Linde Canada Ltd. is giving its business customers a trendy gift: treating them like consumers who can easily shop online across mobile devices or desktop computers. The manufacturer and distributor of gases, welding and cutting equipment, and safety supplies has rolled out responsive web design on its e-commerce site, enabling the site to automatically adapt its content to display properly on any device.
“We have observed how our customers have used our WebShop over the past several years, and our redesign is based on making it easier for them to do online business with Linde,” says Robert Parkanyi, e-business manager for Linde’s North America operations.
Mississauga, Ontario-based Linde Canada’s e-commerce site, dubbed WebShop, provides product descriptions, images and prices for more than 10,000 products. The mobile version now renders content as well as many consumer e-commerce sites, Parkanyi says.
“Business-to-business customers have come to expect that their online purchasing experience be as pleasant and user-friendly as their business-to-consumer experience is when they are not at work,” he says. “Our redesign provides the B2C experience to our B2B customers.”
Linde Canada plans more e-commerce updates, including online live chat and a mobile app customers can use to scan the bar codes of empty gas cylinders for re-orders, find the closest Linde store and get directions.
Linde Canada is part of Linde North America, Murray Hill, N.J. Both are units of The Linde Group of Munich, Germany. Linde Group manufactures and distributes gases and other products in a range of industries including energy, healthcare, chemical and fertilizer. It also provides supply chain technology and management services. Through the first nine months of fiscal 2016, Linde Group reported total revenue of 12.97 billion euros ($13.77 billion), down 4.3% from 13.55 billion euros ($14.39 billion) in the same period of fiscal 2015.The company has about 65,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide.
In December, Praxair Inc. agreed to buy Linde for about 33.90 billion euros ($36.0 billion). The deal, still undergoing a regulatory review, would create the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases. The announcement came three months after a previous acquisition attempt by Praxair failed on concern over job losses in Germany. Shares of Danbury, Conn.-based Praxair would be converted one for one into stock in a new company that will offer to buy Munich-based Linde, the companies said in a joint statement in December.
Praxair won over Linde’s board by agreeing to keep operations in Munich and preserve jobs. Linde guaranteed no forced layoffs until 2022, according to a union statement issued in late December. The companies described the deal as a merger of equals, and took steps to avoid the appearance of a Praxair acquisition of Linde.
“They call it a merger of equals, but it seems like the Americans will play a dominant part sooner or later,” Bernhard Weininger, an analyst at Independent Research, Frankfurt, Germany, said after the deal was announced. “In reality, there is no such thing as a merger of equals.”
The combined entity will bear the Linde name and its stock will be listed in New York and Frankfurt. Praxair CEO Steve Angel and Linde chairman Wolfgang Reitzle would keep the same titles if the merger passes regulatory scrutiny.
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Bloomberg News contributed to this report.