Enco, one of my favorite tool and parts suppliers, will soon be swallowed up by MSC Direct, their sister/parent company. This will be happening in August 2016, and I’m a bit upset about it.
I received a letter in the mail, telling me that I’ll get the best of both worlds:
- Up to 30% off MSC catalog prices – every day (sweet!)
- The same prices I paid at Enco – fine print below
- Low cost Freight Saver shipping experience
- A superior website experience
I checked, and an up to 30% discount has been applied to my MSC account! I had checked the price of something the day before I received the letter, logged in, and saw an instant 30% discount off the catalog price.
I typically don’t order from MSC unless I need something urgently, or there’s a great coupon code for me to use, such as “up to 30% off $199+” or similar.
An across the board “up to 30% discount,” which means “up to 30 except when there’s a price floor on certain items or brands’ items,” will persuade me to consider MSC for more purchases.
BUT I did a chat with MSC customer service, and they suggested this isn’t a lifetime discount, but one that’s only good for a year and is up to the discretion of the local branch to renew.
That REALLY sucks.
When the same item is carried by Enco and MSC, Enco pricing is usually substantially lower, even when MSC has a nice coupon going on.
Enco HOT DEALS are their monthly sale items, and often coupon codes stacked right on top of the discounts. MSC has monthly sales flyers as well, but you only get the lower of the discounted price or coupon price. Sometimes other vendors, even Enco, had better pricing.
Enco shipping is slower, but they have more frequent free shipping promos. MSC shipping is extremely fast unless something isn’t stocked by their distribution center one state over.
I’m really happy about this account-level 30% discount, but not knowing if it’ll disappear after a year is really putting a damper on things.
That Enco price matching has fine print, most notably:
Receive the same price you paid on all the products you purchased from Enco during the past 12 months, for one full year.
Speaking of price matching, that’s something Enco offered, but I don’t think MSC does.
Enco’s website is really… bad at times. Sorry, there’s no better word. It glitches out on me sometimes when I use Google Chrome, requiring me to clear out the cookies using a browser plugin. Searching can be difficult.
There’s a FAQ, with one question sticking out:
Why am I receiving special pricing from MSC?
During a recent analysis of web purchasing, MSC found that nearly 50% of Enco users also have MSC accounts. Those businesses value the higher functional convenience of mscdirect.com versus use-enco.com. As a valued use-enco.com user, we want to encourage you to explore the multi functional capabilities of mscdirect.com and discover all that MSC has to offer your business, not just special pricing. When you shop at MSC, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
I had great customer experiences at Enco and MSC.
I shopped at Enco when I wanted better pricing, and often bought items from their Hot Deals sales flyer that I didn’t even know I needed. I shopped at MSC when I needed tools, parts, or materials that weren’t available at Enco, as MSC has a much larger product catalog. MSC is also a better option when I needed something quicker.
I can understand why MSC is only offering one year of same-as-Enco pricing on items purchased in the past year. But that up to 30% discount is very tempting, and enough to win over a lot of the business I regularly send to McMaster Carr, other industrial suppliers, and even Amazon. If it too will go away in a year, and the person I chatted with couldn’t provide any certainty one way or another, it’s likely drive me further away from MSC. At that point, business I would have given Enco, and maybe any business I would have given MSC anyway, will be sent elsewhere.
I have been an Enco customer since June of 2007.
Even though I have known about Enco being MSC’s smaller sibling company, I am saddened to know that Enco will soon cease to exist.
Look when happened when Amazon absorbed Small Parts. The search benefits and differentiation slowly disappeared, as did the “Amazon Supply” that was their industrial supply portal, separate from the main site. Now, there’s nothing left from Small Parts, except for industrial supply remnants that sometimes stand out from a mix of hard-to-sort search results.
Once the dust clears, what will be left of Enco? At best, persistent discount pricing.
If anyone at MSC is reading this, I have two requests – please ensure that we all get persistent “up to 30% discounts,” and please keep Enco’s Hot Deals sales flyer going! I’ve followed MSC’s sales flyers over the years, but not with as much interest as Enco’s.
You know what would also be great? A ToolGuyd coupon code where readers can enjoy a similar discount. Maybe “up to 35%” on special occasions?