B2B eCommerce

A big MRO distributor accelerates ecommerce

One of the biggest US distributors of industrial supplies continues to push the pace of its ecommerce strategy.

Total ecommerce sales for MSC Industrial increased 0.05% year over year to $595.8 million for the fiscal second quarter that ended March 4, amounting to  62% of total sales. In comparison, total sales increased 0.04% to $961.6 million.

We think we can be doing better,” Gershwind said on a second-quarter earnings call, adding that improvements were already well underway with digital technology under the leadership of MSC’s first chief digital officer.


John Hill, chief digital and information officer, MSC Industrial Supply Co.

It’s been nearly a year since John Hill joined us as MSC’s first chief digital and information officer, and progress with our technology function is encouraging,” Gershwind said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the earnings call. “We are enhancing our ecommerce functionality and expect to see incremental benefits in the coming quarters.

Kristen Actis-Grande, chief financial officer, also noted that one of MSC’s priorities “is digital, which includes all aspects of MSCs digital engagement with customers, suppliers and associates.”

When asked on the earnings call how MSC was growing sales among smaller companies and government agencies as well as larger companies, Gerswhind again cited ecommerce as critical to its strategy.

“Ecommerce has applications across the board, all customer sizes,” Gershwind said. “But certainly for smaller customers, the enhancements we’re putting in place, we’re already doing pretty well in ecommerce.

He added, “We are improving our product information and customer data, making for a better customer service experience and a more efficient business.

Ecommerce sales were also helped by MSC’s growth of internet-connected vending machines. “Vending machine net sales grew mid-teens year over year and reached $89.4 million, representing 15% of total net sales,” MSC said.

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