We serve up more than 30 stories that show how manufacturers and distributors dealt with 2022’s challenges and opportunities. And we provide a review of our EnvisionB2B 2022 Conference coverage.

Looking ahead to the new year, Digital Commerce 360’s B2B editors are excited for EnvisionB2B 2023.

Businesses need answers to their most important ecommerce questions. And that’s where the distinguished Day 2 keynoters at EnvisionB2B 2023 come in. EnvisionB2B is back for the second consecutive year and taking place in Chicago at the Chicago Hilton from June 20-22.

Leading off the keynote sessions on June 21 are Brent Steffen, director of ecommerce at Cat Digital at Caterpillar Inc., and Sandy Mattinson, chief merchandising officer for Zoro, one of W.W. Grainger Inc.’s top B2B ecommerce sites. Zoro now generates $1 billion in annual sales.

Looking back, though, we serve up more than 30 stories that show how B2B manufacturers and distributors dealt with 2022’s challenges and opportunities. And we provide a review of our EnvisionB2B 2022 Conference coverage.

Our 2022 B2B Editors’ Picks

Boeing arm flies high with $2 billion in ecommerce sales

In 2021, Boeing Distribution Inc.’s online revenue was 15% higher compared to pre-pandemic levels, while orders were 20% higher. The stronger ecommerce sales came as Boeing Distribution rolled out new tools to improve the online customer experience.


Keysight Technologies grows globally with headless commerce

The multibillion-dollar manufacturer of electronic testing equipment is engaging many of its customers and distribution partners through a headless commerce technology platform as it grows worldwide.

Manufacturers grew B2B ecommerce sales faster than any other channel

Manufacturers through their own websites and apps and on B2B marketplaces grew ecommerce 18.4% in 2021 to $543.25 billion, according to the DC360 2022 Manufacturing Report.

B2B distributor ecommerce sales are poised to grow 25% in 2022

The business market across all sectors of the U.S. economy is undergoing a digital transformation. And that transformation by organizations of all sizes is being driven by digital commerce, according to data and analysis contained in the 2022 B2B Distribution Report from Digital Commerce 360.

MSC Industrial Supply’s holistic approach to customer experience

The multibillion-dollar metalworking and industrial supplies distributor is building out integrated sales, marketing and service operations to improve customer experience and conversions across channels.


Grainger’s Zoro.com hits $1 billion in B2B ecommerce sales

Helping to drive that growth were continued increases in the number of Zoro’s registered customers, to more than 4.4 million, and its number of available SKUs, to 10.3 million.

Fastenal’s digital lesson for other distributors: It pays to diversify

Business buyers like multiple digital channels to purchase from distributors. An excellent example of a distribution company doing just that is Fastenal. It generated total sales of $6.01 billion in 2021 and operates a branch network of 3,209 locations in 25 countries.

The Home Depot’s B2B Pro sales grow faster than its retail business

Sales to the retail chain’s Pro customers — contractors and other B2B buyers — outpaced do-it-yourself consumers in the second quarter as Home Depot continued to build out its digital ecosystem to support sales across multiple channels, including digitally connected sales reps, executives said.

Why ODP Corp. expects its Varis startup to upend procurement

Led by a former head of Amazon Business, Varis is set to “fully launch” this fall while it seeks “strategic” investors and eyes growth with small and midsized as well as large companies. Varis kicked off early last year and already serves 21,000 customer locations, ODP says.


Making web content more valuable for electrical product sellers

IDEA, a data management organization for the electrical products industry, has launched with web content-monitoring company Content Status a new way for manufacturers and distributors to ensure their website product displays are engaging buyers.

More on manufacturers:

How Caterpillar sells $10 million in dealer online parts daily

Caterpillar’s ecommerce parts sales now exceed $2 billion annually due primarily to tighter digital integration with its dealers and a bigger investment in digital and mobile technology.

How a biotech manufacturer launched a buyer-friendly ecommerce site

Realizing its ecommerce site wasn’t as easy to find and use as its competitors’ sites or marketplaces, Rockland Immunochemicals Inc. set about on a site redesign to attract buyers.

How EcoEnclose customized its website for a better buyer experience

With its legacy ecommerce platform showing its age, sustainable packaging supplier EcoEnclose opted for a new platform with lots of customized features to attract new customers and keep existing ones coming back.


Digital data and commerce drive a manufacturer’s growth

Protective Industrial Products Inc., a workwear and safety products wholesale manufacturer, builds its future course with business intelligence and digital commerce.

How manufacturer Bradley Corp. engages channel partners and customers

A manufacturer of commercial washroom products and industrial safety equipment, Bradley launched a B2B ecommerce site designed to interact effectively with channel partners, sales reps and customers. Results include a much-improved ordering process for customers and lower shipping expenses.

Distributors and wholesalers:

First-quarter online sales surge 49% at Genuine Parts Co.

The automotive and industrial products distributor cited ongoing investments in both B2B and B2C operations for the growth in its digital channel. It also reported record Q1 sales of $5.3 billion, up 19% from a year earlier.

Distributor sales are on track for healthy growth despite headwinds

Digital Commerce 360 projects that total 2022 sales for all distributors and wholesalers will increase to about $8.000 trillion. That would be a 20.4% increase from $6.644 trillion in 2021.


Univar Solutions goes more digital to please customers

The distributor of chemical ingredients for multiple industries has built out a collection of ecommerce sites and digital tools to be more focused on customers. As a result, it has doubled its number of online customers and ecommerce orders. Steve Martinez, vice president, digital solutions, will speak on digital commerce strategies at EnvisionB2B this week.

Getting to know web buyers better drives growth for distributor Kele

A personalization test has produced conversion rates of 40%-60% for tailored recommendations, encouraging Kele to build a new customer data platform. The kind of data Kele plans to pack into its customer files illustrates how much more complex personalization is in B2B ecommerce than B2C.

Big food distributors have a growing appetite for larger portions of ecommerce

US Foods Inc. and Sysco Corp. are two of the biggest food distributors. Each launched an accelerated ecommerce plan to serve up faster digital ordering for customers.

How Bay Fastening Systems is building a better B2B marketplace

Bay Fastening Systems’ chief operating officer Michael Eichinger says BaySupply.com’s marketplace’s value is in helping people work more efficiently.


A Western fashions wholesaler masters ecommerce integration

Western fashion accessories designer and wholesaler Trenditions LLC integrated its B2B ecommerce and EDI systems with its back-end business software to automate order processing and boost sales.

ODP Corp. builds its B2B business with a new president

Following a first quarter when B2B sales grew 9% amid flat sales overall, the office supplies company promoted Office Depot B2B veteran David Centrella to corporate executive vice president and president of its newly renamed multichannel ODP Business Solutions.


Marketplaces — the fastest-growing B2B digital sales channel

In one of many signs that B2B marketplaces are becoming part of mainstream ecommerce, collective sales on them grew 130% year over year in 2021 to $56 billion, according to a Digital Commerce 360 estimate.

Digital sales on B2B marketplaces enter the ecommerce mainstream

B2B marketplaces have surged in popularity among online buyers and sellers. The B2B Marketplace 400 report shows why in detailed data and analysis.


A B2B marketplace firm targets $1.5 billion in gross sales volume

Liquidity Services Inc. operates online marketplaces for excess goods. It reported a “new all-time record” for gross merchandise volume for its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31.

A large trucking company sees a long-haul marketplace opportunity in chemicals

Schneider National Inc., a major trucking and logistics services company, is investing in and working with chemicals marketplace ChemDirect. Schneider is helping the marketplace launch ChemShip, a commerce-driven logistics program.

Bringing a traditional agricultural industry into B2B ecommerce

Online B2B marketplace ProducePay builds trust between farmers and their customers as it aims to streamline a labyrinthine agricultural supply chain, founder and CEO Pablo Borquez Schwarzbeck says.

EnvisionB2B 2022 Conference:

EnvisionB2B report: B2B ecommerce is in the mainstream

Ecommerce and online marketplaces are becoming part of the mainstream of B2B commerce, Mark Brohan, senior vice president, Digital Commerce 360, said in opening remarks at EnvisionB2B.


Kellogg’s strategy for staying ahead of the ecommerce curve

With B2B organizations of all sizes wrestling with how to compete in B2B ecommerce and build buying experiences that lead to higher customer retention and sales, Kellogg’s Rob Birse told attendees at the EnvisionB2B Conference & Exhibition how the global food manufacturer and marketer is tackling those issues.

EnvisionB2B Report: Grainger’s keynote covers customer experience and digital sales growth

Grainger CEO DG Macpherson told his EnvisionB2B audience that it’s essential to use ecommerce technology to reduce the time customers spend looking for products.

Global Industrial is creating a customer-centric ecommerce experience

CEO Barry Litwin detailed for EnvisionB2B attendees the billion-dollar distributor’s ongoing investment in digital commerce to increase customer retention and sales.

How Xometry uses data to match buyers with on-demand manufacturers

Xometry CEO Randy Altschuler shared insights into the strategic importance of digital commerce at EnvisionB2B. Buyers and manufacturers can change with the times and prosper in the age of the digital-first business customer.


Siemens Healthineers makes it easier for customers to buy online

Dan Renda, head of global ecommerce at Siemens Healthineers, says the graying of the world’s population is an opportunity for its already surging ecommerce business. Renda spoke at the EnvisionB2B conference last week.

From monolithic to headless: Illumina’s customer conversion formula

Illumina manufactures products used in biological research and development. Ecommerce sales have nearly doubled since 2020. They’re now more than $1 billion, says Ash Trasi, director of IT, web and ecommerce. Trasi will speak on headless commerce at the EnvisionB2B conference, which runs June 8 to 10 in Chicago.

How Parts Town handles the ‘blurred lines’ between B2B and B2C

Food service parts distributor Parts Town surpassed $1.8 billion in sales with a focus on customer experience.

B2B buyers expect an omnichannel experience, MSC Industrial Supply says

MSC Industrial Supply Co.’s Mark Pickett, vice president of cross-channel growth, says B2B buyers increasingly expect a fast, transparent and personalized online experience from suppliers.


Internet innovation is driving investment in business, Wall Street analysts say

Internet investment analysts Mark Mahaney of Evercore ISI and Bowery Capital’s Michael Brown told EnvisionB2B attendees on Friday that, while a medium-level recession is looming, innovation among internet companies is providing opportunity for investment. Venture capital firms are more selective about investments in the current economic environment. But there are benefits to rethinking company strategies to improve long-term results.

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Sign up for a complimentary subscription to Digital Commerce 360 B2B News, published 4x/week. It covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B ecommerce industry. Contact Mark Brohan, senior vice president of B2B and Market Research Development, at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @markbrohan. You can also contact editor Paul Demery at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @pdemery.

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