This year is promising to be the one where ecommerce – and especially mobile ecommerce – hits full stride for many industrial distributors and manufacturers.
It’s no wonder: the growth in the use of cellphones and tablets
is the fastest growing segment of ecommerce.
One of the speakers last November at the GamePlan conference on ecommerce, pointed out that 26 percent of ecommerce
transactions will be conducted via mobile devices in the next
three years. More than half of buyers in a recent poll said that
they want to be able to buy products from their cell phones or
The use of mobile phones, tablets, and other such devices are the
fastest growing segments of the ecommerce business. Grainger,
for example, said last year that mobile e-traffic had represented
about ten percent of its U.S. online traffic. Other companies are
reporting similar numbers.
Grainger also announced last year that it had introduced an
iPad application that allows customers to browse through thousands of products in seconds with improved search filters. Once a
customer finds the product, relevant information is displayed including product availability, technical specifications, and product
accessories. Checkout has also been streamlined to save customers “time on the go,” according to a Grainger press release.
Grainger does not make changes like this lightly. It has a panel
of one thousand customers who act as a sounding board before
any changes are implemented.
“Every detail of the iPad app was designed with efficiency in
mind, allowing our customers to quickly find what they need,
order it, and get back to the task at hand,” said Geoffrey Robertson, Vice President of Ecommerce Strategy and Planning at
Grainger, when the app was announced. “In addition, the app is
part of our bigger enhanced ecommerce initiative, which provides our customers with a consistent multi-channel experience
Grainger, Airgas, MSC
Grainger, which is the 15th largest e-retailer in the country
according to Internet Retailer is, of course, not alone. Airgas will
be unveiling a new ecommerce platform soon and mobile devices
will be taken into consideration. Airgas produced its first website
in 1998 and began its ecommerce activities in 2001. These will be
the biggest ecommerce changes to take place in several years for
the Pennsylvania-based distributor of gas, safety, and welding
Ecommerce can lead to big business. Grainger says that about
a third of its sales come from ecommerce and that number is
expected to climb in the next few years. It was one of the first
companies to invest heavily in ecommerce, and clearly that strategy has become an important part of its growth initiatives.
In releasing its first quarter results, MSC Industrial Direct says
that 46 percent of its business now comes from ecommerce, compared to 42. 8 percent a year ago.
“Our new site is fully rolled out and continues to receive posi-
The Year Of Ecommerce Growth
The use of mobile phones, tablets, and other such
devices are the fastest growing segments of the