Table of Contents
By now, most digital-savvy businesses know that keeping their Google Business Profile updated and accurate is crucial for visibility and conversions.
After Apple rebranded and re-announced Apple Maps (previously Apple Places and Apple Maps Connect), its toolkit, which businesses can use to manage business listings, can easily rival its Android-driven counterpart.
The updated version of Apple Maps allows businesses to claim their respective location place cards before customising information viewed by billions of Apple users through Apple Maps, wallets, Siri, messaging, and other apps.
The introduction of the new free-to-use Business Connect feature is geared towards restaurants, bars, cafes, retail shops and other brick-and-mortar businesses looking for better digital representation through business place cards.
The new businessconect.apple.com web portal allows businesses to log in via their existing Apple ID or create a new one before searching through the database of locations and claiming theirs or creating a brand-new one.
Via the web portal, businesses can update their address, contact details, opening hours, search categories and subcategories. The pinpoint on the map can also be moved to reflect the exact location of their main entrance.
In a press release, a Senior Vice President for Services at Apple disclosed that the new free tool has been introduced to make it easier for Apple users to shop, eat, travel and more – regardless of where they are in the world.
New Features for Business Owners on Apple Maps
On the 11th of January, Apple Maps announced changes to the app, which has been helping Apple users to travel and find local brick-and-mortar businesses since 2012. The update was available in the US initially. However, it has now been rolled out to the UK. Car Dealers, Restaurants, Hotels and Retail stores can now directly manage their Apple listings.
The new update allows businesses to manage and customise their logos and cover photos to build brand awareness, provide a snapshot of their business descriptions, list their unique and attractive attributes and much more.
The innovation allowed businesses to directly and easily manage the information in the interactive Apple Maps place card. For example:
- Restaurants and cafes can invite customers to order food without leaving Apple Maps.
- Hotels can allow prospective guests to make reservations directly via Maps with Booking.com.
- Retail shops can facilitate collections via Instacart.
- Venues can help their visitors to reserve a car parking spot via SpotHero.
Furthermore, to help businesses stand out from the competition at a glance, the new changes to Apple Maps enable businesses such as Car Dealers to present people looking for goods and services with special promotions, incentives and offers. Place cards can also list helpful information, such as access to free parking or other amenities, such as free wi-fi.
Another way businesses can use the update to their advantage is the ability to display everything from seasonal menu items to time-limited product discounts. To add such incentives to Apple Maps place cards, businesses need to update the showcase section via Business Connect.
Previously, Apple Maps depended on Yelp or Yell in the UK to provide details on brick-and-mortar businesses. And while that partnership is still ongoing with Yelp, this new update, which puts the onus on business owners to provide the correct information, puts Apple in competition with Yelp, which will still populate place cards with user photos and reviews.
Insights & Statistics Updates
Apple also made it easier for businesses to review their impressions, clicks, search terms and keywords used before people tapped the business place card. Insights will even let business owners know where people were when they tapped the place card from their search results.
In a press release, Apple disclosed that they hope businesses that utilise Apple Maps will notice a rise in referrals and conversions, which will, in turn, mean that business owners find that maintaining and updating their place cards is a worthy investment of their time.
The Business Connect API has also improved to help businesses with more than one location to view location-specific up-to-date insights and information through Apple Maps while Integrations through OpenTable, Booking.com, and Instacart can also be viewed through the Apple Business Connect API.
Currently, there are no plans for Apple to charge businesses for any of these new features. Instead, the innovative upgrades through Business Connect are part of a transition for the company as it focuses on data and product services akin to those available on Google Business Profile. The change in focus is expected to build trust in Maps and Siri for users as they search for businesses of all sizes.
At Localise we feel the launch of Apple Business Connect will give Google Business Profile some real competition, particularly when we know Apple will be releasing more updates at time progresses.
Localise Founder Raphael Millin states “With millions of consumers already owning Apple devices, searching for local businesses has become a hell of a lot easier meaning there will be no need to switch to Google to find what you are looking for”