RealTime IT News

Yahoo! Adds New Merchants

Yahoo! Inc. bulked up its online shopping area, adding new merchants including saksfifthavenue.com, Target, Circuit City, JCPenney.com, eToys, Handspring and Crutchfield.

The e-commerce enabler also launched a new holiday gift center, "designed to help consumers take the guesswork out of finding the perfect gift."

Featured in the gift center is Yahoo! Shopping's gift recommender, which helps people find gifts based on their friends' or families' personalities, whether they are "Gadget Guys," "Domestic Goddesses" or "Techie Teens."

Also at the gift center is Yahoo! Gift Ideas, which helps people shop by price for gifts in categories under $25, $50, $100 and $500. Another feature is the gift search that selects merchandise based on combinations of gender, age, interest and price.

And in the spirit of the season, Yahoo! also set up a program so that shoppers may donate their Yahoo! Points to one of five charity funds. Through an agreement with JustGive.org, every Yahoo! Point donated by consumers will be matched by a 1 cent charity donation from Yahoo!, up to a total of $25,000 for all the funds. Charity funds include the Animals Fund, Children & Youth Fund, Housing & Shelter Fund, Hunger & Poverty Fund and the Peace Fund.

Meanwhile, the company said that a survey conducted on the Yahoo! network found that about three quarters (74 percent) of Yahoo! users intend to conduct their gift buying online this holiday season.

Other findings: Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of respondents stated that brand name merchants are an important factor in influencing their online purchasing decisions, while almost half (46 percent) of people intending to buy something this holiday season estimated they would spend more than $200 online.

Gift suggestions or recommendations will be used by nearly half (47 percent) of the people polled, according to the survey results.