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Decoding the b2c behaviour of b2b customers in India’s chemicals market

Dr Prashant Pandey, R & D and Regulatory Director, Diversey

Diversey’s Prosumer vertical caters to businesses that behave like consumers; a b2b brand that supports clients with b2c procurement and usage preferences. Dr Prashant Pandey, R & D and Regulatory Director, Diversey explains how products in this range differ from traditional b2b formulations.

What features do b2b customers look for in a cleaning chemical?

For B2B customers product performance, efficacy and safety are of paramount importance to the buying /usage decision. The choice as a user is very informed and specific to the needs of the facility. A B2C customer bases his buying choices on the brand association created between a particular brand and the user and actual performance may take a backseat vs the perceived performance

The chemical has to be safe for use by a lay person. In the b2b segment, there are professional users who understand the properties of the cleaning chemical to a large extent; this may not be the case in the b2c segment.

The product should act fast. With traditional household cleaning products, the cleaning efficacy may not be seen instantly; this, as well as their action on the low-soil media that is typical of households was considered acceptable by b2c customers.

However, with Prosumer, we cater to b2c customers who have higher soil levels but want milder/more dilute products which are as efficacious as those in the b2b segment.

What categories of cleaning chemicals are in demand in this market segment?

India is a vast country and has varied factors which change even in the space of a few kilometers. Factors such as availability of water, quality of water, user knowledge, type of fit outs etc. influence the usage patterns. Floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners, kitchen detergents, laundry detergents form the base coupled with niche problem solvers

Consider a household. Whatever areas need to be cleaned are part of this segment, like glass cleaning, (wooden) furniture cleaning, tabletop cleaning, kitchen sink cleaning. There may also be some unique categories like refrigerator gasket cleaning (which may have mold growing on it over time). A disinfectant for damp walls is also required.

While homes may be supplied with soft water, this may not be the case with small businesses in the b2c segment. These will need a stringent but safe descaler for washrooms.

How do the active constituents and concentration of such products differ as compared to the b2b segment?

In the b2b segment, active constituents can have harsher chemistry and be more concentrated, as those who use the chemical are trained to handle them. In the b2c segment, we need milder chemistry and products that are ready to use or can be safely diluted even by manual methods.

In the b2c segment, the look and feel of the chemical matters greatly. If the product is concentrated, its appearance will be on the darker side, which is unappealing. Adding another chemical to make it more aesthetic will make it more expensive; dilute products are both appealing and pocket-friendly.

Is the packaging for the b2c segment different?

Larger pack sizes which are common in the b2b segment take up space and need special handling ability. In the b2c segment, since consumption is more modest, a small package size is enough.

The pack needs to be designed in a way that avoids spillage, so that even an untrained person may handle it. The dosing system should be more user-friendly. The safety warning has to be clearly visible, and the product label should make the product intuitive to use.

In the B2C segment the packaging is an important medium of communication for the user, the packaging makes or breaks the buying cycle. In a b2b segment, performance, safety, ease of usage, efficacy etc. form the basis of a buying decision. The packaging has to perform well on key performance parameters rather than looking attractive.

How do you expect the b2c segment to grow vis-a-vis the b2b segment?

Traditionally, the b2b range has been for professional use, but the b2c market also demands products that meet the requirements of b2b users. For example, a small cloud kitchen will have a dirt level that is higher than households.

The b2c segment will see demand for highly specific products. For example, nowadays, there are upscale cafes with bespoke silverware or melamine dishes that require specific products for cleaning, or affordable fabric cleaning solutions.

The requirement for disinfection will increase more and more, even in households. Descaling products also have potential. Washrooms will need special cleaners for aesthetically designed chrome-plated or stainless-steel surfaces.

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