YAHOO MOUNTS CUSTOM SHOPPING FEATURE

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Riding the rising tide of popularity for personalized programs online, Internet megabrand Yahoo Inc. on Monday launched the My Shopping feature at Yahoo Shopping.
The new personalization package consists of various tools that can be accessed by clicking on the My Shopping link on the navigation bar atop the Yahoo Shopping home page at shopping.yahoo.com.
By using the tools, cybershoppers can customize their shopping experience, based on sales purchase data and personal information. For example, they can “collect” their favorite e-tailers, from among Yahoo’s affiliated merchants, in one centralized Web location, much as users have employed the My Yahoo finance feature to create customized lists of stocks they want to follow. The service also allows consumers to “track their recent orders and shop for products that are personally relevant,” said Rob Solomon, director of production at Yahoo Shopping, in a statement.
“This customized shopping service combines the choice and selection of Yahoo Shopping with the personalization of My Yahoo,” Solomon noted in referring to the service that enables Yahoo users to develop personalized programs for everything from sports scores to the stocks. “The My Shopping feature is an extension of the expertise we have gained from running both of these properties, and it will make consumers’ online shopping experience more enjoyable.”
Personalization, or the customization of goods for mass numbers of consumers, has long been heralded as a powerful online marketing engine, but few fashion applications have been developed. A leader in that regard has been Bluefly Inc., an Internet off-pricer that introduced a customization feature called My Catalog last July. Visitors to bluefly.com can use the feature to catalog their personal style preferences at the site and subsequently are alerted when favorite apparel styles, brands, colors and such become available there.
In June, as reported in these columns, beauty e-tailer Eve .com struck a strategic partnership, making it the exclusive purveyor of branded cosmetics at seven-month-old apparel boutique Purpleskirt.com, in large part because both sites are focused on the offer of personalized products and services.
At Yahoo, after registering to become a user, people can click on the My Shopping link on the front page of Yahoo Shopping to begin customizing their shopping page. They can add various information and tools from 13 modules to their page and then edit the content and organize the layout. Some of the modules available at My Shopping include:
Recent Orders, a feature allowing people to track an order’s history and status, as well as obtain customer service information.
Yahoo Wallet, an e-instrument enabling users to store billing, shipping and credit card information once, and then use it again, at any of Yahoo’s thousands of affiliated merchants online.
My Stores, through which shoppers can create a custom universe of e-tailers in one location.
Editor’s Picks, containing a guide to hot fashions, gifts and other items from Yahoo Shopping’s merchandising team.
Yahoo Points, a rewards program in which consumers keep track of the points they earn on Yahoo Shopping and redeem them for gift certificates from participating merchants, or use them to bid on special auctions.
A gift registry, helping cybershoppers keep tabs on their personal wish lists.
“Consumers need to make their online shopping experience more enjoyable,” said a spokesman for Yahoo Shopping. “My Shopping is empowering consumers to control their shopping experience by determining the kind of content they’ll see.”
Asked about the timing of Yahoo’s move, the spokesman stated, “We believe personalization will be a growing trend in online shopping.”

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