B2B Online 2016 – Digital Imperatives for Manufacturers and Distributors

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Worldwide Business Research held their B2B Online Conference earlier this month. For three days in Chicago, manufacturers, distributors, vendors and industry thought leaders gathered for a series of presentations, panel discussions and roundtables. B2B organizations were out in full force, searching for ways to tackle the digital challenges and imperatives they face today.

The overarching theme of this year’s event was simple: Traditional strategies of doing business are fading. In B2C, that shift is obvious and B2B is rapidly closing in behind it. Today’s B2C shoppers are also B2B buyers – they no longer need a phone call and handshake to conduct a transaction.

As Forrester analyst Andy Hoar points out, Amazon Business did $1B in sales in 2015 and are just getting started – no B2B organization should dismiss their impact. Amazon is setting the bar for the B2B buying experience by delivering what people have come to expect from the B2C channel, and they’re using this to grow market share very effectively.

The critical takeaway from the conference was clear: Failing to start now can have catastrophic ramifications. Remember Blockbuster, Borders and Kodak? Each refused to innovate, even as their competition grew. Now is the time to define your strategy. Innovation is all around – you can choose to be a leader, or you can choose to become irrelevant.

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