The Corona crisis accelerates the switch to new digital channels for purchasing and sales. The provider of Europe's two largest online B2B platforms has recorded significantly higher access figures in March and the first weeks of April. This is due to the ongoing Corona crisis.
The leading online B2B marketplace „Wer liefert was“ (wlw) in the DACH region has recorded up to around 25 percent more visits compared to the previous year. Demand is also growing on the European EUROPAGES platform.
Although the entire global economy is being weakened by the Corona crisis, Visable is recording a significant increase in demand on its B2B platforms. With the start of the lockdown in Germany at the beginning of March, visits to wlw also rose steadily week by week, up to 25 per cent more than in the previous year. The same applies to the EUROPAGES website. "For both websites we see a clear correlation between the lockdown, meaning the start of the prescribed movement restrictions, and the increasing number of visits," says Peter F. Schmid, CEO of Visable.
But what is the reason for this? "The Corona crisis poses enormous challenges, especially for medium-sized industrial companies. Many are forced to completely rethink their procurement strategy or are dependent on alternative sources of supply in the short term because established supply chains are breaking away from them. Also, suppliers from surrounding markets with shorter delivery routes are moving back into focus," explains Peter F. Schmid. "Many buyers are now sitting in their home offices and using the time to look for new suppliers". Many companies also switch their production to other products at short notice and therefore require different or more materials than usual. The usually close and trusting cooperation with only a few partners is then often no longer sufficient.
Online marketing as a long-term replacement for trade fairs
With the cancellation of the major international trade fairs this year, one of the previously most important sales channels for companies has also collapsed. Alternatively, online platforms can be used to generate high-quality leads and win new customers at short notice. Even after the end of the restrictions imposed by Corona, it is still necessary to rethink the previous marketing and sales strategies and to focus on more efficient and effective measures and tools. Schmid expects a long-term rethink: "Germany and Europe are still in the very early stages of digitizing business processes, especially in the SME sector. As most marketing and sales money is spent on trade fairs today, online marketing expenditure as a proportion of the total budget is only in the single-digit percentage range".
Significantly more customer enquiries via „Wer liefert was“
The demand for medical products such as ventilators (plus 6065 percent) and disinfectants (plus 430 percent) has increased in recent weeks, in some cases explosively, by four-digit percentages. But not only the number of Corona-specific search queries increased significantly. Currently, building materials (up 47 percent), steel trade and aluminium (72 and 93 percent respectively) are also being called up significantly more frequently via wlw. This significant increase in demand is being received directly by customers. Companies listed on wlw can currently look forward to a significant increase in inquiries.
Digital distribution channels help through the crisis - and beyond
These changed starting conditions put the supply chain management of many companies to the test. "The significantly increased access figures also show us that the demand for digital sourcing, i.e. the digitalization of purchasing and sales processes, is enormous. The current state of emergency is proof that purchasing and procurement will have to completely reposition themselves in the long term and become more digital in order to be prepared for the future. Visable is the leading digital partner for SMEs with its EUROPAGES platforms for the whole of Europe and „Wer liefert was“ in the DACH region as well as with its other digital services, Google Ads and Retargeting".
Top 10 Searches on „Wer liefert was“ and their development in February and March 2020
Top 10 Searches absolute
1 Respiratory masks Respiratory masks
2 Remaining stock Disinfectants
3 Disposable protective masks Toilet paper
4 Disinfectants Disposable protective masks
5 Anti-scratch films Remaining stock
6 Automobiles Food
7 Toys Automobiles
8 Mechanical Engineering Respiratory equipment
9 Metal construction Anti-scratch films
10 Small tractors Clinical thermometer
Top 10 Search Change from February to March in percent
Product Search increas in %
1 Respiratory equipment 6065
2 Toilet paper 5717
3 Isopropanol 2453
4 Used car parts 2388
5 Ethanol 1931
6 Nonwovens for medical applications 1400
7 Trade fairs and exhibitions 1283
8 Elastic bands 755
9 clinical thermometer 693
10 Paving stones 669