B2B Digital Commerce Trends to Watch: A Recap from B2B Online 2019

Top 7 takeaways

Last month, professionals, experts and vendors in the manufacturing and distribution space met at the B2B Online 2019 conference in Chicago at the Chicago Marriott Downtown. Now in its sixth year, B2B Online is an event where the top minds in manufacturing and distribution meet and learn, and build a true community. Attendees learned from three jam-packed days of sessions on various industry topics. There were plenty of great B2B digital commerce insights to choose from, but I’ve narrowed it down to my top 7 takeaways over the 3-day event:

1. Personalization

This is not a new topic by any means, Brilliance has written and published multiple resources on this topic. However, it is still a topic that frequently comes up at tech conferences and for good reason. Personalization has proven it can improve conversions and increase sales. Like most features, personalization was first adopted by the B2C community and has now started to gain momentum in the B2B space. 

Episerver is a great platform for personalization - for example: Partsmaster, a maintenance, repair, and operations distributor is leveraging Episerver’s personalization tools to recommend products that will be of most interest to their visitors. 

2. The B2B community is going to be changing drastically

An overwhelming number of distributors and manufacturers conduct the majority of their sales via phone (printed catalogs). Digital commerce still only makes up a small percent of their total sales. Look for this drastic change to take place as younger generations enter the workforce.  

3. Remove friction by automating and augmenting the process to transform B2B digital commerce

Automating (improving efficiency) casts a wide net. Anything that can streamline process and allow organizations to perform at a higher level can fall under this umbrella. And, in the B2B space, the opportunity to improve efficiency is never ending. With B2B businesses still leveraging legacy technology, from dated methods for resource planning to sales teams still receiving faxes – there are a plethora of ways to automate.  

4. Digital commerce

While having the right tools in place are necessary for B2B digital commerce, just as important is having an understanding of what success looks like. It can be something as simple as an order placed online, but limiting how you measure success, to just that particular metric being flawed. Take a step back, and ask yourself the following:

  • Do you have a blueprint for how you are going to drive success through your digital commerce platform?
  • What does your funnel look like?
  • The basics -  how are you driving people to your site -  SEO, social media, various other content items?
  • Once people arrive on your site, can you get people to what they are looking for quickly and without confusion (eliminate barriers)?
  • Are you leveraging technology to support questions that come from that effort, such as live chat?
  • Once you have secured that customer, do you make their experience as fluid as possible?
  • Is your site easy to navigate? Take UI into consideration - make sure to include/consider all of the features that they would expect to see through their other online buying experiences (notifications/ updates, simple checkout, etc).
  • How are you retaining clients – how often are you reviewing your data and continuing to innovate / support your client base?

5. How are you making data-driven decisions? 

Consider if you are you using that information to create awareness, not only externally but more importantly, internally.  

6. Other buzz generating topics

Blockchain and B2B, PIMs, the ever-changing roles and responsibilities of leadership due to the digital transformation .

7. You need the right people

An overall thought, having the right people to lead/support all of these digital paths is a powerful piece to all of this. It seems silly when you say it out loud but the truth is, you need the right people to make digital transformation work. 

B2B Online is the interactive event for eCommerce, digital and marketing executives from America’s leading manufacturers and distributors. It brings together 900+ executives to develop the tools they need to power innovative, future-looking omni-channel experiences for their customers. 


Jared Hackbart

Director of Sales & Marketing


Jared Hackbart 

Jared is passionate about providing clients with the right tools and applications to help their business grow.  Drawing from his experiences at Canon Solutions of America & Ken Cook Co. with manufacturing companies, Jared provides solid solutions and guidance to Brilliance's clients on a daily basis.

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