Hamburg, 11 January 2021. 2020 was year of unprecedented challenges. SMEs all across Europe were forced to suddenly change their established purchasing processes in light of lockdowns as well as many of the leading trade shows being cancelled. It soon became apparent: Those who do not focus on digital sourcing now, will have a hard time emerging from this crisis unscathed. By investing heavily in its products and new talent, Visable has been able to establish itself as a strong digital partner for increased visibility on the internet for industrial SMEs with its EUROPAGES and wlw (formerly "Wer liefert was") platforms.
Since March 2020, traffic numbers on both platforms have steadily increased and are on average 20 percentage points above the previous year. An increase of 23 per cent in new business alone led to a highly profitable record turnover of 58 million euros.
"The developments over the last few months have shown more clearly than ever that medium-sized companies can only look to a successful future if they act digitally. This is proven by our steadily increasing traffic numbers on EUROPAGES and wlw," summarises Peter F. Schmid, CEO of Visable, the past year. With more than 75,000 enquiries a day via the country domains wlw.de, wlw.at and wlw.ch and EUROPAGES with around 190,000 searches a day, Visable's B2B platforms were the most frequently used in Europe. But it was not only the traffic and revenue figures that grew in 2020. Visable created around 50 new jobs last year, bringing the total number of employees to 410 across the Paris, Hamburg, Berlin and Münster locations. The latter was opened in August and ensures the company direct access to the talent of the university location.
Major relaunch with investments in technology and brand identity for wlw
A particular highlight for Visable was the extensive relaunch of its leading platform in the DACH region: In September, "Wer liefert was" officially became wlw. A revamped corporate design including a new logo and claim has since ensured maximum recognisability. At the heart of the new wlw: the AI-based full text search, which replaced its category-based predecessor and thus ensures even more relevant and accurate search results as well as a unique user experience. Another milestone: the wlw Connect service became an equal sourcing option alongside the classic search: "With the use of the new service, the time required in the research process for buyers is reduced by an average of 30 to 50 per cent. Some users report that they only need ten per cent of the usual time on their way to receiving a suitable offer. wlw Connect thus represents a substantial increase in efficiency in the buyer’s daily business," says Schmid about the new service, which represented one of the company's main investments in 2020.
2021 holds further challenges for SMEs but also opportunities for Visable
The global economy is still faced with the challenges posed by the pandemic. The hard lockdown across Europe is ongoing. Many areas of economic life continue to stand still. Already, numerous trade fairs have been cancelled. "Every medium-sized company needs to ask itself: How and where can new customers be found and reached? In this context, the importance of digital platforms and alternatives to trade fairs will continue to increase significantly. Visable supports companies with its own two platforms and services to get through the new year as successfully as possible," explains Schmid and looks optimistically to 2021. "This year, we are aiming for yet another double-digit percentage growth and will continue to invest in our technologies. To achieve this, we will also expand our expertise with new talent and experts, helping SMEs gain more visibility on the web and making procurement as easy and efficient as possible for buyers."
Searches from 221 countries – including the Christmas Islands
EUROPAGES received searches from 221 countries in 2020, most of them from France, Italy and Germany. Beyond Europe, buyers from North Africa, the USA, Asia and South America in particular searched via the platform. One query even came from the remote Christmas Islands. But people from Vatican City, Greenland and Micronesia also searched for products via EUROPAGES in 2020. On wlw, search queries primarily came from the DACH region. However, the USA and China also made the top ten. wlw received queries from more than 200 countries, including the Republic of Fiji, Jamaica and Cambodia. The global use of the platforms illustrates the increasing relevance of e-sourcing for European SMEs – especially in times of uncertain supply chains – as platforms such as EUROPAGES and wlw reliably grant them easy access to international procurement sources.
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