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Grainger: ‘We’re Not Close to Being Done’ with E-Commerce

Grainger's vice president of e-commerce talks about the value of the platform to the $8.1 billion distributor.

Grainger is often touted as a leader of e-commerce strategy in industrial distribution. But Paul Miller, vice president of e-commerce and customer information for Grainger, says Grainger is thinking beyond just the world of MRO.

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“We’re setting our sights on how we can be the top e-commerce destination. Period,” he said during the distributor’s annual analyst meeting, available at

E-commerce for the distributor is the “glue” that holds its multichannel model together, according to Grainger U.S. President Court Carruthers.

The distributor, which had $8.1 billion in sales in 2011, is expecting that more than 31 percent of its 2012 sales will be from its e-commerce platform.

The goal: increasing levels of integration with customers. Making it easy to do business with Grainger will build customer loyalty and stickiness. Its newest feature on its website, auto reorder, is aimed at doing just that.

“That (loyalty) is hard for anyone to replace – especially competitors that deal in only one channel,” Miller said.

Recognizing the importance of e-commerce and mobile to its business, Grainger has created an “innovation center” for e-commerce in downtown Chicago to help attract and retain top talent.

“We’re not close to being done,” Miller said, referring to the distributor’s recent developments. “When you think of the new opportunities in phone and tablet there’s an incredible runway ahead for innovation.”

Look for more from MDM on Grainger’s e-commerce plans and other growth drivers for the distributor in the next issue of MDM Premium, available online Dec. 10, 2012.

Related: Don’t know where to start online or what to do next? Check out Bob DeStefano’s step-by-step guide to leveraging online marketing in the MDM Store.

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