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updated 7/13/2013 10:46:46 AM ET 2013-07-13T14:46:46

In what could be a boon to small-business owners, Yelp is now allowing some businesses to make sales right on their Yelp pages -- a move that could eventually transform the company from an informational service into an ecommerce powerhouse. Businesses will not need to opt into the new feature, nor will they need to pay for it, said Vince Sollitto, a Yelp spokesperson, in an email.

The new offering, Yelp Platform, will roll out category by category, starting with food pickup and delivery and expanding to other service businesses. Yelp will partner with third-party service providers, such as Eat24 and Delivery.com, and their existing customers will be brought into Yelp Platform. Food ordering is now available through Yelp's iOS app as well its mobile and desktop websites, and an Android app update is coming soon.

The new initiative draws on Yelp's extensive, search-friendly web listings of local businesses, which net more than 100 million unique visitors each month. Consumers will now be able to transact directly on the business listings they visit, Sollitto says.Yelp will get a cut of revenue from its partners for transactions completed through its website, Sollitto says. He declined to disclose the percentage.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Yelp has added a new sales feature for businesses. Last month, Yelp debuted a Call to Action tool for advertisers only, which allows businesses to highlight a particular transaction on their Yelp pages, such as a special deal on a hotel room. Yelp Platform and Call to Action both help to convert browsers into buyers, Sollitto says, but while the latter encourages consumers to take a specific action on the merchant's website, Yelp Platform allows ecommerce to happen seamlessly without clicking away to another site.

Related: Yelp Helps Small Businesses Turn Visitors Into Buyers, for a Fee

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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