Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Integrations

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions and its predecessor Yahoo! Store provide everything you need to build, host, manage, expand and promote your online store. Although much of the store building, maintenance and management tasks can be accomplished by non-programmers through the Yahoo! Merchant Solutions online tools such as Store Manager, Catalog Manager, and Store Editor, there are also a number of advanced store features, that may require external development These features include building complex site templates, integrating your store with external back-office applications with CGI scripts and XML, or providing product lists to external shopping engines.

These pages provide an overview and collect resources about the advanced functionality provided by Yahoo! Merchant Solutions for developers. It contains these sections:

Getting Started

To use the Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Integrations (whether you are a developer or not), you need a Merchant Solutions account. You should also be familiar with the concepts and terms surrounding store building and management for your Merchant Solutions account, such as the Store Manager, Catalog Manager, Store Editor, Yahoo! SiteBuilder and so on. For more information, see:

Using Store Tags to Dynamically Update Pages From Catalog Manager

Yahoo! Store Tags are HTML comments that pull and display product data dynamically from your Catalog Manager. You can use Store Tags to display any of the information related to any item added to Catalog Manager, including name, price, sale-price, ship-weight, and so on. Once you've added Store Tags to your pages, if you update product data in Catalog Manager, those changes are automatically reflected in your store. Store Tags can also be used to add "Order" and "View Shopping Cart" buttons to your web pages.

You can add and edit Store Tags to your HTML pages with any HTML web page composition tool. Yahoo! SiteBuilder and Macromedia® Dreamweaver® can insert Store Tags for you automatically, or you can type the tags by hand. Use standard Store Tags, or create your own using a simple syntax.

For more information on using Store Tags, see these pages:

Creating Advanced Store Templates with RTML

RTML is the page template programming language that powers the Yahoo! Store Editor. Every element of a page, for example, an item or a section, has an underlying RTML template that describes that element. The output of an RTML template is static HTML; the HTML pages are generated when your store is published.

RTML is a true programming language with variables, conditionals, iteration, subroutines, and math, and so on, as well as markup. With RTML you can define extremely complex pages and entire sites that would be impossible to express in plain HTML.

For more information about RTML, see these pages:

Currently, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Customer Support does not offer assistance with debugging or creating RTML and templates for developers, though Yahoo! remains committed to the RTML development platform. We recommend the following resources:

Note: Yahoo! is not affiliated with the above-listed third-party sites and does not guarantee the accuracy of the information available from those web sites or books.

Generating Product Data Feeds

Both Yahoo! Store Editor and Catalog Manager can be configured to automatically generate XML files of your product data (item descriptions, captions, pricing, options, URLs, and so on). You could use these files to automatically reformat your data into a product feed format understood by third-party shopping search engines such as Shopping.com, or to supplement the standard Yahoo! Store product search with more advanced site search tool. Note: Merchants can use Yahoo! Product Submit to have their products appear in Yahoo! Shopping.

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions can generate two different product data files, which can be converted to feeds:

  • Objinfo.xml (a legacy format) is generated if you published your store using the Store Editor.
  • Catalog.xml is generated if you've enabled the Catalog Manager and published your store using either the Store Editor or the Catalog Manager.

For more information about these product feeds, see these pages:

Dynamically Check and Update Inventory

The real-time inventory integration, available with Merchant Standard and Merchant Professional accounts, enables Yahoo! to check the inventory status of an item when a customer adds that item to your store's cart and when an order is submitted. This is accomplished through a CGI script that you create. Your script must accept specific arguments that indicate the item code and ID, and return availability status and messages as HTTP response headers. You indicate the URL for your inventory script in Store Manager, under Order Settings.

For more information about the real-time inventory feature, see these pages:

Dynamically Calculate Shipping Rates and Tax Information

Real-time tax and shipping enables you to integrate back-end tax and shipping information with the Yahoo! Store cart. If you use a shipping carrier other than UPS (Yahoo! has real-time integration with UPS) you can use this feature to integrate your carrier's shipping data with the cart. Or if you use sales tax database software, real-time tax can integrate that software with the cart. Both of these features are accomplished with a CGI script that you create; that script must respond to specific arguments (in Yahoo! Order Format) and respond with tax and shipping messages as HTTP response headers.

For more information about the real-time tax and shipping feature, see these pages:

Automatically Export Orders as They Occur

When a customer places an order on your store Yahoo! Merchant Solutions can let you know that an order has been placed by updating Store Manager or by alerting you via email or fax. Alternatively, Yahoo! can export orders automatically to your secure web site through an HTTP post. You will need to provide the web server and a CGI script to receive the orders, which are sent via HTTP post. The order items are sent as key/value pairs in either Yahoo! Order Format or XML, depending on how your configure exporting in Store Manager. You can also choose to receive orders as they occur or in batches of 15.

For more information about the real-time order export, see these pages:

Updating the Order Status Automatically

The order status feature enables you to update the status of an order for your customer. You might want to update the status when the order has actually shipped or when a shipper's tracking number is available. This keeps the customer informed and cuts down on support calls.

To update the order status, send an XML-formatted email to Yahoo! When the email is received Yahoo! Merchant Solutions parses the email and updates the status of the order. Customers returning to the Order Status page will see the updated status, and if they have opted to receive email concerning the order, Yahoo! will also send email. You will need to enable this feature in Store Manager and get a password for submitting the status email to Yahoo!.

For more information on the order status feature, see these pages:

Support & Community

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions advanced topics described on this page are discussed on the ydn-store mailing list.

Ready to get started?

Yahoo Groups Discussions