Walk through a Virtual Marketplace

The modern world has evolved to the point that most things needed in life are available for delivery. Websites allow consumers to get anything and everything delivered right to their door: pizza, groceries, medicine, laundry, and epoxies and related products. Many people, however, still have the common misapprehension that all websites are floundering economically and nearing extinction, when that is far from the truth. While many websites have failed, there are still those that are not only surviving, but thriving.

What separates the successful dot-coms from the dot bombs? We have found that success in the virtual marketplace is not achieved by replacing the traditional procurement methods, but rather by supplementing those existing procurement channels and adding a new level of service beyond the traditional venues. The businesspeople we work with are learning from past failures, and realizing that a winning website may just be the edge their company needs to succeed in today's global economy. These new e-commerce initiatives, however, must complement - not compete with - a company's existing business.

E-epoxy.com is designed exclusively for the sale of epoxy resins and related products. The site currently offers epoxy products from The Dow Chemical Co. and silicone-based products from Dow Corning.

The site is intended for those who can work with straightforward business rules, such as ordering in full and half-load quantities, a fixed payment term, and penalties for order changes and cancellations. The site currently accepts orders for delivery in North America, Western Europe, Central Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

The website seeks to add an additional, and easier, way to generate more business. Since its launch in January 2001, it has surpassed sales goals and reached profitability within its first year. We think this occurred because the site offers something different, yet it still does not compete with our company's existing sales force.

Its straightforward business rules establish the site as a channel for formulators of epoxy coatings to easily and quickly purchase epoxies and related products without developing long-term relationships with suppliers. Customers ordering a set amount of product without needing technical support or other services will benefit from the convenience of using the site, while customers seeking a range of services and purchasing options should take advantage of a traditional sales force.

Preparing to Order

Ordering products online is easy and efficient. Prospective customers begin the online procurement process by scanning the list of products offered at that day's price. Regularly updated, cost-competitive product pricing is available on the public pages of the site, listed in U.S. dollars, euro and yen. Pricing information aids in expediting purchasing decisions, reducing procurement time and expenses. Although all visitors to the site are able to view prices, only those who have pre-registered for an account are able to place an order. Registration is easy and can be completed right on the site. A short credit check is required before a customer places the first order.

Once a prospective customer has evaluated the prices, the next step is reviewing the products. Customers can save time by obtaining immediate access to all necessary documentation and product information such as product specifications and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). Product information is available in languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Once a product selection is made, a simple click of the "Order Now" button will start the ordering process.

Step 1 - Primary Order Info

After choosing their product, customers enter delivery and quantity information. Shipping, invoice and payment information is stored for registered users. Simple drop-down lists identify where the order is to be delivered and the invoice sent. After choosing a quantity, the site calculates the total cost. The site offers a secure and reliable, low-risk transaction environment, including: multi-level firewalls that prevent specific types of information from being accessed; built-in time outs that delete incomplete orders after 30 minutes; and data encryption and server authentication.

Step 2 - Scheduling Delivery

The next step in the order process is scheduling a delivery date. Lead times are built in for product availability and shipping to ensure on-time delivery. The site offers 24-hour access, so purchasers are always able to access necessary products and information.

Step 3 - Review Order Details

After carefully reviewing their order, customers complete the online process. An automatic screen response appears, notifying that the order has been sent. A complete order history of each account is maintained, which can be used to check the status of open orders, review order details, or ask a question about an order.


The site is a success, and can be a model to other e-commerce initiatives. It is about offering customers new choices. Constantly evolving, and looking to add strategic partnerships as it did last year with Dow Corning, e-epoxy.com will continue to offer coatings formulators a variety of products possible for them to best complete their projects.

For more information, visit www.e-epoxy.com. Specific questions can be directed to Mr. John Everett, the site leader, at jeverett@e-epoxy.com.