Changing e-commerce platforms is rarely a simple task and e-retailer Safety Glasses USA took a long, hard look at options before leaving Yahoo Inc.’s e-commerce platform, formerly called Yahoo Stores, after 16 years.
Safety Glasses USA co-founder Mike Eldridge worried about the risk of such a big change. But he says the lure of easy-to-use features and lower costs, plus concerns about of the future of the Yahoo e-commerce service, convinced him to choose BigCommerce. The retailer made the switch with the help of e-commerce technology provider Americaneagle.com.
After moving to BigCommerce on April 20, Eldridge says the conversion rate on his site is 10% higher and he is spending about 15% less each month to pay for the platform. He declined to provide more specific figures. Web sales account for 95% of the retailer’s $5 million in yearly revenue.
Among the BigCommerce features Eldridge likes are plug-ins that make it easier for customers to find products they’re searching for and the ability to personalize product pages based on customer search trends.
“Let’s say safety glasses with a flag embossed on them sell better on the Fourth of July than at other times,” he says. “The search platform recognizes that, so we can highlight those glasses.”
Eldridge also likes a shipping app that automatically figures out rules and fees that vary by shipping company. And he says he no longer has to go through a lengthy process to update the website, which previously took two hours to update a price and up to 18 hours to change products on a page.
“With BigCommerce, if I need to change a price, I can make the change, hit ‘Save’ and it’s done immediately,” he says. “Yahoo’s platform hadn’t evolved. It was getting long in the tooth. Others had better feature sets right out of the box.”
Eldridge says BigCommerce allowed Safety Glasses USA to retain its existing URL structure and, therefore, its standing in Google’s search engine, which can suffer if a retailer changes the URL of its site.
A spokeswoman for Yahoo says its platform, now called Aabaco, boasts more than 1 million subscribers and has introduced several updates recently, including quick individual-item publishing, a customer-care channel and authentication for mobile customer sign-in.
Yahoo, which called its e-commerce platform Luminate from July 2015 to November 2015, renamed it Aabaco Small Business this past November. At that time, parent company Yahoo Inc. was contemplating spinning off its $32 billion stake in leading Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. into a holding company that would also include the e-commerce business, the spokeswoman says. The proposed move was designed to avoid paying heavy fees for Yahoo’s windfall since acquiring a 40% stake in Alibaba in 2005 for $1 billion. In December 2015, Yahoo canceled the spinoff after the Internal Revenue Service declined to give its blessings to the plan. The Aabaco name remained.
The Yahoo spokeswoman says Yahoo’s e-commerce technology has kept up to date, including offering responsive design, which adapts to the device a consumer is using. That is a way retailers serve mobile shoppers well without maintaining more than one e-commerce site.
“We’re proud to offer a variety of products designed to suit different businesses’ needs, including our Merchant Solutions self-publishing platform, and our Yahoo Stores platform,” the spokeswoman says. “Merchant Solutions offers responsive interfaces that are optimized for, and adapt to, both desktop and mobile devices, providing our users with a faster mobile site and more control over mobile customization.
“Yahoo Store publishing is real-time and immediate, and offers a broad and deep set of features that enable the merchant to immediately go live. In addition, through our partner network, merchants can instantly leverage partner apps to meet their functional and growth needs,” she says.
Eldridge says Yahoo was one of the last shopping cart platforms to offer responsive design, and in the meanwhile, many Yahoo merchants had absorbed the expense of building a separate mobile site.
“When Yahoo launched the ability to have responsive design, legacy merchants were trapped with having separate mobile sites, costing them thousands of dollars to migrate to responsive,” he says.
The client base for the Yahoo technology service, formerly known as Yahoo Store, has declined, but it’s still significant. Of the retailers in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 1000 , 36 listed Yahoo as the provider of their e-commerce platform—10 in the Top 500 and 26 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Second 500, according to Top500Guide.com. That’s down significantly from 2010 when 65 Top 1000 e-retailers used the Yahoo technology, 19 in the Top 500 and 46 in the Second 500.
BigCommerce provides the e-commerce platform for four retailers in the Top 500 and seven in the Second 500, according to Top500Guide.com.