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New Universal Selectors: Interview with C. Cabarry (SpecialChem Founder & CEO)

SpecialChem – Mar 31, 2016

You probably noticed... There are brand-new & exciting features on SpecialChem...Let's get a tour with Christophe Cabarry, SpecialChem founder & CEO:

Have a look by yourself!... Test New Universal Selector


Christophe Cabarry - SpecialChem Founder & CEO   

Can you please tell us more about what you just launched?

We are very excited to announce the launch of our new Universal Selectors on the SpecialChem websites. This improved version pushes further the mission of the Selectors to gather and offer our users access to “All the products in the world, the knowledge to select them”.  

We worked with UX specialists to make the search interface more intuitive, simpler and easier to read, but we made it richer at the same time as we have added from 5 to 8 search dimensions. We made special efforts in the Plastics and Elastomers Selector that offers now 12 dimensions of search, which is completely unique.

Which pain(s) have you identified and solved with this new version?

We have identified 4 “pains” that we tried to solve with this new version of Universal Selectors:

  • Information restriction: Restricted access to information is clearly considered as a “pain” by engineers. Many databases are paid by suppliers to list their products as well as product developers to access the product information. Our Selectors are open at both ends. Suppliers do not have to pay to have their products listed and engineers do not have to pay nor to work for selected companies to access our Universal Selectors.

  • Information opacity: Unlike some other databases, our Universal Selectors users see the same thing.  We do not suppress some products from search results because of the company or region they originate from. We are fully transparent towards our users.

  • Comparison difficulty: In industrial Chemicals and Materials each supplier describes its product applications and performances in a different way, using their own words. There is no standardization. This makes the job of the product developers who use them harder. By classifying all the products, we enter into standardized nomenclatures, we ease their comparison work.

  • Limited search dimensions: Most databases offer 2 to 4 search dimensions among which you find free text, supplier and product family. This is not sufficient for many engineers. This is why we are proposing from 9 to 12 dimensions in the new Selectors. This is really unique.


We are not solving all the problems of product data access, which is a complex topic, but we think we have taken a great step forward with the new Selectors.

What are the unique features of the Universal Selector? How does it stand out vs competition?

We offer several new unique features with the new Universal Selectors.

As previously mentioned, we offer many new search dimensions. One that is quite special is access to the newly-launched products. Our team literally hunts for newly launched products and adds new ones daily. Recently launched products are even a dimension of search in the new Selectors. It is of high value for engineers focusing on innovation.

Another key new search dimension we are offering is the quantitative property search in the Plastics Selector. It is necessary for design engineers as they search primarily to pass specification that are thermal, mechanical and chemical...

When we talk to engineers, they tell us they love our quest of universality: Having all the products from all suppliers in the world, in one place, makes a lot of sense in a globalized world. All the more as the Universal Selectors are free of charge. All dimensions of search are accessible to anyone, including the property search in Plastics. Crowdsourcing by engineers is a very unique feature too. We count on the users to report missing products or suppliers or to correct inevitable entry mistakes. This is a great function that makes them accountable for the quality of the search service they use.

Another unique value of the Selectors is the access to expert knowledge from the Selector itself: Improved selection guides, tutorials, online courses and technical articles bring high value expert content that enhances the product selection process.

What can we expect next?

We are already working on it. The Universal Selector users can expect more in the direction of product comparison and product recommendation. They can expect also more high value contents that makes product selection faster and more accurate.

Is there a message you would like to pass to our audience?

Absolutely. I would like to use this opportunity to encourage Chemical and Material Suppliers to proactively share with us their product data, especially those of their newly launched products. We have fast track processes in place to edit and publish them!

Test New Universal Selector

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