With new software that personalizes content for online customers, the distributor of industrial supplies says it is converting a lot more MSCDirect.com visitors to buyers and selling more units per transaction.

Offering more than a million products on its e-commerce site helps MSC Industrial Supply Co. stand out as a distributor. But the broad selection of maintenance, repair and operations products that business customers purchase to manage their facilities has also made it challenging for them to find what they need.

To make the online find-and-buy process easier for customers on MSCDirect.com, MSC has deployed new personalization software that recommends products to online visitors based on their known interests and profiles, senior director of e-commerce Mike Roth says. The new personalization software, from Certona, “utilizes everything we know about [a] customer’s preferences, such as order and viewing history, to provide a personalized experience and suggest alternative and complementary products,” he says.

Since deploying the software last year, MSC has recorded several performance metrics for MSCDirect.com. In a test period between April and November of 2016, it converted 38% more visitors to buyers, increased the average order value by 12%, and increased by 46% the number of units sold per transaction, the company says.

The Certona personalization software also relies on data from MSC’s email marketing campaigns, showing what types of products and promotions customers have responded to and purchased. It’s also designed to integrate with customer relationship management software, to base product recommendations on knowledge of customers’ account activity and the lifecycles of products they’ve purchased. Certona’s software integrates directly with the IBM WebSphere Commerce e-commerce software that MSC uses to run its e-commerce site.

Roth and Steve Baruch, MSC’s senior vice president and chief strategy and marketing officer, spoke at the IRCE 2017 B2B Workshop on how MSC has grown its digital and as well as total sales with highly personalized service.


Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a twice-weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes DigitalCommerce360.com, Internet Retailer and Internet Health Management. Follow B2BecNews editor Paul Demery on Twitter @pdemery.

Follow us on LinkedIn and be the first to know when new B2BecNews content is published.