Amazon launches YoYo to make toy-shopping fun

Kids love toys. But the sheer number of toys and games always hitting the market — and the fact that kids’ interests can change a lot in short periods of time — can make toy shopping a big drag for grownups. On Tuesday, e-commerce giant (s AMZN) is launching a new site called YoYo to make the toy shopping experience a lot easier.

YoYo has been in development since late 2010 by a team at Quidsi, the wholly owned Amazon subsidiary that runs baby-products site, health-and-beauty-products site, and pet-supply site

YoYo was built with two main aims, site leader Galyn Bernard said in an interview Monday: To host a huge assortment of merchandise and to do so without giving users the feeling of being overwhelmed that can often come from toy shopping.

From the outset, it looks like the site’s biggest asset against competitors such as the Toys”R”Us website is YoYo’s simple site interface and its personalized recommendation features. YoYo has a “Toy Finder” search engine that allows people to search for toys based on age, gender and price point; users can then drill down further to only see toys that fall into categories such as being eco-friendly, award winning, no battery required, or no assembly required. The site also incorporates an editorial element by featuring lists of recommended brands hand-picked by YoYo staff; YoYo says it does not accept money or advertisements from toy brands it features.

“We were really thinking about delivering a very clean and organized site experience. We want to mimic that neighborhood toy shop experience, where you can walk in and tell the owner, ‘I’m I’m looking for something for a 7-year-old boy who likes dinosaurs,'” Bernard said. “In a friendly, straightforward way, YoYo can help you find that, and we’re always open and delivering to your doorstep.”  YoYo is launching in the United States on Tuesday with a selection of 20,000 toys, books, video games and collectibles. Just like other Quidsi sites, YoYo will offer free two-day shipping on orders of $49 or more.

That YoYo is launching now, just as back-to-school season is on the wane, means it can get on consumers’ radar just in time before the holiday toy shopping frenzy begins. If people think YoYo’s clean site design is as fun to use as the company hopes, kids might be even more spoiled than ever by the time 2011 ends.

Here are a few screenshots of YoYo (click to enlarge):