B2B Online is where world leading manufacturers share their experience with the fellow professionals in the field. Now we're excited to share our impressions from this experience.
Our CEO Alexandre Siniouguine has returned from the B2B Online 2017 in Chicago! We have been planning to participate in this conference for quite a while – it’s a great opportunity for us as a company to learn and share our experience with the fellow professionals in the field, network and make useful connections as well as to dip into the community’s knowledge of the latest industry trends.
For this event we have decided to partner up with JBS Custom Software Solutions. This was an excellent set-up for us to represent both our companies and to showcase demo-versions of our products. Now we're excited to share our impressions from this experience.
“B2B Online is where world leading manufacturers learn digital strategies!” – so goes the statement on the conference’s website. And it turned out to be exactly that! We came to the B2B Online as an attendee, curious and eager to explore what was offered. And we left as a member of a large and knowledgeable community of manufacturers and distributors. We’re now inspired to offer our solution to more B2B distributors to help them on their way to digital success!
The conference had over 660 participants – seasoned professionals in the eCommerce field, among which were such companies as Timberland PRO, Thomas Reuters, Staples, Oracle, Lowes Home Improvement, LG Electronics, IBM, FedEx Supply Chain, eBay, Dell, Inc., Coca-Cola Refreshments, Bosch, Amazon, Adobe and many more leaders of the industry.
The event offered multiple ways of participating from interactive roundtable discussions and case study presentations, to various panels and Q&A sessions. The speakers did a great job of presenting their topics; and we were pleased to see some great opportunities for our platform to be the solution for a lot of manufacturers within the B2B sector.
One of our main takeaways from the conference was the concept of content scoring. The content scoring is quickly becoming a prominent trend in B2B. This new methodology allows tracking certain publications or campaigns and evaluating how well they perform in generating leads and opportunities. Unlike page views, shares or unique visitors, content scoring indicates the exact value of the content an organization shares based on how “successful leads” (closed deals) had interacted with it. It enables marketers to make educated decisions on which content assets to focus on. Here are some screenshots that showcase how it is managed.
When it comes to the speakers at the conference, there were several we would like to point out specifically, as they have made the most impact on us.
First and foremost, we need to name Justin King’s presentation on “3 mistakes ecommerce distributors make and how to fix them”. He has encouraged distribution professionals to treat their eCommerce efforts the same as they would their physical branch and to build a strong and well-structured strategy for it.
• Competitive Assessment
• Financial model
• Return on assets
• Staffing plan
• Marketing and communications roadmap
These were the aspects he suggested to use for planning. Among his other suggestions were designing a customer experience for adoption and making sure to include features like
- User experience design
- Product data
- Search box
- Type ahead search
And also, to turn the focus to internal marketing first, which he believes would strengthen marketing efforts as a whole - "No one knows more about your products or your customers. Use that knowledge to win."
Another noteworthy speaker we’d love to mention is Marta Dalton, the Director of eCommerce at CocaCola. She did a brilliant presentation on personalizing emails to advance customer engagement. She recommends personalizing multiple aspects of an email rather than just the header, as it’s most commonly done. Some options she suggested are
- Data fields
- Call to action
In addition, she talked about the best use of timed and triggered emails and provided some curious examples of how her recommended strategies are implemented within her company.
Michael Hauk presented an interesting take on going digital in the B2B sector. He brought up the trendy topic of a number of B2C eCommerce features being essential for B2B-focused solutions as well, as B2B customers expect everything they are used to in their B2C lives. He has a very numbers-based approach, recommending focusing on measuring the data for making strategic choices and investing in digital content and experiences where they drive value.
This was something that definitely speaks to us, as we pride on always incorporating the latest technology trends in our platform, making it convenient and providing the best feature options for the B2B manufacturers.
Overall, our participation in the B2B Online Conference has reassured us that we are on the right track with the development of the Virto Commerce platform, gave us some great new connections and a few useful tips on which direction to go next on our path of providing the most efficient e-commerce solution for B2B distributors and manufacturers.