The top 25 stories of 2017 in B2BecNews covered the challenges as well as the opportunities facing manufacturers, distributors and resellers. Here’s a look back at those stories, ranked by readership, plus the 3 top blogs from industry experts.

Everyone knows that Amazon Business is already a major player in B2B e-commerce, and that W.W. Grainger Inc. is a pioneer that for years has set a standard in the business of selling business and industrial products online.

Here’s a look at how Grainger, Amazon and several other businesses—including brand manufacturer Nike, office supplies behemoth Staples, industrial distributors Watsco and MSC Industrial Supply, pharmaceuticals supplier MilliporeSigma and healthcare distributor Henry Schein—are moving ahead in the rapidly changing world of B2B e-commerce. These and other topics are covered here in a review of the top 25 stories, ranked by readership, plus three top blogs from industry experts, that appeared in B2BecNews last year,

Among the news items that may have surprised readers is a report that manufacturers are among the biggest investors in online analytics software that derives value from enormous volumes of business data; and that Amazon spends billions on R&D but still faces challenges that leave doors open for competitors.

These stories also share practical insights on how B2B companies are learning to better interact with online customers, such as through the personalization strategies of MSC and Zoro. And in a look ahead to the opportunities in 2018, they cover the projection of B2B e-commerce sales soon surpassing $1 trillion in the United States, and the coming launch of an annual B2B e-commerce conference and exhibition: B2B Next.

1 – How Grainger will get to 80% of revenue via e-commerce

2 – Nike signals a further shift away from the wholesale channel

3 – Grainger: Lower web prices win over mid-sized customers

4 – Break-up plan for Staples: B2B unit stands out

5 – Amazon is spending big bucks on R&D

6 – Coming in 2018: The ‘B2B Next’ conference and trade show

7 – Personalization drives web sales nearly 10% higher for distributor Zoro.com

8 – NAPA Auto Parts parent agrees to buy a European rival for $2 billion

9 – Fulfillment is a challenge for Amazon Business

10 – Amazon Business grabs more than a fifth of clients’ business purchases

11 – MSC Industrial Supply gets personal to win over online customers

12 – Magento announces e‑commerce software focused on B2B

13 –B2B buyers want more from brand manufacturers

14 – B2B companies cite strong customer demand for online buying

15 – U.S. B2B e-commerce is on course to hit $1.18 trillion by 2021

16 – Buy online, pick up in store drives web growth at Tractor Supply Co.

17 – A distributor’s strategy for competing against Amazon

18 –Distributor Henry Schein settles lawsuit, forges ahead online

19 – Gates and Bezos back an Uber freight rival

20 – Online sales are gushing for plumbing distributor Ferguson

21 – Amazon Business customer count tops 1 million in the U.S.

22 – Healthcare products distributor Henry Schein expands B2B e-commerce

23 – E‑commerce comes on strong for Merck’s MilliporeSigma

24 – Amazon Business wins a big public sector contract

25 – Manufacturers are among the biggest investors in big data analytics

“Industry Voices” Blogs:

1 – Amazon Business: The brutal reality for manufacturers and distributors

2 – Seven B2B e‑commerce features that win over buyers

3 – How CRM platforms are revolutionizing B2B selling

Sign up for a complimentary subscription to B2BecNews, a twice-weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes DigitalCommerce360.com, Internet Retailer and Internet Health Management. Follow B2BecNews editor Paul Demery on Twitter @pdemery.

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