Yext announced today that its Answers product will now be more accessible by local businesses. The company will accomplish this by extending Answers to select companies in its Channel Partner Program. This is the program that formalizes Yext’s relationship with partners that resell its software.
It’s through these channel partners that Yext reaches the SMB long tail. They include digital agencies and local media companies with decentralized access — in some cases feet on the street — to SMBs. Yext’s software is available as a value-added component of their media and marketing bundles.
Individual resellers will presumably decide on a case by case basis whether or not to add Yext Answers to their bundle, based on strategic factors such as the product’s ability to sweeten the deal and boost SMB retention. Answers has already proven itself among larger brands like Campbells and Verizon.
Examples of Yext channel partners that are primed to integrate Answers include SMB-focused eCommerce and payments platform GoSite. FCR Media has likewise signed on to integrate Answers. The pan-European digital media agency will bring Yext Answers to SMBs across the pond.
Yext Answers, for those unfamiliar, is the company’s site search offering. Sort of like Google Custom Search, but different, this is a search engine that companies can plant on their websites to assist site visitors in finding what they’re looking for. It includes the ability to modify the search index and UX.
For example, site owners can customize Yext Answers to display custom calls-to-action (CTAs) in search results. A restaurant may strike while user demand is hot and offer one-click access to their reservation or delivery systems. A retailer can do similar with eCommerce or curbside pickup CTAs.
As its branding suggests, Yext Answers’ claim to fame is natural language search, otherwise known as natural language processing (NLP). That’s a fancy way of saying that it’s designed to answer direct questions with direct answers, deviating from the page/link paradigm that rules the search world.
This is a broader movement in search that Google has been moving towards in recent years, given the knowledge panel and featured snippets. NLP is also gaining ground due to its use in voice search, where queries are more-often phrased in a natural-language manner, such as full-sentence questions.
Through these moves, Google has mainstreamed the natural-language concept and gotten consumers acclimated to it. That seeds demand that Yext Answers can benefit from. Aside from Google fertilizing the soil, NLP’s value proposition aligns with the simplicity required by SMBs and their customers.
“For more than a year, Yext Answers has been helping enterprises and public sector organizations globally increase conversions, reduce support costs, and unlock new sources of customer intelligence, Yext EVP, Global Partner, Luis Baptista-Coelho told Localogy. “Extending our revolutionary search product to our Channel Partners places those benefits within reach of SMBs, allowing them to stay competitive not only in our communities but as competitive as bigger brands.”
We’ll watch closely to see if that’s the case. Meanwhile, Yext Answers is available to select companies in Yext’s Channel Partner program and will integrate accordingly in the coming months. Localogy will also go deeper in a video interview with Yext CEO Howard Lerman next week. Tune in…