3.5 minutes

“We've also made significant investments in what I call ‘become even easier to do business with’ and a good example of that is ecommerce," says Bob De Lange, Caterpillar group president for services, distribution and digital.

As a major global manufacturer, Caterpillar continues to grow its ecommerce business and make it easier for customers and dealers to do business online.

While speaking at a recent virtual event presented by Jefferies Group, Caterpillar group president for services, distribution and digital, Bob De Lange, updated many of the company’s ecommerce initiatives.

“Last year, we added another 100,000 customers to our ecommerce platform,” De Lange told attendees. “We’ve also made significant investments in what I call ‘become even easier to do business with’ and a good example of that is ecommerce.”

Caterpillar Inc. surpassed $2 billion in digital part sales in 2021, and in May 2022 set a goal of increasing online sales through its dealers by another 50% within three years.

Caterpillar makes good on ecommerce goal

The company has already met – and surpassed – its goals, De Lange said.


“Ecommerce is another big area of investment and a big area for growth for us. With CAT you are becoming easier to do business with for our customers,” he said. “And, as you recall in our May ’22 investor day, we said our volume was about $10 million per workday. And our goal was to increase them by 50% in the coming three years. Today we are only 18 months into those three years. But we have already exceeded the target we set for the full three years. So, it’s growing a lot faster than we thought.”

As part of the ecommerce acceleration initiative, Caterpillar this year introduced a new mobile app, Cat Central. A customer can use the app to scan the QR code on a Caterpillar machine and get information directly related to that piece of equipment, which the app identifies through the serial number embedded in the QR code.

That provides the customer with direct access to parts that fit that machine. While that makes it easier for customers to buy replacement parts, that’s not the app’s only function, Caterpillar says.

He said the app also provides each day personalized informational content and tips related to each customer’s equipment. The idea, he said, is to encourage customers — especially smaller customers who only buy parts occasionally — to use the app every day.

“We looked at the overall revenue in ecommerce and we added 100,000 customers last year,” De Lange said. “And then we also measure how easy it is for dealers to onboard new customers. Digital marketing is a whole new field where we are bringing in expertise on how all that is done, but make sure customers don’t just come once and what recurring revenue we get from customers. So, it’s a whole new discipline that has developed over the last few years.”

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