Grainger’s eCommerce Now 60 Percent of Revenues

Grainger's eCommerce Now 60 Percent of Revenues

At this year’s #GraingerShow, CEO D.G. Macpherson said March 13 he expects it will be 80 percent in five years

ORLANDO, Fla. – Grainger customers and employees by the thousands came to the 2017 #GraingerShow at the Orange County Convention Center on March 13, walking through its expo floor exhibits and attending National Safety Council Director of Consulting Services Dr. Wes Scott's "OSHA State of the Union" talk and other educational sessions – many of them safety focused – and shorter presentations at stages on the expo floor.

On the show's first full day, Grainger CEO D.G. Macpherson met with trade media editors from safety, health care, and industrial distribution publications, giving his outlook for 2017 and the state of the company. He welcomed them to the 13th Grainger Show, one with 12,500 attendees and more than 700 suppliers participating. The expo here fills 400,000 square feet, and the show as a whole occupies 800,000 square feet.

"It is the biggest trade show in our space for sure. It can be a little staggering," said Macpherson, who was elevated from the COO position to CEO last Oct. 1 as part of a planned transition for him to succeed current Chairman Jim Ryan upon Ryan's retirement.

He discussed Grainger's eCommerce capabilities and its Zoro model for serving small businesses, adding, "We stepped on the accelerator on Zoro in the United States." Among his key points:

  • Grainger is focusing on the developed economies of North America, Western Europe, and Japan.
  • eCommerce represents 60 percent of revenues today, and Macpherson said he will be surprised if it is not at 80 percent in five years.
  • The company has reduced its U.S. branches from 420 to 250, but despite the smaller footprint, he stressed that selling relationships between Grainger personnel and their customers remain important.
  • The company is very well positioned in health care, he said: "We feel like that's a very strong path for growth."
  • His 2017 forecast is for revenue growth year over year on the order of 4 percent, after two years when the market was down but the company increased its market share, he said.
  • He said Grainger plans to build on its strengths in customer service, digital capabilities, and product fulfillment.

Travis Kruse, CSP, CHHM, Grainger's senior director of Safety Strategy & Solutions, said during an interview here that he is focused on the transition from Safety to Environment, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) and also professional development of the company's safety team, who help customers across many industries solve technical challenges. Customers want help, but they are very selective about which consultants they will allow into their facilities, he said. He also stressed the contributions of Grainger’s EHSS Innovation Council and the "bench strength" of Grainger's team.

"This is a very exciting place to be right now," Kruse said.

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