The building products and materials industry has watched the dislocation of consumer markets by digital disrupters like Amazon, ASOS and Uber, and is nervous about the shape and speed of the digital threat coming its own way.

That concern, the conservative nature of the industry and the relatively old school image of the traditional builder have given rise to four false digital assumptions, which are prevalent throughout the market.

These false assumptions are:

  1. Digital isn’t important for suppliers because end customers will continue to buy products through tradesmen and contractors.
  2. Tradesmen and contractors have been slow to adopt online tools for their businesses.
  3. Being online is detrimental to margins because it makes pricing too transparent.
  4. Online means building product brands will lose the personal touch and the trust of their trade customers, who prefer traditional ways of doing business

While the industry has been a digital laggard, the internet provides tradesmen, manufacturers and retailers with the chance to create significant competitive advantage — and to become disrupters themselves. Their investors will be watching with interest.

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