IBM and business internet specialist Pipex today rolled out WebSell, billed as a £15 per month one-stop service for small businesses looking to trade online.
The companies have trained their sights on the UK's SME market, promising to make ecommerce "as easy as setting up a spreadsheet" for small businesses at a much reduced cost.
The launch will be backed by a hefty marketing campaign over the next few months, including advertising in specialist business magazines and direct campaigns to existing IBM and Pipex customers. Co-marketing with 300 resellers is also planned.
The £15 per month charge covers internet access, hosting, logistics and a CD containing web design templates, sample graphics and tutorials. In addition, phone support is provided at 0870 rates, and each business is given a named contact by Pipex to manage their account. Existing Pipex Dial subscribers can sign to receive the service free of charge. Previously, ecommerce packages for SMEs have retailed for £300 and upwards.
Pipex also offers web-shy businesses a fully comprehensive web design service, creating a site which includes a catalogue and five web page sections for £349 + VAT. Pipex managing director Dave Rickards said anybody who knows how to create a spreadsheet is computer literate enough to set up an ecommerce site with WebSell.
"It's as easy to set up as a spreadsheet, so nobody will now be able to use the excuse that [they] don't know how to write a website to avoid getting involved in ecommerce," he told vnunet.com.
"We find the biggest problems faced by small businesses when considering doing business on the web are lack of time and technical skills, and we've removed those obstacles with WebSell," he added.
Pipex says around three per cent of its existing customers have signed up for the service, which has been free since the product became available three weeks ago.
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