Wix has landed another big fish in the ongoing battle for dominance in the small business website space. Before we saw the announcement land in our inboxes, the Wix team was spreading the news across LinkedIn that UK digital publisher Yell has chosen Wix as its new website partner.
This is a big win for Wix, which has emerged as a business development juggernaut in the local space.
Introducing ‘Smart Websites’
Wix will serve as the technology provider for a new Yell product billed as ‘Smart Websites – powered by Wix’.
Here is what Yell CEO Claire Miles said about the deal in a statement.
“This partnership with Wix ensures we can offer a truly unique website proposition to UK SMEs. We know SMEs have had to be creative in keeping their businesses up and running during the pandemic and they’ve told us a key priority is being able to establish a prominent and successful online presence.
“We can now meet this need in better ways than ever before, with our digital experts building brilliant websites packed with enhanced functionality using the world-class Wix platform, and our customer care agents providing ongoing support for customers once their website is up and running. [Yell] chose Wix as our partner as their market-leading technology and ongoing commitment to invest in their platform ensures we will always be able to offer a best-in-class solution to our customers.”
The comment about “commitment to invest in their platform” is telling. It suggests that a player of Wix’s scale (its market cap is more than $16 billion) can more easily make the case that they can keep pace with the product improvement cycle.
An Iconic UK Brand
Yell was known for decades as Britain’s print Yellow Pages publisher. However, the company’s last print directory hit the curb in Brighton in January 2019. Today the company offers an online directory plus a range of digital marketing solutions that includes websites. The company claims it has 104,400 customers as of the end of its 2021 financial year.
Covid was hard on Yell’s business. For the year ending March 31, 2021, revenues fell 27%. By comparison, the revenue decline was 17.6% for the year ending March 31, 2020.
“Revenue decreased 27% compared to the prior year primarily driven by a significant decline in the first quarter of the financial year during the first Covid-19 lockdown. In the last three quarters, despite ongoing restrictions and a smaller salesforce, quarterly revenue declined by just 3%,” Yell’s parent company Hibu Group reported in its earnings statement.
Yellow offers a full suite of digital solutions — websites, video, listings, reputation management, PPC, etc. And it divides its offerings across three categories, presence, Yell.com (its proprietary directory), and performance.
With Wix, Yell seems intent on adding more functionality to its website offering.
More than Websites
You may be wondering what is so “smart” about these new Yell-Wix websites. Here is what the two companies say about the new solution.
“These sites will be optimized for all devices as standard and SSL certified, providing a fast, secure, and engaging online experience for visitors.
“In addition, to further support SMEs as they build their business profile post lockdown, the new Smart Websites also offer extensive analytics, built-in Customer Relationship Management capabilities, automated task triggers, appointment and restaurant bookings, event management facilitation, and acceptance of credit cards, and other forms of payments.”
Here is what Wix Chief Business Officer Yaniv Vakrat said about the new partnership.
“We’re thrilled to bring Wix’s platform to the tens of thousands of businesses working with Yell. This collaboration provides Yell customers with a professionally designed and secure website, optimised for all search engines and devices. And most importantly, [it] gives them the ability to build and grow their online business.
“Consumers are increasingly shopping and searching online. And business owners need to ensure they have a great online presence to meet this demand. Our partnership allows Yell to continue providing their customers with market-leading solutions.