Q&A: Global Industrial Co.’s chief marketing officer, Klaus Werner, hones in on building customer loyalty and bringing new elements into B2B digital purchasing.

Klaus Werner, Global Industrial Co.

Klaus Werner, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Global Industrial Co.

Ecommerce accounts for more than 50% of all sales transactions at Global Industrial Co., a maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) distributor  with more than $1 billion in annual sales. Here, senior vice president and chief marketing officer Klaus Werner provides insights about digital expansion and personalizing the online purchasing experience.

Werner will speak during the June 20 “Build Customer Loyalty” panel and workshop session and give a featured presentation June 21 on “Driving B2B Success With a B2C Twist” at the EnvisionB2B 2023 Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.

DC 360: What is driving B2B companies like Global Industrial to expand online?

Werner: The increase in B2B ecommerce continues to reflect changes in the market and customer digital trends. Ecommerce remains a strong and growing component of the B2B market. Global Industrial has a long history of ecommerce leadership and a dedicated one-to-one sales team. This combination provides a very compelling and value-additive omnichannel experience to our customers.

DC 360: What are your biggest internal or and external barriers?

Werner: Businesses have faced some challenging external forces the past couple of years, from economic headwinds to inflation and supply chain disruptions. Global Industrial’s ability to navigate these challenges and deliver operational excellence has made it a stronger and more flexible organization. Internally, our daily focus is on delivering an exceptional customer experience and driving continuous innovation. These are the keys to long-term success and allow you to stay ahead of the competition.


DC 360: What are the chief gains you’re realizing?

Werner: We are delivering a fully integrated brand marketing campaign that is enhancing awareness of Global Industrial across industries and activating our “We Can Supply That” tagline with customers. This is allowing us to provide customers with the right solutions to help them address challenges and be successful. We believe this positions us to capture market share through customer acquisition and retention while deepening existing relationships.

DC 360: What is the most valuable piece of advice you have on how to launch online B2B sales or increase them?

Werner: Put the customer at the center of everything you do. Be an excellent listener and execute flawlessly.

DC 360: Looking back over the past few years, is there anything you wish you had done differently in ecommerce?

Werner: I wish we were quicker in driving a personalized ecommerce experience. In our one-to-one sales organization, personal touch comes through a direct relationship, but in a digital world that connection can be lost. The innovative new digital platform we launched last year, which includes enhanced personalization and resources to shop by your industry, significantly strengthens our capabilities. It’s an area where we will continue to be a leader and look forward to bringing further innovation.

DC 360: What excites you the most in new digital commerce technology?

Werner: ChatGPT—it accelerates product descriptions; it will completely transform customer service, and the opportunities are endless.


DC 360: Going forward, what do you see as the most significant commerce challenges and opportunities? 

Werner: Challenge: Driving continuous innovation throughout the organization and continuing to differentiate our brand, products, and value in the market. Opportunity: Enhance Global Industrial’s brand recognition and the market’s understanding of the wealth of services and products we provide. Continuing to grow the customer base, expand our Global Industrial Exclusive Brands product line, and deliver an innovative and personalized ecommerce experience.

Jim Daly is a Mount Prospect, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.   

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