In a previous blog post, Just Professionals gave an overview of several popular e-commerce platforms and explained why we advocate the use of Yahoo! Stores for online retail websites above all. In this post, we wish to discuss the different options that exist after the decision to use Yahoo! Small Business Merchant Solutions, A.K.A Yahoo! Stores, has been made.
Once signed up with Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, a store owner has 3 basic options for how his or her site will appear to the world:
- Choosing a generic layout or default store templates provided by Yahoo!.
- Purchasing a third-party pre-designed Yahoo! Store template.
- Hiring a Yahoo! Store developer to design and develop an ecommerce website with custom appearance and functionality.
Below we will discuss each of these 3 options in detail.
What will my new Yahoo! Store look like to my customers?
Yahoo! Store Default or Generic Template
The generic templates offered by Yahoo! to Merchant Solutions customers offer basic functionality and customization. Using the default templates, you are able to select navigation position and choose from a color palette. In addition, Yahoo! generic templates offer the ability to upload images in order to personalize the appearance of the store. This allows a store owner to display a custom header and/or background, company logo, buttons, and footer.
Yahoo! Default Template Pros vs. Cons
- There is no additional cost for using the Yahoo! Store default templates.
- No delay to making your products available for purchase.
- Reduced or diminished ability to distinguish your web store from others.
- Limited functionality
Pre-designed Templates for Yahoo! Stores
Pre-designed Yahoo! Store templates are the first option outside of the default or generic site appearance that Merchant Solutions offers customers for their Yahoo! Store. Pre-designed templates offer an upgrade in appearance and functionality. The set back to a pre-designed template is that customization may prove difficult as altering or editing the pre-packaged elements may have a detrimental effect on the overall appearance of the website.
Pre-designed templates may also offer some niche functionality as part of the benefit of this method. This functionality may include add-on features like a blog or social media integration and can offer more options to improve search engine visibility.
In the same way that utilizing a generic template from Yahoo! can deprive a web store of the ability to distinguish itself from other e-commerce stores, pre-designed templates are sold over and over to many different site owners. Most template designs are tailored for a specific market, such as wedding accessories, jewelry, and clothing which means you and a competitor may appear the same to a potential customer.
For most template designs, a buyer has the option to pay a large sum of money purchase the exclusive rights to use of a particular store template. This only guarantees the template will not be sold again, and there is no way to know how many times the template has been purchased already. If you are interested in sole ownership of a template it can cost many thousands of dollars for a one that is well equipped with features. This high cost of obtaining a professional website design through a pre-designed option makes custom development a more viable choice.
Pre-Designed Templates for Yahoo! Store Pros vs. Cons
- Minimal time period needed between purchase and deployment.
- Templates have been pre-tested by the third party developer and are supported to ensure proper function.
- Templates can be found already tailored to your niche market.
- You and your competitors may appear identical to potential customers.
- Pre-determined functionality and feel out of the box often does not exactly match your needs.
- Template usage may include possible hidden fees or license agreements for rights to alter template.
Custom Yahoo! Store Development
There is really no limit to the amount of customization that an e-commerce site owner can pour into an online Yahoo! Store. But for most projects, custom Yahoo! Store development is not much more expensive than the cost of purchasing a template system with full operational rights. Any serious online retail business venture will choose to hire a Yahoo! store developer to design and develop their e-commerce web site from scratch. This is the option that offers full control over the store’s appearance and functionality, and offers the store the credibility needed to succeed online.
Custom Yahoo! Store Design and Development Pros vs. Cons
- Fully customizable e-commerce web site from look and feel to functionality.
- The development process is under your control from start to finish.
- Professional online purchasing experience for your site visitors and potential customers.
- Less stress for the business owner during set up, deployment and testing phases of development.
- Start to finish development can add a significant pre-launch period depending on the complexity of the store.
- Money required to complete a custom store can be considerably higher than the cheaper alternatives.
The Yahoo! Store platform has proven time and again to handle millions of dollars in transactions throughout the years. With this system constantly being updated, it is a good idea to have someone who stays on top of the changes and can help your store to evolve. It takes years of training and skill to produce a website that can increase a business’s ROI. If you’re serious about making money with your business, then a Yahoo! Store designed by a professional developer will be the safest option.
The main consideration when choosing how to proceed with your Yahoo! Store is choosing which option going to be the most cost effective for your business in the long run. Looking at a larger picture of where you would like your business to be in 3-5 years as opposed to where it is now may be helpful. Keep in mind that doing an e-commerce site inexpensively in the present may end up costing you more in the future.
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