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XOM White Paper: Accelerate into the digital age

Published on October 18, 2019

2 min read

Startups are disrupting entire industries, but incumbents still have the benefit of experience. How can legacy businesses make the most of their expertise and prepare themselves for the digital future?

Digitization has rattled legacy companies in almost every sector and has opened up entirely new avenues for doing business. Market changes have occurred seemingly overnight, and indeed many digital-native startups have overturned long-standing business models in a matter of months. Nonetheless, the materials industry has so far largely resisted digital trends, despite the fact that its high fragmentation makes it vulnerable to disruption by major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon.

However, legacy businesses are wrong to regard digitization as a bogeyman. Digitization correlates with higher revenues, increased numbers of customer leads, and an increase in first-time customers. Digital platforms can also dramatically reduce the costs of information gathering and tracking, shipping, documentation and verification, and staffing. Because digital platforms can boost efficiency and streamline operations, digital-resistant incumbents are also missing out on valuable opportunities for growth and the chance to protect themselves against unforeseen changes in the market.

Improve customer experience through digitization

Business-to-business (B2B) incumbents seeking to capitalize on the advantages of digitization should act quickly. If these companies wait too long, Amazon or other digital giants could swallow up their market share. Materials procurement leaders can either choose to disrupt their own businesses or be disrupted by these massive distributors.

Fortunately, by building on their existing strengths, incumbents can leverage significant advantages over digital disruptors. Amazon cannot substitute for legacy brand recognition, experience and expertise, and customer relationships built up over years or even decades. Furthermore, research shows that digitizing relationship models increases revenues, and targeted data analytics and monitoring enhances customer interaction. This suggests that incumbents should continue to invest in existing relationships and look for ways to improve customer experience through digitization.

Make use of platforms now

Rather than compete with digital disruptors, many incumbents in the materials industry would be well advised to adopt an independent third-party digital platform that can help them scale. XOM Materials brings together industry expertise and digital fluency to provide an intuitive solution that not only prepares incumbents for the future but also enhances their current performance. In the short term, adopters enjoy efficiency gains and optimized workflows; in the long term, they enter the digital future smarter and stronger than ever.

Read the whole White Paper

Our White Paper provides more insights: “Digitization for incumbents: Getting materials sales and procurement up to speed in the digital age“. You can download it here as a PDF file:

Download White Paper

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