Apple said on Wednesday that its brand-new Business Connect tool will soon begin showing more comprehensive and accurate business listings. It is a function that, like GBP, enables businesses to claim and update their listings across all of Apple’s services. By enabling business owners to update and manage their information on the platform from a single dashboard this new tool will help Apple Maps, an aged service, better compete with Google.
Apple Business Connect now gives companies the ability to manage their place card (business profiles) by adding and updating photos and logos and adjusting business location pins, and hours. It also invites customers to take actions like ordering food or making a reservation directly from Maps and presenting customers with exclusive promotions and offers.
Apple has launched a feature called “Showcase” that enables businesses to offer customers exclusive deals, seasonal menus, discounts, and other incentives. Only the US has access to this function for now; other countries will acquire it in the upcoming months.
The new capabilities including scheduling, ordering and “Showcase” are aimed at making business profiles more engaging and transactional. Apple is also promoting business messaging as part of the package. There’s an improved business dashboard, with new metrics (keywords, user location and “taps”). And listing changes populate more quickly than in the past.
Accurate business information is even more crucial now that Apple is rumoured to be working on its search engine, which might give it an advantage over Google. This also comes at a time when Apple is concentrating on growing its services businesses and developing a more profitable advertising division that may soon include more native Apple apps.
Apple also supports the Business Connect API, a brand-new API. This is designed to enable multi-location companies to scale up the delivery of reliable, current information to maps through listing management companies. However, only five of the larger listing-management platforms are currently able to access this API, so smaller fish like GMBapi.com are unlikely to enter the Apple net anytime soon.
Apple claims that it will not discontinue its integration with Yelp and Apple Maps will continue to display Yelp-hosted images, reviews, and menus. Businesses can enhance these listings with Business Connect by providing details that Yelp might lack, resulting in stronger, more detailed listings. After registering for the service using an existing Apple ID, businesses can proceed to claim and manage their place cards (without charge) after passing a verification process.
Let’s not forget that Apple benefits from Business Connect as well, since it improves the company’s database of information and gives it a powerful competitive edge against Facebook and Google, which also have business listings. While Facebook has grown as a significant hub for businesses and has expanded the availability of this information across Instagram and Whatsapp, Google has long offered a way for businesses to modify their rankings on Search and Maps. Only time will tell if Apple Business Connect can keep up with the competition.