The company formerly known as Yell helps smaller businesses get online in just 10 minutes
Hibu, the directory and Internet services company formerly known as Yell, has launched a platform that allows small and medium-sized businesses to create a website and open an online store in just 10 minutes.
‘Hibu business’ allows users to register a domain, upload product information and put together a display advertising campaign, all through a clear interface that was designed with less technically-minded people in mind.
For more demanding projects, the company offers a consultancy service, with its team of in-house experts able to produce a fully-featured website in as little as a day.
All products are offered on a free 30-day trial. Hibu hopes its platform will help SMBs compete against large multinational companies by taking advantage of mobile technologies, location data and targeted advertising.
Yell had its origins in the Yellow pages division of the BT Group. However, hibu’s latest product is far more than just rehashing of the directory service for the digital age.
The company is an expert on the needs of small to medium businesses, since 98 percent of its advertisers fall into this category. According to research by hibu, 37 percent of SMBs in the UK do not have a website, and among those who have, just a third are actually satisfied with it.
The situation is even more desperate with mobile: 88 percent of SMBs with a website say it is not optimised for smartphones and tablets.
“In business, you need to be where your customers are. Increasingly, customers are online and using smartphones and tablets to find and purchase products locally. Historically, SMEs have not had access to the necessary tools to target those customers,” said Richard Hanscott, UK CEO of hibu.
“With the launch of hibu business, we are providing the most comprehensive set of tools all in one place for SMEs to compete strongly in the online and mobile worlds before it is too late.”
The hibu business platform can take care of every single step a company needs to take to establish itself online. It enables users to obtain a domain, create a website through a simple What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get editor, populate it with content and automatically optimise it for mobile platforms, set up an online store, even order a targeted advertising or email marketing campaign.
All DIY products are backed by round-the-clock phone and email support, and there is already a wealth of tutorials on the hibu website.
The ten minute claim was tested by TechWeekEurope, and holds true. In front of our eyes, Matt Anderson, chief digital officer at hibu, registered a website, chose a template, threw in a few pictures of hypothetical products, set the price, and we were ready to sell.
He said some of the websites used for testing actually had to be accompanied by a disclaimer, to fend off hordes of potential customers that were ready to spend their money. According to Anderson, even more important than speed or ease of use is the fact that hibu allows SMBs to “leapfrog” the desktop website stage and instantly appear on mobile devices.
The service even handles social network integration – every store opened on hibu is automatically duplicated on Facebook, and any item can be shared on Twitter. There’s support for multiple payment systems, and the company handles the bane of any online establishment – search engine optimisation. Best of all, prices start at just £6.99 per month.
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