Royal DSM—a multibillion-dollar science-based manufacturer involved in nutrition, health and sustainable living products—has opened a new storefront on chemical industry marketplace Knowde.
DSM’s new storefront on Knowde allows shoppers to search and filter products, receive quotes and order samples. It features 43 DSM brands—such as Valance Touch 210 skin enhancer powder used in various cosmetic applications—and 115 ingredients for customer markets such as skin care, hair care, color cosmetics and fragrances.
“Today, we are aiming to facilitate a better and richer customer experience through easy access and great functionality of the Knowde platform, especially around search and product filtering,” says Rishabh Pande, vice president, marketing and innovation at DSM Personal Care & Aroma.
While on the storefront, DSM shoppers can browse all 115 ingredients or search for specific categories. When they want more information about a specific product, buyers can click through to the product page to find a detailed product summary, documents including safety data sheets, such product details as ingredients and certifications, and product formulations. They can also request samples. The storefront offers customers 24/7 support and live expert advice.
“We have also established an extensive marketing trend section on our storefront to provide inspiration to our customers on how our products can be used in their final market products,” Pande says.
DSM joins hundreds of other suppliers in the chemical industry that have expanded their digital presence on the marketplace.
A critical step in DSM’s digital strategy
DSM’s partnership with Knowde is a critical step in the company’s broad digitalization strategy, which aims to drive growth and improve efficiency in customer intimacy, operational performance and the realization of new business models, Pande says. “From improving top-line results via enhanced customer data analytics and collaboration tools, to reducing costs via automation and supporting an entrepreneurial approach, DSM’s digital ambitions will fuel opportunities to grow business and deepen customer relationships,” he says.
Digital communication and ecommerce, he adds, are becoming increasingly important to the chemical industry. And Knowde CEO Ali Amin-Javaheri agrees.
“The movement toward selling online within the chemical industry has always been inevitable,” Amin-Javaheri says. “But chemical companies are extremely slow in adopting new technology.” Marketplaces in the consumer world, such as Amazon or Airbnb, have dramatically changed the way consumers interact with brands. And demographics among B2B buyers are changing, with more young buyers in the chemical space demanding more digital purchasing options.
Reaching more customers
“Historically, this industry has been dependent on field salespeople, and that can be a very expensive way to interact with customers,” Amin-Javaheri says. “Now, all of these chemical companies are trying to figure out how to interact with more customers by extending their reach—while doing it at a lower cost. And that’s where Knowde’s value proposition really syncs to the market.”
A chemical supplier on Knowde pays a flat fee to create its online storefront. Once that storefront is up and running on the marketplace, the supplier pays an annual subscription to maintain their storefront and generate leads. “As customers come into their store and ask for samples and quotes, the supplier gets new leads,” Amin-Javaheri says.
Suppliers also can complete sales transactions on the marketplace. Knowde takes a commission on each transaction.
Since it launched in 2017, Knowde has added hundreds of chemical suppliers to its marketplace. In addition to DSM, DuPont de Nemours Inc., Sasol and Allnex have storefronts on Knowde, as well as smaller chemical companies. And, according to Amin-Javaheri, the company continues to grow. “Our growth is phenomenal,” he says. “We continue to add suppliers—from big household names to smaller chemical companies.”
Knowde’s proprietary search algorithm and AI technologies are designed to help buyers to find, compare and sample products from hundreds of suppliers, Knowde says. All buyers, research and development, and marketing professionals can access Knowde for free.
Pande says DSM’s new Knowde storefront is an important step that is enabling the company to expand its digital presence and provide an enhanced customer experience. “We chose Knowde because they are an innovative player and will transform the way the chemical industry does business through their proprietary search algorithm and unique taxonomy, providing a cutting-edge online experience to our customers,” he adds.
In addition to Knowde, DSM uses other channels to sell to its customers. It sells directly to some customers both online and offline, and it also has an extensive global distributors’ network, so customers can be quickly served by centralized distribution centers in each of the five regions in which DSM operates.
By selling on Knowde, Pande says he expects the improved search functionality, as well as 24/7 support and live expert advice the storefront offers, will help DSM deliver on the customer needs even more quickly and efficiently.
DSM, which doesn’t break out figures on ecommerce sales, reported 2019 total net sales of 9.01 billion euros (US$10.65 billion).
Cate Flahardy is a Chicago-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.
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