Recommended Reading: Grainger Launches New Web Pricing Initiative

CEO: High list prices may be hurting customer acquisition.
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As distribution e-commerce evolves, the focus is shifting from pure functionality to the overall customer experience. But this shift also raises some big questions – one of the biggest being: How should you handle price visibility on your website? If your public list prices are too high, you may turn off potential customers – an issue that Grainger is tackling this year, according to CEO D.G. Macpherson in Grainger's Pricing Solution.

Right now, "our list prices are too high," Macpherson said at the Grainger Show in Orlando, FL, earlier this month. "…The idea is that we have to be able to acquire customers through the Grainger brand." The website, Grainger.com, is a critical tool to achieve that.

But the company doesn't want to be the "low-cost distributor," he said. "We just have to be in the ballpark."

The process to rationalize prices began in January and is expected to be completed within a year.

The new prices won't be available to everyone immediately, however. Instead, the company will require customers to opt in to see the web pricing. This will ensure that the company continues to cater to business customers rather than individuals, according to Geoff Robertson, vice president, global digital business and innovation.

"Ultimately we think this is going to allow us to grow faster with some impact to gross market," Macpherson said. "… The goal is to be more relevant to every customer that we serve and acquire more customers to get the full share of wallet for these customers.

"As product to price transparencies become more prevalent, it's become a source of contention with some customers," he said.

Read more about Grainger's pricing and e-commerce strategies in Grainger's Pricing Solution.

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