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Is the Chemical Industry Gliding Into Digital Space?

The digital space keeps expanding, but so is the chemical industry, so is this a sign? Customer presence is an ultimate mantra of the chemical industry. For decades, the sales and marketing discussions have been controlled by exceeding the customers’ needs and offering a unique edge to the customers. However, as we look deeper into the marketing strategy of chemical companies, the most prevalent channels include sales reps, distributors, and account management.

As far as eCommerce, digital interactions, and digital selling points are concerned, they seem to be a matter of niche channels and test-beds. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the chemical industry has reached the first test phase due to increasing customer interaction on digital channels. It disrupted the conventional channel that relied on the in-person interaction of managers and sales representatives and pushed companies to enter the digital paradigm.

Just like everyone else, the chemical companies utilized digital tools such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet to interact with their consumer base, resulting in higher sales volume. Now, the question is, did chemical companies pass this digital test? Is the chemical industry ready to impart into digital space? Honestly, it depends on how they will adopt digitalization. If this sounds interesting, we have more information on the matter

Digital Spaces – Is It A Disruptor Or Another Sales Channel?

When it comes down to market disruption, it’s induced by new market entrants rather than occupants of the industry. With chemical industries, in the last one decade, there’s been an evident increase in the number of digital sales channels. In addition to online stores, there have been side-sell stores, comparison websites, online product distributors, and product specialists. Initially, these markets were focused on the Chinese markets, but various digital spaces have dived into American and European chemical markets.

At this point, it’s fine to question if digital spaces are really the disruptors or sales channels? When looking at the analytics, the track record is pretty mixed. This is because various digital spaces are unable to scale beyond a limited customer segment or are momentary. Moreover, group markets or resourced-supported companies struggled with various issues, such as operating issues, alignment, governance, and funding. Sure, it looks like a failure of the business model, but startups are testing the preferences, up-taking the customers for various engagement models, and setting new standards to meet the seller and buyer preferences.

At this point, it’s needless to say that the global chemical industry accounts for  €3.35 billion, and it’s nothing but a great opportunity for digital spaces. Similarly, the digital marketplaces need to be perceived as innovators that are providing more channels to enhance sales and interact with customers. According to the Accenture 2020 Global Buyer Values Study, it’s important for the consumer base to have access to the chemical industry through digital spaces since it’s more convenient and intuitive. On the other hand, the chemical industry has yet to accept these factors’ importance (yes, they are still miscalculating these things). It’s important to add that different chemical companies have set up online transaction and marketing channels, such as Sigma Aldrich and Dow Corning. However, the third-party distributors and eCommerce platforms have started taking the front row while setting new standards for customer interaction in digital spaces.

What Does It Take For Chemical Companies To Succeed In Digital Space?

It’s obvious that the chemical industry is new to digital space, but there are some concise requirements that can improve this transition and make it successful, such as;

  • The search feature must be user-friendly and convenient to use. In addition, having access to comparison research, formulation search, and product search features will make a convenient experience for customers
  • The requested feature for automated and intuitive information access (it could be supported by machine learning and AI)
  • Providing real-time negotiation and price quotation
  • Allow customers to confirm the delivery dates and check the availability of different dates. In addition, create a feature to help them manage the change in delivery dates
  • The order confirmation should be available on a real-time basis, along with the delivery period and price
  • Lastly, make sure the order fulfillment is on point

To summarize, it’s high time that chemical companies welcome digital spaces to reach and expand the customer base – it’s beneficial, intuitive, and a profit-generating stream, so why not?

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