Yahoo Dives Back In to E-Commerce with Revamped Yahoo Stores Platform

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With e-commerce projected to account for 11 percent of US retail sales, totaling $414 billion by 2018, Yahoo is re-launching Yahoo Stores so it can grab a bigger piece of the growing online merchant market.

Initially launched in 1998, the updated platform enables merchants to build and transact on sites hosted by Yahoo for up to $9 per month, complete with tools for creation, marketing, analytics, custom templates and domain names. The platform is already used by more than 1.5 million small businesses as more sellers take to the Web to sell their wares.

“We’ve taken care of some of the stumbling points that small businesses face in setting up online stores,” said Amit Kumar, head of Yahoo Small Business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But Yahoo is a late re-entrant into an increasingly crowded field, with steep competition from Amazon, eBay, Shopify and Etsy, many of which offer customized online storefronts for small businesses.[more]  

“A great website can only attract customers if they can find it,” Kumar explained in a blog post on the brand’s Tumblr. “Yahoo Stores provides automatic SEO—so from day one, your store will have the same serving technology used on Yahoo.com, including relevant keywords in your website URLs, concise descriptions of your website’s content and more. Yahoo Stores also has a powerful product catalog schema and tools for merchants to organize and promote their products. The setup is simple, with powerful capabilities informed by years of experience working with major retailers.”

Yahoo also launched Commerce Central, a new app store for small businesses to introduce them to the process of enrolling in services like Amazon Ads or Google Shopping. Yahoo’s Live Insights app for the iPhone, available since April, tracks how customers are using a commerce site in real-time and lets shop owners chat with those customers, closing the loop on mobile, on-the-go site management. 

Yahoo is promoting Yahoo Stores as a “completely reimagined, next-generation version,” which sounds like the company itself as it strives to boost revenue any way it can.

—Sheila is a New York-based writer/producer, co-founder of Third Eye Media and an avid believer in the power of the media for change. Connect with her on Twitter: @srshayon

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