E-Commerce: Yahoo's "SmartSort."

Essay by KortEvanUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2005

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Yahoo launched new technology in 2003 designed to enable customers to easily find personalized product recommendations. The technology, called "SmartSort," is made available across nine consumer electronics categories in Yahoo Shopping. The new technology was integrated into additional categories through the end of that year - just in time for my holiday shopping.

SmartSort is available in the following categories: digital cameras, MP3 players, personal digital assistants, desktop computers, notebook computers, printers, mobile phones, televisions, and DVD players.

SmartSort works by narrowing the search for a specific product by taking a broad category like mobile phones, which has numerous choices, and asking a consumer to rank criteria (i.e. price, features, brand) according to importance. The top 10 models are then recommended, based on the selected criteria. The benefit for small to medium-sized merchants is that inclusion in Yahoo Shopping allows them to reach consumers who are actively searching for specific products.

Online merchants that want to include their products in Yahoo Shopping, can sign-up for Yahoo Product Submit, a service that allows them to promote their products in various categories across Yahoo Shopping. Merchants only pay if a consumer clicks on their product listing. Another way merchants can have products included in Yahoo Shopping is by signing up for Yahoo Merchant Solutions, an e-commerce offering that allows merchants to create and manage an online store.

The number one reason among online users who have yet to make an e-commerce purchase is lack of trust. Reluctant e-shoppers cite fear that personal information will not be kept private by e-tailors as the major reason they keep away form purchasing via the Internet. Most consumers have little history or physical contact with Internet retailers and they must be careful of a site that advertises low prices but is capable only...