Royal Mail is working with London company ePages Software to provide a new platform to help SME retailers set up websites and ecommerce operations.
The service offers a range of packages for small and medium-sized enterprises with differing needs, from a basic marketing option, which includes help with email and postal marketing, websites and an option providing a full eShop.
In each case, users are offered data lists of 1,000 to 2,000 sales prospects, along with a set number of email and postal mailshots each month, as well as up to 40% off parcel postage via Parcelforce.
Packages start at GBP 28 (plus VAT) for the simple marketing option, up to GBP 68 for the eShop option.
ePages said SMEs that are active online grow four times faster than those that do not. The company said the new service will not require previous technical knowledge or design skills.
The new offering is being made available at simplewaystogrow.com, which is now undergoing a beta development period working with up to 300 customers. A spokesperson for the project told Post&Parcel the beta testing should last about six months before a full launch, depending on the popularity of the service.
Although users are not bound in to using Royal Mail or Parcelforce delivery services, discounts up to 40% are being offered to make the most of the added-value offering in building the company’s parcel volumes.
Discounts include 20% off for booking parcel collections online, 30% off UK expressAM deliveries booked online and 40% for expressAM deliveries when items are dropped off at a Parcelforce depot.
Gary Simpson, Parcelforce’s CEO, said: “We’re excited that Simple Ways to Grow allows us to really help growing companies at such an important stage in the life of their businesses.”
Wilfried Beeck, the chief executive at ePages, said the new platform would support SMEs either in start-up mode or in a growth phase of their business.
“Small businesses are a key driver of economic growth – in fact they’re now responsible for over 50% of turnover in the UK economy,” he said.
“That’s why it’s crucial that we make it as easy as possible for small businesses to succeed, and why I’m pleased that ePages is a part of Royal Mail’s Simple Ways to Grow initiative.”
Alongside the different business packages, the Simple Ways to Grow project promises to provide its SME customers with business and marketing advice and help access to potential suppliers and partners.
Commercial partners in the project include mailing information specialist DBS Data, email mailshot and hybrid mail company Docmail, business consultancy Enterprise Nation accounting software firm FreeAgent, email marketing firm NewZapp and stationery suppliers printed.com.
Dave Broadway, managing director of Docmail said: “Simple Ways to Grow is an innovative approach to small business services. The inclusion of Docmail means that customers have instant access to one of the fastest-growing hybrid mail solutions in the UK.”
Source: Post&Parcel/ePages/Docmail/Royal Mail