Younger readers may not realize that before sites like Facebook and before Google, there was Yahoo, once the leading search engine on which most of us relied. Its Yahoo Stores platform (now called Yahoo Merchant Solutions) has been around for 20 years, serving as a stepping stone for brick-and-mortar stores going online or for those early merchants who outgrew marketplaces like eBay. Just take a look at this statistic:
To date, the Yahoo Small Business platform, of which Yahoo Merchant Solutions is a part, has generated $80 billion in transactions and more than 300 million orders.
Yahoo Small Business wants you to know it is alive and well, led by new team members and investment (it’s now a business unit of Verizon), and it’s kicking off some new solutions for small businesses as it celebrates 20 years.
First up is Website Builder that lets a business launch a single-page website with a domain name, a secure web site hosting plan, and a branded email address, all for the cost of a domain name registration.
Website Builder is for a small service business or a brick-and-mortar business looking for customers online, a spokesperson told us. “It has quite a bit of flexibility (even in single-page form) to add a reservations or scheduling widget, a blog, a location map, a PayPal “donate” button, and other functions. There are several plans starting at $5 – $10/month for annual plans.
However, Website Builder is not recommended for someone looking to launch an online store – for those businesses, there is Yahoo Merchant Solutions, which lets merchants build a full-featured store. A spokesperson told us what’s new with that offering:
– Merchant Solutions, one of our popular products, store editor has been updated with a new look, “quick find” feature, and responsive templates. We added the ability to publish single pages and schedule recurring automated publishes.
– We created a new report to show merchants checkout information for shoppers who failed to check out due to a payment issue, so merchants can reclaim lost sales.
– Order manager has been updated with a responsive design and many new features, such as advanced order export with geo-targeting and date filters.
-We overhauled order emails and print order so you have complete control of the customer-facing displays. We’re also connected to Mandrill, giving merchants more control of customer emails and additional reporting on open rates.
– Free SSL is now available to all stores.
In addition, the platform made some changes for developers: “we added high visibility template highlighting, new operators to help optimize templates, a lightning fast template assignment tool, and the ability to directly process thousands of images based on their names instead of relying on a CSV file.”
The company said it Merchant Solutions has kept pace with improvements around secure checkout, site stability, fraud protection for merchants, mobile and responsive design and templates for stores.
It’s also made major improvements to publish times for new products and pages, and it’s added flexibility for integrating with various payment methods, shipping companies, marketing and cart abandonment/recovery programs, sales tax programs and other developing technologies.
Kushagra (Kush) Shrivastava, Senior Director for Yahoo Small Business, said, “Our platform continues to be the platform successful SMBs trust to provide secure, reliable and customizable solutions for their online stores and businesses.”
What would he tell small sellers looking to expand beyond marketplaces about the costs of setting up shop on Yahoo, and how they can get customers?
“Small sellers who come to us from marketplaces are among our most successful new merchants. Opening your own store with Merchant Solutions allows a seller to take greater control of their brand and consumer experience, and opens up the opportunity for new customers found through a variety of marketing activities. Many of these sellers continue to maintain their marketplace presence. Larger ones often integrate that into shopping feeds run through their Yahoo Store so they can control inventory, sales and their merchant accounts from a single dashboard.”