YP Puts GrubHub Buy Button On Search Directory, Focusing On Local Commerce

The search directory YP announced an agreement with GrubHub Wednesday that will allow consumers to order food through the search directory on mobile and desktop. The focus on local commerce allows consumers to search for a business listing on YP and complete the order directly on the site from desktops or mobile devices.

Darren Clark, CTO at YP, said YP worked with GrubHub to integrate the function. Technology enables YP to fully embed the menu ordering system on the page, so it looks like part of the YP Web site. Consumers will need a GrubHub account, but the user never leaves the YP site.

YP also support Open Table, Fandango, and Hotels. "We have been playing with it for a while, but now we're dusting it off and really pushing what we call commerce on YP across a bunch of categories," Clark said. "We have been experimenting with commerce partners and we're getting close to figuring it out to offer it to other companies."

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The partner -- GrubHub, for example -- completes the commerce transaction. "We would love to get to conduct all transactions to make it more seamless for consumers, but it's not feasible today," Clark said, adding that the company gets a percentage of each transaction. It's easier to add a buy button in a directory service, compared with a search engine, he said, although it's technologically feasible.

Clark -- who was surprised that Google, Bing and Yahoo have not added the buy button to search queries -- said that long-term, they could become more of an aggregator when it comes to completing purchases similar to the way search engines aggregate information and serve it in search queries.

Conducting the transaction is important because while the consumer data belongs to the brand, the GrubHub restaurant, the aggregate data describing the topics ordered belongs to the engine processing the order, which in this case becomes YP. Personally identifiable consumer data remains with GrubHub, while the searches, click-throughs and information related to the topics ordered remains with YP, which uses the data to retarget consumer audience segments. Google, Bing and Yahoo would have the option to do the same if a buy button existed on the engines.

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