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Meritor’s new site has led to a 150% increase in new users.

E-commerce alters B2B landscape

It’s not just retail stores ramping up their e-commerce presence. A similar trend is occurring in the business-to-business space, where suppliers are making large investments to better serve customers.

One example is Meritor Inc., which last year rolled out MeritorPartsXpress for U.S. and Canadian customers seeking after­market parts.

During a demo for Fleet Owner at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW), Justine Scriptunas, director of innovation & technology for Meritor’s aftermarket business, said the new site is more than a place for parts and pricing information. She said to assist in parts selection, there are videos, 40,000 photographs and drawings, as well as three-dimensional and 360-degree visuals. Meritor also focused on improving search functionality to include faster identification of replacement parts by Meritor and competitors.

Scriptunas said the new site has resulted in a 150% jump in new users; a growing base of those who voluntarily register gain additional functionality. The site is also optimized for smartphone viewing, making it easier to place orders while on the move.

During a presentation at HDAW, Stu MacKay of MacKay and Co. singled out industrial distributor W. W. Grainger as an e-commerce success story.  Its online sales as percentage of total revenue rose to nearly 50% in 2016 from 30% in 2012. The company is also offering 50% more products with lower fixed investment costs by speeding the way it gets product to market.

“It is changing how business is done,” MacKay said.

Elsewhere, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) opened its ninth parts distribution center (PDC) in the United States and Canada—this one in Des Moines, IA. About 80% of Freightliner and Western Star dealers are now located within 350 miles of a parts distribution center.

“Dealers closest to a PDC are now able to get same-day delivery. That’s the goal. Once we get a truck into the service bay, the goal is not to move it out until it is completely repaired,” DTNA president and CEO Roger Nielsen said.

DTNA has also seen a significant increase in its e-commerce sales through the Pinnacle Truck Parts website, in part by creating a closed-loop order processing for national fleet customers. The electronic purchase-to-payment system is integrated with a fleet’s shop floor management system, providing automated purchase-to-payment functionality.  

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