If you’re a small business with a goal of doing between
$500,000 and $15 million in annual e-commerce sales, you need to
learn more about Yahoo Merchant Solutions. And to answer your first
question… no, Exclusive Concepts, Inc is not in anyway
affiliated with Yahoo. I’ve simply been persuaded over the past
6 years that Yahoo provides the most powerful and scaleable
e-commerce solution for the small business that cares about search
engine placement. Why should you care about search engine placement?
Search engines are the single most powerful and cost-effective
mechanism for driving qualified traffic to your site. What good is a
great online store if customers can’t find you?
First things first – What is Yahoo Merchant Solutions
(a.k.a. “Yahoo Store”)
It’s a complete platform for building an e-commerce website
for your company. It has a easy to use forms based interface (for a
low cost entry-level solution), but it also has very advanced
capabilities that allow third-party Yahoo Store specialists to
customize the design and features of your site (for companies that
need greater functionality and customization and are willing to make
a larger investment).
What makes the Yahoo Store so outstanding?
If you visited the Yahoo
Merchant Solutions website, you would find a number of valuable
features that make Yahoo Store appealing. Instead of repeating that
list, I’ll focus instead on what I believe to be the most
important feature of a Yahoo Store from a search engine ranking
Static Pages – The Search Engines Eat These Things Up
Before you glaze over from this obscure technical phrase, take
into consideration that this single Yahoo Store benefit, if properly
taken advantage of, can be the difference between having a wildly
profitable e-commerce store, and just an average online presence. I’m
sure I have your attention now, so let me explain.
”Static Pages” means that when you publish your Yahoo
Store (to make the store available to the public), the program
actually regenerates every single “database” page and
turns it into an “.html” page. The search engines have an
easier time indexing “.html” pages, and as a result, you
can expect better and more consistent rankings. I’m sure that
for many of you this will sound confusing, so let me give you an
- Most dynamic e-commerce sites have interior pages that are
“dynamic,” meaning that they are pulled from a database
as you browse the site. The “URL” for one of these pages
might look like this:
- A Yahoo Store interior page is “static,” meaning
that the pages are not pulled from a database as you browse the
site. They might look like this:
This is important because it is easier for search engines (like
Google) to index a website that has static pages, as compared to
dynamic sites with many parameters. Google says so on their website.
Bottom line: I’m convinced that Yahoo Store platform
is the most conducive for garnering high search engine placement
primarily because of this feature but also because of additional
complimentary optimizations you can make to your Yahoo Store.
Other Important Features/Benefits Include:
- Site-Wide Variables
Make a change once in a user-friendly
environment, and have it take effect throughout your entire site
- A large and experienced public company (Yahoo) hosting your
1 in 8 e-commerce websites are hosted
on the Yahoo Store / Yahoo Merchant Solutions platform. Presumably,
hundreds of millions of dollars in online sales are transacted on the
Yahoo platform each year. Yahoo has too much to lose to approach the
hosting of e-commerce stores lightly. As a result, I’m
confident they have the resources and commitment to ensure the
highest possible uptime for your site. In 6 years, I can’t
remember a client’s store going offline.
- 24×7 Customer Support
This speaks for itself. Many small
e-commerce platforms (especially custom e-commerce solutions) don’t
come with free 24×7 support.
- A large selection of independent professionals to support you
Many companies throughout the country specialize in customizing
Yahoo Stores for their clients (better designs, better features,
etc). The fact that the Yahoo Store solution is so well supported
makes it a truly compelling.
What’s the biggest downside to a Yahoo Store?
You don’t have access to the source code. While you can
customize 99% of a Yahoo Store, you can’t customize all of it.
This rarely becomes a problem, even for larger stores, but you should
be aware that there are some things you might like to do with your
Yahoo Store that you simply won’t be able to do.
How can I take advantage of Yahoo Store?
Assemble the right team of professionals to help you. You’ll
1. An online marketing specialist (like Exclusive Concepts)
At Exclusive Concepts, we focus specifically on helping you market
your store and generate sales. We want to do one thing right, which
is why we leave development up to the experts who specialize in that.
Within the realm of online marketing, there is nothing we don’t
do. We integrate ourselves into your business and become your
outsourced marketing department.
2. A Yahoo Store Developer/Designer
3. A Good Travel Agent
With all the business you and your company are about to do, you’ll
be able to afford (and maybe need) to take more frequent vacations.
I’ve evaluated dozens of alternatives, but I’ve found
nothing that can hold a candle to Yahoo Store. That said, I remember
years ago, before I had understood the power of the Yahoo platform, a
prospective client asked me about the Yahoo solution. No offense to
the folks at Yahoo, but I figured it was a Mickey Mouse,
template-based, mass-market solution that was not worth considering.
It’s a good thing that I’m an open-minded person, because
once I took the time to properly evaluate the software, I recognized
its true potential.
Bottom line: There is no better alternative to achieve your
sales objectives then combining the robustness of the Yahoo Store
solution with the power of search engines to drive qualified
prospects to your site. Read more about Yahoo