Bloomberg reported that as European steel demand comes under growing pressure, two big suppliers to the bloc are betting on online stores to help attract new clients. It may not sound like groundbreaking plan Internet shoppers around the world can already order anything from a prefabricated house to a human skull yet European steel buyers still make most purchases the same way as they have for decades. That contrasts with steel industries in Russia and China, where e-commerce has developed more rapidly. Now Russian producers Novolipetsk Steel PJSC and Severstal PJSC are hoping to help change that. Both will begin offering online sales of products and services to European Union customers from next year, representatives from the two companies said separately. Mr Viktor Romanovsky, head of e commerce at Severstal, said in an interview in Moscow said that “Europe is far behind in business-to-business Internet sales because it has a very conservative market.”
He added that online shopping offers opportunities to attract new clients and to offer more effective sales to small and medium clients.
It’s been a tough year for steel in Europe, as sales are squeezed by weak automotive demand. Domestic producers are also facing competition from cheaper imports and surging iron ore prices hurt profit margins.
Germany’s Kloeckner & Co. has already launched an online platform, XOM Materials, for selling steel and related products. Severstal has signed on to XOM as a way of testing the market, before it opens its own online store to European clients next year, Romanovsky said. The company was offered a stake in XOM but has not made a decision on whether to make an investment, he said.
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/russian-steel-giants-plan-to-go-online-with-european-sales-1.1304182 (Ukrainian metal)