Ecommerce sales are off to a positive start in MSC Industrial Supply Co.’s 2024 fiscal year. And president and CEO Erik Gershwind says the big distributor will “aggressively” market its web content and pricing strategy to prod growth throughout the year.
MSC Industrial is a prominent metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products distributor. It said yesterday that ecommerce sales grew 1.8% year over year to $603.7 million for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 2. That increase compares to slack total Q1 sales, which slipped 0.4% to $957.7 million.
MSC Industrial said its ecommerce sales helped to partially offset offline sales declines tied to soft demand caused by striking auto industry workers and other factors.
Two principle ways to unlock growth
On an earnings call with stock analysts this week, Gershwind noted that MSC has prodded ecommerce sales with “two foundational priorities for unlocking growth — realigning our public-facing pricing and implementing a new product discovery functionality on our website.”
“With respect to pricing, our goal is to provide market competitive prices to smaller customers, while remaining roughly gross-margin neutral to better discounting,” he said. “We are currently 30% of the way through the realignment, and we’re on track to achieve that goal.”
“We’re seeing encouraging early indicators, such as improved web conversion rates and more favorable levels of growth,” Gershwind said. He added, “The goal is to create a market competitive price for any customer that wants to come to us.”
Gershwind also said MSC expects to complete the deployment of its new product discovery platform before the end of the current fiscal quarter in March.
“We will more aggressively market the pricing and the web improvements in the back half of our fiscal year,” he said, adding, “These efforts will allow us to significantly expand our share of wallet across our customers.”
In other developments, Gershwind said MSC was moving ahead with multiple environmental, social and governance improvements, including:
- Recycling over 20,000 pounds of carbide since 2021 through its regrinding services.
- In fiscal 2023, recycling 1,500 tons of corrugated packaging and enabling MSC’s customers to reduce electricity consumption by 32 million kilowatt hours.
Paul Demery is a Digital Commerce 360 contributing editor covering B2B digital commerce technology and strategy. [email protected].
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