What The Lexity Buy Says About Yahoo’s Commerce Clout

YahooShoppingYahoo bought back old talent in the form of Amit Kumar with the acquisition of e-commerce startup Lexity, which he founded four years ago.

A former engineer and head of product management for Yahoo Search, Kumar graduated to display ads startup Dapper.net, which was snapped up by Yahoo three years ago for $55 million and has since evolved into a Web-based data-mapping service.

Newly named VP and head of the Small Business Platform at Yahoo, Kumar rejoins the ranks as the company marshals troops toward a mobile strategy, recently acquiring AdMovate, Alike and other mobilecentric companies. Yahoo’s latest acqui-target is social browsing startup Rockmelt.

With Lexity, “the big question is how this helps Yahoo regain relevance in the space,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research. “The tech and talent is a big opportunity for a leapfrog move and Yahoo’s challenge will be to execute on it.”

On the solutions side, all Lexity products, services and initiatives will carry over through the Yahoo transition, according to a Lexity blog post. Lexity, which once operated as “Vurve,” will be rebranded under Yahoo. More resources will go toward the second life of Lexity Live, a visitor-tracking and analytics platform for e-commerce sites.

Another opportunity for Yahoo lies in Lexity’s Open Commerce Cloud Platform, a central spot for developers to distribute their apps on multiple e-commerce platforms ranging from eBay’s Magento to Shopify, Bigcommerce and the Amazon Webstore.

Additionally, Lexity has a host of apps to get small-business commerce shops up and running with Facebook retargeting and Google Shopping. Some additional apps that will be added include Amazon Shopping, including Amazon Product Ads, Search Marketing, Behavioral Targeting and Ambassador, a Shopify marketing app that lets users track social referrals and tie them back to CRM systems like Salesforce.com or email marketing campaigns through MailChimp.

“Given the importance of two-way communications [social sharing and the impact of peers on buying behavior] … there is a large impact on loyalty [and] repeat purchases,” commented Mike Ni, CMO of cloud-commerce platform company Avangate. “There is great pressure on companies like Yahoo to continue to provide its customers with ways to leverage its huge store of data, engage and then monetize that engagement.”

From a market perspective, Ni added, “Yahoo’s continued ability to spend cash to acquire cool tech certainly expands their competitiveness in commerce, if not just by acquiring Lexity’s long list of merchants who use the platform and introducing them to the rest of Yahoo’s solutions.”

Kumar did not respond to a request for comment.

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