As protests occurred across the country in support of Black Lives Matter, Yelp witnessed a record increase in searches for black-owned businesses. In response to the surge, the brand is adding a new feature that allows businesses to identify themselves as black-owned, so it’s easier for users to find them. The feature will be opt-in, meaning any black-owned businesses who do not wish to identify themselves do not have to. Brands of all backgrounds have been doubling down on digital search capabilities to fit evolving consumer preferences, according to a Gartner report, so it makes sense that Yelp would amend its search tools to help users quickly find black-owned businesses amidst the Black Lives Matter movement.
Yelp’s new tool launches in two weeks, but in the meantime, the brand has compiled a “collection” of black-owned businesses that users can peruse on its site. The company is also offering “Black Owned Business” window decals, which were originally created for Black History Month this past February. Internally, Yelp has launched virtual discussions with employees to discuss racism, injustice, and what the brand can do to support black employees moving forward. Yelp is also providing additional mental health days amidst the ongoing protests. Last but certainly not least, the brand donated $500,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund while also matching employee donations to the charities up to $10,000. To further point employees in the right direction, it is double-matching donations to any black-led or black-serving organization, such as Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.
Yelp is updating its business to meet the changing needs of both users and employees. By creating a tool to highlight black-owned businesses, the brand could draw in loyal customers, both old and new.