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Yahoo Launches Next-Generation Stores Platform

Yahoo showed its commitment to ecommerce on Thursday by launching what it calls a “completely reimagined, next-generation” version of Yahoo Stores. The company is emphasizing how easy it is to set up a store, start accepting payments, and get found through its SEO features.

When asked how Yahoo Stores fits into the ecommerce landscape relative to other ecommerce platforms, Amit Kumar, head of Yahoo Small Business, told EcommerceBytes the focus is on businesses that hope grow to do tens of millions of dollars in GMV.

In addition, while all customers are currently based in the U.S., Yahoo Stores will add support for other geographic areas over the next few quarters.

Yahoo Stores has been around for 16 years, and Kumar says the new Yahoo Stores draws upon what the company has learned from their millions of customers.

Scott Smigler, President of Exclusive Concepts, is cautiously optimistic that the upgraded Yahoo Store platform will add a lot of value to current Yahoo merchants. “They are aggressively adding smart features to the new platform, while promising to support the legacy platform,” he said.

One of the challenges Yahoo Small Business faced in attracting merchants was its fee structure – unlike many storefront solutions, it took a 1.5% commission on all sales in addition to a monthly subscription fee.

Pricing for the new platform remains similar, ranging from $39.95/month plus a 1.5% transaction fee (with a special 12-month introductory plan of $10.95/month), to $299.95/month with a .75% transaction fee – the three store plans are found on this page.

In addition, Yahoo Stores plans to roll out a “Lite” plan in the coming weeks that will cost less.

We asked how the new platform would impact current Yahoo Store owners. “Yahoo Stores is an upgrade of the old platform, and the old platform will continue to be supported and will continue to work for current merchants who were using the old platform,” a spokesperson said.

Smigler, whose company is a Yahoo Small Business Partner, said Yahoo had been a “sleeping giant” in ecommerce. “That’s because they had grown to serve more IR500 merchants than any other eCommerce platform despite two key constraints: one, they operated on smart but old technology built in the 90’s, and two, they had no international footprint.”

He said now that the platform is being modernized, he believes Yahoo will be able to address many concerns merchants have voiced over the past 5-plus years, while giving a lot of the new competition a run for their money.

Some of the new Yahoo Stores’ key features include:

  • Faster Store Set-up: Yahoo Stores offers a seamless payment processing experience that is automatically PCI compliant, connecting you directly with a payment service provider.
  • Automatic SEO: From day one, stores will have the same serving technology used on Yahoo.com, including relevant keywords in your website URLs, concise descriptions of a website’s content and more.
  • Themes: New online storefront designs with color and style guides that go beyond templates to automatically respond and adapt across mobile phones, tablets and desktop.

Kumar said with Yahoo Stores, merchants could have an online store up-and-running and accepting orders in less than a couple of minutes. “Our platform offers a seamless payment processing experience that is automatically PCI compliant, connecting you directly with a payment service provider in just a few clicks.”

While that’s fine for merchants starting off, will it be easy for merchants to move their business from another platform? Kumar told EcommerceBytes Yahoo Stores has a basic import tool for merchant who wish to move from another platform, though they are focusing on new customers.

As for merchants on the existing Yahoo platform, Smigler said the third and fourth quarter were not ideal for larger, more established, merchants to upgrade. “If we see strong performance over the next few months, we are likely to begin recommending upgrades for these merchants in 2015. For new merchants, or existing merchants opening new stores, we will recommend the new Yahoo Stores platform,” he said.

A list of Yahoo and third-party apps integrated with the new Yahoo Stores platform is found on this page.

And you can find information about the new Yahoo Stores here.

This story was updated on 8/15/14.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.