W.W. Grainger Inc. sees a big future in digital commerce—as the biggest distributor of maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) products continues to concentrate fully on using more digital tools and services to closely connect with customers, says CEO D.G. Macpherson.

Today, digital commerce is more important than ever at Grainger, which last year generated about 75% of sales electronically through what the company calls its High Touch U.S. business, which caters to large companies with a high level of service. That breakdown includes 32% from ecommerce sites including Grainger.com, 28% through electronic data interchange and e-procurement, and 15% through KeepStock, which includes vendor-managed inventory, customer-managed inventory, and on-site internet-connected vending machines that are designed to automatically record retrievals of products by a client’s employees and trigger replenishment orders, according to the company’s 2020 annual report.

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