In a move which could have a major impact on the traditional high service distribution business model, Conrad Business Supplies is rolling out what it has dubbed the “Conrad Marketplace” for B2B customers in Germany. It plans to extend geographically into the Netherlands and Austria by the end of the year and eventually cover the whole of Europe.
The strategy is to bring suppliers and customers together in a one-stop shop marketplace bypassing the necessity to visit a multitude of distributor sites to source a Bill of Materials.
Manufacturers and distributors of active and passive components, development kits and test and measurement instruments, and other associated electronics equipment will be able to sell products on the site as long as they meet Conrad’s strict quality criteria.
“Over the next two years we will populate the site with 10 million products,” says Conrad CEO Holger Ruban.
The sellers will be clearly identifiable to customers similar to the Amazon model, though Ruban emphasises this is a closed marketplace.
Customers identified by Conrad encompass R&D engineers, design engineers, educational establishments, electronics industry buyers and maintenance and repair bueyers.
Ruban contended that this model will work because of a number of industry trends.
“The number of customers new to using electronics products is growing and that is increasing demand for a wider range of products,” he argues.
“Shorter product lifecycles and time to market is also putting pressure on research and development and design engineers.”
Conrad’s gambit is that a one stop shop will allow buyers to alleviate these pressures.
“All the products they require on one platform,” explains Ruban.
He adds that intelligent networking and trends such as IoT, virtual reality, smart home and digital transformation are changing customer requirements. In addition, non-tech sectors are rapidly developing products for the electronics industry.
At the same time, cost savings due to process optimisation and the reduction of time spent on procurement are becoming increasingly important in companies of all sizes.
“Distributors and manufacturers are faced with new challenges that are difficult to achieve. A large investment would be necessary to address this new and expanded customer base, to keep the infinite but required product portfolio up-to-date and to manage it in real time,” says Ruban.
Features of the site which began beta testing in February include the Conrad-developed ‘ElasticSearch’ which allows a full-text search in real time.
In addition, customers can use an innovative voice search available on the Conrad webshops in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands with all mobile Android devices and with Google Chrome.
The launch of the Conrad Marketplace beta version in Germany will be followed by Austria and the Netherlands in 2017. The complete roll-out in all countries where Conrad has a presence is planned by the end of 2018. The goal is to provide customers with access to over 10 million products over the next two years.
Conrad partners who offer products via the Conrad Marketplace, are selected according to strict quality criteria in order to ensure a high-quality supply chain.