RealTime IT News

Yahoo! Pushes New Shopping Tools for Holidays

Yahoo! Shopping and Discover Financial Services Monday launched a multifaceted promotion aimed at encouraging comparison shopping online during the holiday season.

The "Deal of the Decade" promotion will include an online sweepstakes, donations to the Salvation Army and offline promotional events.

All the elements are designed to send visitors to a special landing page in the Yahoo! Shopping channel, www.shopping.yahoo.com/deal. There they can see the top gifts in several categories, compare prices and enter to win free holiday shopping for the next 10 years. The page also links to the Salvation Army's Web site, where people can make donations.

Comparison shopping has become one of the hottest segments of the online marketing space, as e-tailers pay for placement or rank on one or another of the ever-growing list of sites offering comparisons. Yahoo! launched product search back in September, just a few days after DealTime relaunched itself as Shopping.com. Google has long had Froogle, though the site is still in beta. Most recently, Ask Jeeves added product search to its capabilities.

One issue within the space is thought to be a lack of consumer awareness, which is why Shopping.com launched its first television advertising effort this month. Presumably, Yahoo!'s promotional effort is designed to address that problem as well.

Discover Card is the sponsor for the promotion and will be featured in supporting materials. To get the word out, Yahoo! will rely largely on national and regional public relations efforts but will also do online media and offline events.

The events will be held in high-profile shopping areas, such as New York's Herald Square and Chicago's John Hancock Center. At those events, Yahoo! Shopping will show off a Wi-Fi holiday tree, a Christmas tree encircled by laptops connected to the Internet via wireless connections. Visitors can use those laptops to browse through the Yahoo! Shopping site.

The Salvation Army brass ensemble and bell ringers will also appear at these events, which will take place the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday, traditionally the kick-off to the year-end holiday season.

"This promotion blends the best of two worlds by providing consumers with a great incentive to experience the new tools on Yahoo! Shopping and also providing Discover Card and the Salvation Army with an important branding campaign during the holidays," said Rob Solomon, vice president of Yahoo! Shopping.

Monday Yahoo! also released preliminary numbers about its efforts to drive people to its shopping channel. The company says traffic to the site has increased approximately 30 percent since the launch of Product Search in September. The company added a "Products" tab on the search box on Yahoo!'s front page as well, which likely contributed to traffic growth.