Valorisation of innovative bio-economical potentials along bio-based food & botanical extract value chains in the Alpine Space

BM#03 - Digital service platform

Product description

The digital service platform is meant to create a virtual, digital marketplace for all kinds of biobased products: raw materials, manufactured products and bio-based “waste” material. The platform enhances trading of materials with bioeconomic potentials. At the same time, it serves as a virtual place to share and exchange information and ideas on these materials. Small companies, farmers and private persons can offer their products here and also search for products to buy. Such a digital service platform brings together the issues of digitisation, sustainability, reducing food losses, improving value chains and future food products. The supplier and the buyer both benefit from this offer. Such a digital platform is not limited only to walnuts, apples or herbs but offers a wide variety of products and ingredients. A digital platform is a digital product that offers selling by-products online, that were considered as “waste” materials. Both the supplier and the buyer benefit from this offer.
Picture:„Digitale Rohstoffbörse” – A digital marketplace to sell and buy raw and processed materials, that creates bio-based economic cycles, ensures short distances and promotes regional trade in Bavaria, Germany.
Digitale Rohstoffbörse, status 28.07.2020

Germany and Slovenia

At present, no such marketplace exists in Germany, besides a prototype developed by another research project: “Digitale Rohstoffbörse”. The “Digitale Rohstoffbörse” provides similar services with similar aims. Therefore, we researched and tested the platform based on this existing platform.

Business and marketing opportunities

Most of the marketing and sales strategy focuses on the online business. Greater awareness of the  platform can be achieved through word-of-mouth by as many users and participants registering on the platform as possible or with the help of online social networks. The target group includes people from different areas: the start-up scene as well as farmers, private persons and also industry actors can benefit from these services. Promotions and coupons via subscription to encourage the use of the  digital platform can be one of the marketing strategies. It is important that the issue of regionality is further supported and remains in the foreground. New economic cycles should be created and a big step towards sustainability should be taken by reusing products. Of particular interest are the possibilities to improve the supply and availability of raw materials, to influence sustainable development and networking (e.g. in the Alpine region), how digitisation can contribute to more sustainability in  the value chain and how transparency can be implemented. From the point of view of the project partners, the „Digital Raw Materials Exchange for Sustainable Raw Materials“ is well suited as an innovative portal to improve interregional networking and market transparency with regard to raw and residual materials in the future. 

Implementation hurdles

The main implementation hurdle is seen in finding the differentiating factor for this platform from the existing competition on the market. Another implementation hurdle is finding a partner or existing platform and connecting the business idea with their platform. It requires a partner with long-term technical and financial know-how to further develop this platform, adapt it to the needs, maintain databases, obtain registrations and continuously build the network. Only in this way can the success of the platform be guaranteed.
Finding the differentiating factor (e.g. “what makes us better than the competition”) for this product from the existing competition on the market. One of the implantation hurdles is also finding a partner or existing platform and connecting the business idea with their existing platform.

Suggestions for the next steps

A more detailed analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (“SWOT” analysis) and a market analysis are needed. In addition, the potential distribution channels need to be explored. For the further development of the platform, it is also crucial to find a responsible person who can invest time and energy in the regular maintenance of the platform. Especially important for the long-term optimal use of the platform are first users in the initial phase that can provide feedback. Creating a mobile app for the platform could be beneficial, as this could make it easier to use the platform  spontaneously or lead to more frequent searches. 

For further details, please read our Best Practice Brochure