Yahoo Stores, formerly known as Yahoo Merchant Solutions, has been around since the first wave on ecommerce. One could say that this shopping cart is one of the oldest hosted solutions out there. Over the years, Yahoo Stores has been redesigned to keep up with the current trends in ecommerce, making them a worthy look for any store owner. It is been a while since I played around with Yahoo Stores, but I figured I should write a Yahoo Stores review to help you decide if this shopping cart is good for your online business.
WHAT TYPE OF STORE IS YAHOO STORES GOOD FOR?
This is the area that gets Yahoo Stores plenty of attraction. Since their shopping cart is so versatile and flexible, there is not a store that is too small or too big to use Yahoo Stores. Since Yahoo is also a web hosting solution, you can expect the best in-house hosting servers.
Furthermore, I am sure that all of you already know that Yahoo is still a dominant search engine as well. It should not be a surprise that their shopping cart is packed with the top of the line search engine optimization tools to boost your presence across multiple search engines.
Personally, I set up a few clients on Yahoo Stores. One had a fairly small store while the other had a medium store. After checking in with both clients prior to writing this Yahoo Stores review, they both told me that they are having tremendous success. Honestly, I would not expect anything less from Yahoo.
YAHOO STORES REVIEW – PLANS AND PRICING
Yahoo used to be an expensive shopping cart. The recent name change and the complete design makeover made their plans very competitive in the ecommerce software industry. For now, they offer four monthly plans, ranging from $14/month to a hefty $299/month (see all plans here).
The good thing about Yahoo Stores is that the features stay consistent, regardless of the plan that is selected. Things like API access, priority phone support and an account manager are the only things you get with the more expensive plans. Also, as you upgrade, transaction fees get lowered.
The Lite plan, which costs $14/month, does not place any limitations on products, bandwidth and storage space. Having these three things “unlimited” is always a plus. This plan charges 1.5% in transaction fees. For example, for every $100 in sales, Yahoo would take an additional $1.50. You would still be responsible for paying credit card and PayPal fees or whichever payment method is being used.
YAHOO STORES REVIEW – 6 PROS OF YAHOO STORES
A very solid shopping cart, but not a perfect solution. Here is what I found to be the pros of creating an online store with Yahoo Stores:
1) REPUTATION AND EXPERIENCE:
To be in business this long, Yahoo has to be doing something right. Some of the biggest names use Yahoo for ecommerce – AceDepot and GoJane.
Yahoo is experienced. They have an array of different products and services such as web hosting, ecommerce, domains and other business related services. To run a successful business, we all need a domain name and a lot of marketing. Having all of this in one place is convenient and much easier to set up.
2) FREE DOMAIN NAME:
I am not completely sure, but I think that Yahoo Stores is the only hosted shopping cart that gives you a free domain name when you sign up. This is what happens when the company offers multiple products and services. While a standard domain name runs only at about $10 to $15 per year, I still found this to be an enticing deal.
3) FREE ADVERTISING CREDITS:
For the ones that are new to ecommerce, you will finally learn the importance of marketing and why it is king. Thing about it like this, when you first open your online business, the only person that knows about it is probably you, close family and friends.
Popular venues to market on is Facebook, Twitter, comparison shopping sites and search engines (preferably Google). All new Yahoo Stores members receive $100 in free advertising credits for Yahoo/Bing search engines.
4) YAHOO STORES DIRECTORY:
It is important to note that all stores powered by Yahoo Stores are listed in the “Shop by Store” directory. However, who really searches these directories anymore and what are the chances of someone landing on your store? If you categorize the store properly, some customers may find your store.
At the least, it is a good backlink that is pointing to your online store.
5) APPS TO GROW:
Yahoo Stores provides store owners with reliable free and premium apps. App categories include advertising, improving conversions, back office management, financing and others.
Although, the selection is very limited, these apps are still useful for adding more features to the store. And trust me when I say this, there will be a time that will have you looking for new features to add.
6) YAHOO DOES SEO WELL:
This is a no-brainer. While not as good as it once was, Yahoo is still a dominant search engine. They offer the traditional optimization tools, giving you the maximum exposure on popular search engines such as Google and Bing. Things like page titles, descriptions and alt image tags can be customized.
I always believed that organic, targeted traffic from search engines was the best – well it still is. Free is always the best in my books.
YAHOO STORES REVIEW – 2 CONS OF YAHOO STORES
I mentioned earlier that Yahoo Stores is not a perfect shopping cart, well that still stands. Here is what I found to be the cons of creating an online store with Yahoo Stores:
1) TRANSACTION FEES:
I am disappointed that Yahoo Stores continues to charges transaction fees, even with the latest makeover. I really do not understand the logic behind this. Charging transaction fees is so last year.
The transaction fee percentage charged will depend on the plan selected. Current transaction fees range from 0.75% to 1.50%. At first glance, this might not seem a lot. However, as the revenue increase, so do the transaction fees. Also, if you are selling products with a small profit margin, you might see transaction fees as a potential deal breaker.
2) LIMITED PAYMENT GATEWAYS:
For some odd reason, Yahoo Stores does not integrate well with external payment gateways. Yahoo Stores is only able to integrate with merchants that are compatible with First Data Merchant Services (FDMS). This narrows the gateways down to a handful of options that you can actually use.
This will not be an issue for store owners looking to accept PayPal payments – PayPal Express is fully integrated into the shopping cart.
YAHOO STORES ALTERNATIVES
If you came to the conclusion that Yahoo Stores is not for you, here are two Yahoo Stores alternatives that you can take a look at:
Bigcommerce – Whether you need better design options or more features, Bigcommerce is a complete upgrade over Yahoo Stores. It has more built-in features, third party apps and external payment gateways. Bigcommerce plans start at $29.99/month.
Shopify – When you are looking for alternative shopping carts, Shopify has to be thrown in the mix. I love Shopify because of its simplicity. Nearly every kind of user can create a professional looking store in minutes. Shopify has one of the largest ecommerce app stores for hosted shopping carts. Shopify plans start at $14/month.
YAHOO STORES REVIEW – DO I RECOMMEND YAHOO STORES?
Whether or not you decide to use Yahoo Stores will depend on three factors – your budget, your skill set and your comfort level. Regardless of the shopping cart being used, creating an online web store is not a walk in the park. Yahoo Stores is not anything special. But, if you are willing to learn, have the necessary patience and want a shopping cart that is proven to work, then by all means, go with Yahoo Stores.
If you are afraid of transaction fees or think those pesky fees will eat up your profits, then stay away from Yahoo Stores and look for a shopping cart that does not charge transaction fees. In this case, I would recommend Volusion or 3dcart.
At the end of the day, I think Yahoo Stores is a top ten shopping cart and I would recommend them for any ecommerce website.