Apple has debuted a new tool today for businesses of all sizes to help “claim their location place cards and customize the way key information appears to more than a billion Apple users.” The free new service is available now for those in the US.
Apple announced the launch of Business Connect today in a Newsroom post:
“We created Business Connect to provide Apple users around the world with the most accurate information for places to eat, shop, travel, and more,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services. “Apple Business Connect gives every business owner the tools they need to connect with customers more directly, and take more control over the way billions of people see and engage with their products and services every day.”
Along with helping businesses manage how they show up in Apple Maps, Business Connect will also work to organize how a company’s information appears across Apple’s Messages, Wallet, Siri, and other apps.
There’s also a new way for businesses to highlight promotions, discounts, seasonal offers, and more:
“Showcases, a new feature in the place card, helps businesses present customers with offers and incentives, like seasonal menu items, product discounts, and more. Businesses can easily update the Showcase section of their place card through Business Connect. Showcases are available to businesses in the US beginning today, and will be available to businesses globally in coming months.”
Sign up for Business Connect
Apple notes that Business Connect also includes an API that works at scale through listing management agencies like Yext, Uberall, SOCi, Rio SEO, and Reputation.
This looks like a valuable new way for businesses to manage their presence across Apple’s platforms without having to bounce around to multiple websites/portals.
While Apple told TechCrunch it “has no immediate plans to monetize this system to allow owners to elevate their listings in some way” it’s likely we’ll see some paid promoted option for businesses at some point – like we’ve seen ads expanding in the App Store.
This latest business release comes after Apple launched its Business Essentials subscription that bundles device management, 24/7 support, and cloud storage last summer. That comes included with some T-Mobile plans and can also be purchased standalone from Apple.
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