Just about a year after redesigning its e-commerce portal for U.S. customers, a global distributor of chemical products is taking it first steps to expand portal access overseas.
In 2016 Univar Inc., a worldwide distributor of “specialty and basic” chemicals used in industrial and consumer products from a network of more than 8,000 suppliers, launched MyUnivar.com as an e-commerce platform. The technology offers customers new features such as two-click re-ordering, personalized product recommendations and instant downloads of SDS documents to expedite service for customers, as well as purchasing.
Now, Univar, which is based in suburban Chicago and generated 2017 total sales of $2.825 billion, has expanded access to MyUnivar to customers in Canada. Univar claims to operate the largest distribution network of its kind in Canada and in recent years, has seen demand increase for online purchasing capabilities, similar to the online purchasing trends seen in business-to-consumer e-commerce, the company says. “The next generation of buyers, supply chain professionals and purchasing leads expect the same convenience and ease of access they experience on consumer e-commerce sites,” says Univar Canada president Mike Hildebrand.
MyUnivar.com, built on the CloudCraze e-commerce platform from Salesforce.com Inc., has produced steady increases in web traffic since it relaunched, as customers use it to access documents and place and track orders from any desktop or mobile device, David Jukes, Univar Inc. president and CEO, says.
In Canada, MyUnivar will offer buyers in Canadian industries such as energy, forestry, water treatment and pharmaceuticals access to an online inventory of more than 10,000 products. “It is our goal to be the number one destination for digital content and commerce in our industry,” Hildebrand says.
Univar, which says it operates hundreds of distribution facilities throughout North America, Western Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, isn’t saying when it plans to roll out the e-commerce portal to international markets. Univar also doesn’t break out e-commerce sales.
But the company is making e-commerce and the web a strategic priority, Jukes says. “We are investing in our own digital efforts and that’s really going to help us transform our business overall,” Jukes told analysts on the company’s second quarter earnings call in July. “MyUnivar launched in Canada and that’s because now we’ve taken that platform, made it multilingual, multicurrency and so it can roll right across the world.”
Univar is scheduled to break out earnings for the third quarter on Nov. 6.
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