A lot happened this year in B2B e-commerce this year, as B2B online sales reached $1 trillion according to Forrester Research and as manufacturers and distributors of all types and sizes developed their digital technology and strategies. Here’s a look at 30 of the most widely read stories that appeared in B2BecNews, plus several blogs from industry experts.

In 2018, Staples emerged as the successful buyer of mega distributor Essendant; U.S. B2B online sales reached $1 trillion, according to Forrester Research; software firms made major changes; and B2B Next debuted as a major annual conference.

And, of course, Amazon Business continued its phenomenal growth. It said this year it had reached more than $10 billion in annualized sales, and industry analysts project it will surpass $20 billion within two years.

But there’s plenty of enthusiasm for B2B e-commerce among manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to win their share of the market. Meantime, e-commerce technology providers also made significant changes this year, providing more options for sellers and buyers to engage in online commerce.

Here’s a look back at stories we ran this year about what B2B companies and technology providers are up to with e-commerce, plus several blogs from industry experts. The articles offer a look into what companies like biotech industry manufacturer Illumina, chemicals distributor Univar and office supplies leader Staples are doing online.

The articles also include a Q&A with Amazon Business about how to builds sales through it; a blog from an industry expert advises how to compete against Amazon Business.


1 – Staples buys Essendant for $996 million

2 – B2B Next report: Disruption formulas—from steel mills to Amazon

3 – B2B Next report: How a manufacturer ‘weaponizes’ customer data to better arm sales reps

4 – Infographic: What manufacturers are doing in e‑commerce

5 – The $1 trillion B2B e‑commerce market arrives early

6 – Home Depot’s online sales grow 21.5% in fiscal 2017

7 – Amazon rolls out product pitches to woo new Amazon Business customers

8 – Chemicals distributor Univar increases sales with e‑commerce platform

9 – Staples buys HiTouch Business Services

10 – Q&A: Inside Amazon Business with Martin Rohde

11 – ‘JanSan’ distributors grasp at digital commerce

12 – Coca-Cola makes e-commerce work for sales reps

13 – The emerging battle for e‑commerce warehouse space

14 – A ‘whole new playing field’ for B2B e-commerce software

15 – SAP takes on Salesforce with new cloud CRM suite

16 – Cardinal Health prescribes a new e‑commerce site for growth

17 – Salesforce launches B2B Commerce software

18 – Q&A with Boeing: How it flies with B2B e‑commerce

19 – Georgia-Pacific eyes more commerce through a digital supply chain

20 – How did Salesforce achieve a 200% increase in return on ad spend?

21 – Xometry takes off as an on‑demand manufacturing marketplace

22 – Q&A: Inside MSC Industrial Supply with e‑commerce director Mike Roth

23 – More Amazon Business sales to public agencies alarms critics

24 – B2B buyers click with a new breed of online shopping carts

25 – Premier Farnell puts B2B e‑commerce on a fast track

26 – B2B e-commerce software suites finally ‘grow up’

27 – How robotics manufacturer KUKA is reworking digital commerce

28 – Pressing an IoT button to reorder supplies

29 – Honeywell Aerospace flies high with its redesigned B2B portal

30 – Grainger’s single‑channel online businesses grow 23% worldwide in Q3


“Perspectives” blogs:

1 – Amazon is the new Google for product search

2 – Why some distributors are thriving in the digital age

3 – What’s next in B2B payments?

4 – How smart B2B brands engage customers and prospects

5 – How AI and personalization are transforming B2B e-commerce

6 – How your B2B business can compete against Amazon Business