, and reported solid earnings.
The original plan with Eat24 was that people searching for a restaurant on Yelp would then take the next step to just order their food, too. But Yelp’s core competency was not in food delivery — a space that now has a ton of competition, including from Uber and Amazon, in addition to others like Seamless/GrubHub.
With Curbside, however, the option to move customers forward to the point of shopping and ordering becomes a possibility again, but without Yelp having to get involved in the logistics of handling those orders. Plus, Curbside can offload orders to delivery partners, like Uber, if the customer desires.
“Yelp doesn’t need to be in the business of delivery and logistics. Instead, we can work with great partners who specialize in fulfillment. We plan to continue adding new partners and products in the future, including Platform partnerships such as Curbside,” says Peter Curzon, Director of Biz Dev at Yelp. He also pointed out that Yelp has a history of working with partners, including GrubHub.
Yelp also is participating in a revenue-sharing agreement with Curbside for the transactions occurring on its platform, but the companies declined to disclose the specifics of their deal.
Curbside’s integration on Yelp is live today.