As many will agree, the industrial gases sector is still very traditional in its operation, based on strong cultural and organizational paradigms. It’s still very customer-oriented and local in nature. As a result, e-commerce is basically changing that business model, that culture, within our industry. It is essentially a paradigm shift, something that in turn can create confusion and even a sense of fear.
It’s been a thought process in the U.S. market for the past few years, for example, as distributors grapple with rapidly evolving sales and marketing platforms in physical goods channels – and for a long time to come. for a while have viewed Amazon as a threat to their business. However, these thought processes have recently accelerated at the height of the pandemic, with various bottlenecks and traditional businesses dealing with customers no longer being so straightforward.
For this reason, DDS offers its advice and serves its growing customer base – and helps them improve their business. As avid readers (and observers) of gasas the world will know, DDS has partnered with us on several occasions throughout 2021 to talk about the importance of e-commerce and improving this important customer experience.
Here in the next installment of our 12 days of content series, we catch up with Matt Christensen, president of Distributor Data Solutions, once again to learn more about the company’s crazy 2021, the opportunities over the next five years, and these very important goals for the business.
gasworld (GW): Thanks for taking the time to speak to us today, Matt. Why not start by telling us what you think has been the most exciting application or growth driver for industrial gases this year?
Matt Christensen (MC): For us, its distributors entering the world of e-commerce, especially in light of the increasing pressure to serve customers online. There is huge potential for their digital growth as well as their ability to provide their customers with an exceptional customer experience.
GW: Webinars have been the focus of DDS in 2021. The company has hosted several of its own webinars and hosted an introductory webinar on gasworld TV. Why don’t you tell us about these offers, why they are so beneficial and what were the key topics?
MC: First of all, we would like to thank gasworld for supporting us with these webinars as we focus on the various benefits of product data.
In 2021, we took a look at some of the benefits for distributors, such as the value and impact that high-quality product images and videos can have throughout the customer’s buying process. Having more of this rich information makes customers spend more time on distributor websites and ultimately drives sales, not only online, but through other traditional sales channels as well.
In 2022, we will continue to develop the perspective of distributors, as well as talk about the many benefits for manufacturers. These webinars are invaluable in helping us put ourselves in front of viewers that we might not otherwise be able to reach.
GW: What were the other highlights of DDS in 2021?
MC: We launched our exclusive and extensive bottled gas product content that has been developed in-house and in collaboration with industry experts, as well as numerous contributions from our distributor customers. This has been a huge success and a major differentiator for DDS customers. No one has ever attempted to create personalized, detailed bottled gas content in this industry, for use in e-commerce – we did, and it was an instant success.
GW: Where do you see the biggest opportunity for DDS in the next five years?
MC: For us, it’s about improving the content of the product. We see great opportunities to make data exchange faster, easier and much more efficient, for everyone involved. We also see opportunities in how various analyzes can help manufacturers and distributors.
GW: Finally, in the spirit of the period and theme of this series, if you could make a Christmas wish for the industrial gas industry, what would it be and why?
MC: We would love to see (and help) every Distributor go live this year, so they can continue to grow and deliver the experience their customers want in a changing business landscape.