How Facebook Inc (FB) is Trying to Extinguish Yelp in Small Business Market

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) recently updated the pages for small businesses. That may seem as a simple design tweak to enable small businesses engage better on Facebook platform. True, that is something that Facebook is after, but there is more to the move. The company is apparently sending a bold signal to Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) and other involved in small business service that it is coming for their dollars.

The tweak to Facebook’s pages for small businesses adds new features that are aimed at enabling businesses to take greater advantage of the exposure that Facebook provides. Besides seeking to help small businesses directly, Facebook hopes that updated business pages will also enable consumers to get glean more useful vendor information from the platform.

New profile sections

Among the features that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has added to the pages for business are two profile sections namely Shop and Services. In this case, a business like a restaurant can promote its name as well as menu by using the new features.

When a user taps or clicks on a product under the Shop section, they can trigger multiple actions. They can either be directed to the website of the vendor or be taken over to Facebook Messenger where they can ask questions and gest answers about the item in a chat. Alternatively, clicking on a product can also surface the option to purchase the item right away without leaving Facebook.

Facebook’s hidden agenda

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is not currently revealing what exactly it intends to achieve with the update to the business pages beyond fostering business-consumer engagement. Nevertheless, the company appears to have serious monetization agenda targeting the small business market, and that is where Yelp and others will be disappointed.

There are currently over 45 million active small businesses on Facebook, up from 40 million back in May. As can be seen from the numbers, Facebook is steadily winning over small business, and there is a strong chance they will stick and lead to more defection from review sites like Yelp. At the end of the day, Facebook can monetize its thriving small business community by serving ads or taking a cut from in-app purchases.

Creating a platform that connects vendors to consumers is what Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is driving to. It may not happen overnight that Facebook is cutting Yelp from small businesses market, but the gradual and unmistakable commerce implementations that the company is making give a hint about its small business agenda.