For many distributors, the main focus of B2B ecommerce is just about generating online sales.

At MSC Industrial Supply Co., a distributor of more than 1.5 million metalworking and other industrial products, generating online sales is crucial—yet only one manifestation of how going digital helps it better connect with customers.

For the fiscal third quarter ended June 1, MSC generated ecommerce sales of $520.8 million, accounting for about 60% of total sales of $866.5 million, the company tells B2BecNews. Along with a strong focus on providing metalworking tools and services to manufacturers, MSC is a major supplier of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products, ranging from work gloves and safety glasses to milling machines priced at tens of thousands of dollars.

Building a ‘better MRO’ website



But as MSC grows its B2B ecommerce business, the distributor also is taking a more holistic and long-term approach to building relationships with its customers while selling industrial products online, say company executives.

Specifically, MSC continues to build out an MRO business information website—MSCDirect.com/betterMRO—the company launched two years ago. MSC, based in Melville, New York, also is making its B2B ecommerce offerings more mobile, increasing its number of MRO and industrial product SKUs available online, and beginning to offer some computer-aided design & computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) services on its B2B ecommerce site, MSCDirect.com.

A lot of industrial and MRO products buyers come to us with questions they want answers to, and those questions go far beyond just transactions,” says Steve Baruch, executive vice president of strategy and marketing.

MSC launched MSCDirect.com/betterMRO in 2017 as a value-added information site meant to expand the company’s thought leadership position in industrial and MRO products and implementation, Baruch says. Since a quiet launch in 2017, the content website is beginning to resonate with MRO purchasing professionals, says MSC manager of eCommunity marketing Kathryn Nerko.

Topping 100,000 monthly web visitors

In just over two years of the launch, MSCDirect.com/betterMRO is now generating website traffic of more than 100,000 visitors each month, she says. “The site is about making MRO professionals more productive,” Nerko says.

On MSCDirect.com/betterMRO, visitors can select content and read through a library of “how-to” videos and best-practice content on subjects ranging from job connection, lean manufacturing, and personal safety to real-life stories, training and workplace safety.

MSC launched MSCDirect.com/betterMRO in 2017 as a value-added information site meant to expand the company’s thought leadership position in industrial and MRO products and implementation, Baruch says. Since a quiet launch in 2017, the content website is beginning to resonate with MRO purchasing professionals, says MSC manager of eCommunity marketing Kathryn Nerko.

Topping 100,000 monthly web visitors

In just over two years of the launch, MSCDirect.com/betterMRO is now generating website traffic of more than 100,000 visitors each month, she says. “The site is about making MRO professionals more productive,” Nerko says.

On MSCDirect.com/betterMRO, visitors can select content and read through a library of “how-to” videos and best-practice content on subjects ranging from job connection, lean manufacturing, and personal safety to real-life stories, training and workplace safety.

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