On the 1st August, 2018, Bayer Crop Science China Ltd announced presence in Alibaba’s online retail marketplace Taobao, thus having begun its e-business service. Coincidentally, the other specialty chemicals company Solvay, at the beginning of this year, already launched a flagship online store in Alibaba’s B2B platform 1688.com, being Solvay’s one and only brand flagship online store in the world.
Bayer Crop Science says that, with agriculture being hit by smart phone and electronics, more and more farmers would like to make purchases via convenient e-shopping including purchase of agricultural material products. However, while enjoying the easy e-shopping, to get the real deal and to avoid fake products have become a key concern for farmers. It is for this reason that Bayer Crop Science launches its online brand store, which allows farmers to make purchases at any time to get authentic products of Bayer Crop Science, without having to worry about the fakes.
Clicking to open the official e-shop of Bayer Crop Science, almost a full line-up of products of Bayer Crop Science are found on show, of which the Luna Sensation (100ml) sells for Yuan 130, as recommended by shop manager. It is understood that Luna Sensation sells normally at prices of Yuan 110 to 130 on the market, indicating that online selling is not cheaper than in-store selling.
Critics say that online selling at such pricing has not got any advantages. The online presence of Bayer Crop Science is just an image show of the company and its products. Some people say that the online selling, which is priced high, plus the cost of delivery, aims at safeguarding in-store selling offline rather than for the purpose of selling.
Some experts say that the high profile of opening of online stores of foreign companies is actually a reflection of their market anxiety, which is brought about by the implementation of China’s unified specialist prevention and control strategy and the rapid development of aerial crop protection. Foreign companies are trying to establish direct connection with agrochemical end-users and aerial crop protection organizations. This kind of connection is not a real trading connection, but is more a presentation of product image. Foreign companies will be faced with challenges as how to handle properly the relation between online selling and in-store selling.
Agricultural materials e-business has experienced a roller coaster-like development in China, beginning from 2014 when e-business was discussed by everyone and touched upon by many companies, up to these 2 years when it comes to silence. In the interim, there even comes a time when a dozen well-known agrochemical companies collectively impose a ban on e-business. For a long time, agricultural materials e-business has not been a focus of attention until this year when opening of online stores of prime companies one after another triggers another discussion whether agricultural materials e-business will make a comeback.
In actual fact, there has not yet been a real successful case of agricultural e-business in China. However, the competition in conventional mode of dealership as well as in innovative mode of distribution is never ending. Many people hold the view that the change in marketing mode of agricultural materials will be in general the trend in the future.
Having read the news of the opening of the online store of Bayer Crop Science, AgroPages has consulted some companies if they would want to follow. There are no definite answers. It is believed that after the “rush to follow” last time, companies will appear more rational towards the rise of a new trend.