There were plenty of tips on how get more out of B2B e-commerce at last week’s B2B Workshop at IRCE. Here’s a sampling of them.

Last week’s B2B Workshop at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago provided a lot of advice on operating successful e-commerce sites from 11 speakers in seven sessions.

Following are samples from each session.

“A Wholesalers Winning Formula for Year-after-Year E-commerce Growth,” Fred Pannek, president, children’s apparel and home décor designer and manufacturer Mud Pie, and Eric Dean, CEO, Whereoware:

Never stop striving to better understand your customers and improve operations. Even after generating increases of 22% in its online conversion rate and 21% in average order value on its redesigned, children’s apparel and home décor designer and manufacturer Mud Pie continued to use customer data to further improve the site.

It pulled data from its enterprise resource planning system, focusing on such details as how often and how recently individual customers had placed orders, then sent customized messages to them based on their known interests to re-engage them.


“Trends and Dialog: What’s Ahead for B2B E-Commerce,” Sean McDonnell, founder and CEO, distributor, and Justin King, founder,

When registered users log in for the first time, focus on their needs—make their online experience unique. For example: let a customer upload an image of a requested product, then have a software bot-driven live chat session show several available related items; if the customer still needs assistance, program the bot to transfer the request to a live agent.

Fix site search to fix 80% of problems customers have online.

“Self-Service and Sales Reps: Getting the Most Profitable Mix,” Marta Dalton, director of e-commerce, The Coca-Cola Company:


Always pay your sales reps for sales processed through self-service e-commerce the same as you’d pay them for offline sales. Otherwise, reps will compete with the web channel. Turn reps into a web advocate. They’ll be able to tell you web story in a way you can’t.

(Marta Dalton will also speak at the B2B Next conference in September in the session, “Using E-Commerce Technology to Reduce Costs, Drive Incremental Revenue and Increase Customer Satisfaction.”)

“Personalization: How to Win More Market Share,” Riccardo Caruso, associate director of e-commerce, biotech manufacturer Illumina; Jason Daigler, research director, technology research and advisory firm Gartner:

By providing more personalized and helpful online content, Illumina in   in the first half of 2018 has generated several outstanding results on its e-commerce site,, including: its largest single online order of $16.3 million and a 450% year-over-year increase in the number of million-dollar-sales days.


Within the next two years, personalized content based on customer purchasing intent on B2B sites will enable online businesses to increase their profits by up to 15%. Case studies of individual companies with personalized digital content have shown average conversion rate increases of 15% to 30%.

“Product Information Management, the Foundation of a Strong E-Commerce Site,” Bruce Eppinger, senior analyst, Forrester Research:

Product content is the differentiator of buying experiences both online and offline, and B2B buyers say product content is the No. 1 influencer of where they make purchases.

The age of the empowered customer drives the need for more informative, useful, accurate and interesting content.


“Amazon Business: Strategies for Co-opetition,” Brian Fricano, CEO of business supplies distributor Sustainable Supply:

Amazon Business provides a good opportunity to widen your market for your company’s proprietary products, but be way of competitors who may attempt to source similar products and win the Buy Box with discount prices and services like expedited delivery.

“Live Site Reviews: How Well Does Your B2B Site Measure Up?” Lori McDonald, president and CEO, Brilliance Business Solutions; Matt Collins, executive creative director, Gorilla Group:

Despite the wide use of mobile devices to research and place online orders, many mobile sites are still not “mobile friendly.” Many load pages slowly and have poor site search results.


Duplicate content, confusing site organization and unintuitive structure on B2B sites all translate to poor user experience and increased abandonment rates.

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