It's a little late for the holiday shopping season, but Yahoo Inc. today launched one-stop shopping services for six of its "Yahoo World" local sites, bringing them up to par with electronic commerce capabilities offered by its flagship U.S. site.
Yahoo may have missed the Christmas buying season in some of these countries, but it has its eyes on the future. Though e-commerce is taking root in the U.S. first, the rest of the world is catching up.
The final version of the Yahoo Shopping service is now available at Yahoo World sites for the U.K. and Ireland; France; Germany; Korea; Japan; and Australia and New Zealand. Previously some of these sites had the beta version of the shopping service available, but now the full, final version is online -- including the ability to load up a virtual shopping cart with products from various retailers, pay for them all at once with a single credit card, and have them delivered to different destinations, according to Yahoo.
Yahoo local sites all have online shopping guides, but not all offer Yahoo Shopping features, which allows Web surfers to actually order and buy online, according to a spokeswoman at one of Yahoo's public relations firms.
Offering online shopping services in localized sites around the world is a key to future growth for U.S. companies doing business online. Market research company International Data Corp. of Framingham, Massachusetts, for example, predicts that 46 percent of e-commerce will be generated outside of the U.S. in 2003, up from 26 percent in 1998, Yahoo noted in a statement today. Increasingly, U.S. companies will run into local competitors that have the advantage of in-depth knowledge of their home turf, industry insiders agree.
Yahoo has 21 "World" sites, each offering local listings, services and languages. Though there was no official word today on whether the company will further expand its Yahoo Shopping services beyond the sites announced today, sources familiar with the company's plans say it's a sure bet that it will.