How to safely buy materials online

Article Highlights

  • The pros and cons of buying chemicals online
  • Advantages to buying chemicals online
  • Disadvantages to buying chemicals online
  • How to ensure regulatory compliance
  • How BluePallet can help
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 57 seconds. 

B2C has long led the way when it comes to buying and selling goods online; shopping online with a few clicks is now a normal part of life. Unfortunately, the B2B industry—specifically chemicals—has been slow in keeping up. 

That’s largely because when it comes to buying B2B goods online, it gets a little more complicated—unless you have the right tools for the job. 

Customer proximity is commonplace in the chemical industry, with most companies understanding its importance and following established sales processes and channels. However, COVID-19 changed everything in the world of B2B eCommerce.

Image Source 

Traditional sales channels that relied on physical interaction with sales reps closed, forcing companies to go digital. Most switched to Zoom, Skype, and other digital means to connect with customers, and sales picked back up. But what is the state of online chemical sales now? Is it here to stay? How do companies ensure regulatory compliance? Let's take a closer look.

There are plenty of advantages to buying restricted materials online, but there are also risks to be aware of. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to keep you safe while shopping for your business.

Advantages to buying chemicals online

  • More choices in quantity and variety: Purchasing chemicals online gives you access to a greater variety of products at lower prices. Shopping online also means you're not limited by geographical location—you can buy things you couldn't get otherwise.

  • Convenience: Buying chemicals online is more convenient than traveling long distances or waiting for overpriced deliveries from your local chemical supplier; especially small businesses that rely on chemicals to run their entire operation. Being able to get what’s needed right away has obvious benefits in efficiency alone.

  • Better availability: Buying online means not having to wait for stock to arrive in your area. This often results in higher profit margins and less downtime.

  • Workflows are sped up with the right tools: When shopping online, you can take advantage of the convenience that comes with online shopping. You can buy all the tools and supplies to speed up your workflow; everything from distilled water, various grades of sandpaper, spray bottles, stencils and much more: it's always available.


Disadvantages to buying chemicals online 

  • Unreliable suppliers: Since there are existing regulation issues regarding the process of buying chemicals, it's easy for unscrupulous sellers to take advantage of new customers by selling them fake products.

  • Legal risk: If you break the law while trying to order something online (e.g., an ingredient that's considered a drug in your country), you may be held responsible, even if it was not your intention to break the law. This is yet another downside of online purchasing—there are many legal gray zones when it comes to trading chemicals

  • Varying shipping times: Since buyers sometimes have no choice but to work with whatever supplier happens to list the product they need, they're at the mercy of that supplier's shipping times—ranging from a few weeks to months.

  • Ethical issues: There are also ethical issues regarding manufacturing. Most companies will claim they conduct corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to improve ethical practices in the manufacturing process, but this is not true in many cases. Suppliers are instructed to put company profits above all else, and CSR programs are a way of having consumers pay for what would otherwise be external costs or risks that companies refuse to take on willingly. 

How to ensure regulatory compliance

First and foremost, ensure that your policies for suppliers and subcontractors reflect your commitment to health and safety standards. 

Your suppliers should provide third-party certifications for each product they manufacture, such as the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification required by ISO. Such certification can be a useful tool in avoiding counterfeiters who use unapproved ingredients or processes. 

Additionally, do your research. Don’t rely on the supplier’s website alone: user reviews can be an invaluable source of information to help avoid counterfeit products or sub-par goods. 

Information is key when it comes to buying restricted materials online. Knowing the pros and cons can save you valuable time, reduce unnecessary costs, and improve your buying experience. Additionally, work with a platform or supplier that’s familiar with - and uses - the KYB and KYC concepts.

How BluePallet Can Help

BluePallet's end-to-end chemical commerce platform provides solutions for buyers to conveniently purchase materials online and securely connect with an expansive network of suppliers and distributors. We are familiar with KYB/KYC, and provide third-party certifications for peace of mind. 

Manage your inventory, online payments, and streamline order tracking—all from one user-friendly platform. We also provide buyers with access to information that wasn't available before, so you can find out more than ever before when you shop. Buyers can also read user reviews on vendors' products, often backed up by customer service reps and technical support. 

To learn more about BluePallet's solutions, get in touch and speak to our team today.

If you found this article helpful, share it on your social media channels.

Back to Blog