B2B Online Chicago 2024 Recap: Key Takeaways on Future Proofing Your Business

May 09 2024

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A Quick Round Up from B2B Online Chicago

Icreon, a leading digital solutions agency, participated in the B2B Online Chicago, the premier eCommerce and digital marketing conference for manufacturers and distributors, held from May 5th to 8th at Chicago Marriott Downtown. This was the only conference where 900+ B2B leaders gathered to share disruptive digital, eCommerce and omnichannel trends, newest innovative strategies in the b2b space, and actionable insights that help businesses reshape their digital marketing strategies and grow at a faster pace.

Throughout the conference, we participated in non-stop networking and collaborations with attendees at our booth, engaged in inspiring keynotes, main stage events, workshops, panel discussions, and hosted special party events. Notably, Kenneth Parks, our Chief Growth Officer at Icreon, led the charge on growth through digital transformation track through multiple sessions, sharing insights and strategies needed to drive B2B eCommerce journey forward.

In case you missed the event, we’ve got you covered with the day wise updates straight from the premier b2b online conference.

Day 1 Recap – 6th May: Future Proofing Your Organization with Latest in Ecommerce

The buzz of networking and collaboration filled the air as B2B Online Chicago kicked off on Day 1. Setting the stage for the day's theme of "Futureproofing Your Organization with Ecommerce for Today, Tomorrow & Beyond," Ryan Kulp – Program Director, B2B Online, started off with his welcome remarks on next-gen CX. Kulp compared crafting customer experiences to building with Lego bricks. It's simple at first, but there are countless ways to put the pieces together. Just as with Lego, you begin with basic elements, but by being strategic and imaginative, you can create something extraordinary.

Right after that, Derek Gominger, COO of Global eCommerce at Lenovo, delivered a captivating opening keynote. His talk focused on key strategies for B2B growth: embracing agility and adaptability, championing innovative concepts, empowering the workforce, and fostering collaborative innovation.

The day continued with a seamless flow of learning and exploration through key presentations, panel discussions, and a series of engaging sessions. One of the exciting parts was interactive workshops that kept attendees engaged and eager to delve deeper into the future of B2B eCommerce.

A Series of B2B Interactive Workshops

There were multiple workshops of 55 minutes each on the B2B landscape. Here, everyone got the opportunity to engage in at least 1 of 3 simultaneous workshops running throughout the day. During these sessions, people addressed some of the most significant B2B industry challenges while collaborating with other attendees, solved problems collectively, and gained actionable insights through practical implementation.

The major topics covered in workshops included personalization, change management, navigating client relation complexity, aligning sales and marketing, and mastering channel strategies like marketplace, dropship, DTC, Gen AI strategy and investment, and more.

Related: How Generative AI is Transforming the Future of Content and Personalization

A particularly engaging workshop, led by Jack Moberger, B2B Practice Leader at Algolia, tackled the critical topic of search experience audit. Drawing on insights from Algolia's vast experience with over 1,700 manufacturer and distributor customers, as well as Baymard's B2B search UX best practices, Moberger guided participants through an audit of their own search experiences.

This interactive session began with self-evaluation of key touchpoints like search bars, product listing pages, and checkout flows, empowering attendees to identify improvement areas and walk away with a personalized workbook brimming with actionable steps to maximize their return on investment (ROI).

B2B Beats & Networking in Rhythm with Special DJ Guests, Hosted by Icreon

Icreon capped off Day 1 of B2B Online Chicago with a bash that blended business brilliance with bumpy beats! Top industry leaders weren't just swapping insights – they were networking under the electric glow of an Icreon after-party. Renowned eCommerce executives and digital DJ duo, Rudy and Ljubitiza, spun an electrifying soundtrack that kept the energy soaring well into the Chicago night. This immersive experience ensured attendees carried the momentum and connections forged throughout the day into the next session.

Day Two Recap- 7th May: Powering B2B Success Through Digital Marketing, eCommerce, and Sales Synergy

The energy was high as B2B Online Chicago pulsated into Day 2! A dynamic crowd of B2B leaders, eCommerce experts, manufacturers, and distributors converged, united by a common goal: powering B2B success through digital marketing, eCommerce, and sales synergy. The day kicked off with Chairman's Remarks by Michael Scholz, VP Product & Customer Marketing at commercetools, setting the stage for a day of exploration and inspiration.

Following the opening address, a captivating keynote panel discussion titled "Harnessing AI: The Top Areas to Effectively Implement Change & Increase Efficiencies" took center stage. The panelist delved into the power of AI, exploring key areas like AI-powered personalization, product data optimization, future forecasting, and automation for enhanced efficiency. They demonstrated how AI can be a game-changer in the B2B eCommerce arena, sharing illuminating case studies and insights.

The rest of Day 2 unfolded with a series of engaging keynote presentations, panel discussions, innovation theater sessions and theme-based tracks designed to equip attendees with actionable strategies and cutting-edge insights.

Icreon took the stage in conducting multiple sessions on ‘Driving Growth through Digital Transformation’ track, offering key insights on navigating change management, forging high-performance sales organization, latest payment trends respectively.


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Chairperson’s Remarks: Track A Growth Through Digital Transformation

The energy soared even higher with a captivating talk on "Driving Growth Through Digital Transformation," co-presented by industry leaders Martin Renkis, Executive Director, Global Sustainable Infrastructure Alliances at Johnson Controls, and Kenneth Parks, Chief Growth Officer at Icreon. Their insights, including a case study on Johnson Controls' successful pivot to a solutions-based model, proved invaluable for businesses seeking growth in the digital age.

Embracing Change: Navigating Effective Change Management for Digital Transformation

In a session focused on change management, Kenneth Parks from Icreon introduced Antonio Espinoza, Philips' Global Head of Engagement Strategy & Digital. Espinoza presented a case study highlighting the importance of adept change management for navigating digital transformation. He emphasized that while change can be challenging, understanding, and managing these hurdles unlocks the full potential of digital opportunities.

Panel: Navigating the Course to Forge a High-Performance Sales Organization

Kenneth Parks, Chief Growth Officer at Icreon, reviewed how marketing, eCommerce and sales are aligning together to boost the business revenues. During this session, the importance of hybrid and omni-channel sales models was appreciated to begin the journey filled with potential rewards. This session was accompanied by Becky Wittrig, VP sales at Restek and Michael Larmon, VP of sales and marketing at Ion Exhibits. Each speaker brought a different perspective and wealth of experience from the industry.


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Panel: Payment Trends: Empowering Businesses with Innovative Financing Solution

Led by four B2B commerce experts Kenneth Parks (Icreon), Patrick Lord (Samsung Electronics America), Gregg Walker (, Kevin Sontgerath (Capital One Trade Credit), this panel focused on the role of B2B financing in facilitating seamless transactions. The experts emphasized the importance of embedded finance and the growing demand for streamlined digital payment experiences. They explored the impact of B2B financing on businesses’ decision-making processes, and how they can leverage partnerships to improve customer experiences and drive growth.

Day 3 Recap – 8th May: Leaving Legacy Technology in The Dust & Transforming to Keep Customers Coming Back

Day 3 of B2B Online Chicago was a whirlwind of activities, brimming with thought-provoking discussions on the future of B2B e-commerce in the age of GenAI. Engaging fireside chats, presentations, and panel debates filled the agenda, all exploring how AI-powered tools and technologies are revolutionizing the B2B landscape.

Leading B2B eCommerce experts took center stage, sharing their insights on optimizing B2B websites to maximize sales and customer success. The day delved into real-world examples showcasing how AI is transforming B2B shopping experiences and alleviating common pain points. Actionable AI strategies were a hot topic, with discussions focusing on integrating AI-powered assistants, natural language processing, and other cutting-edge solutions. Looking towards the future, a key theme emerged: the power of a combined approach. Leveraging the strengths of both AI and human intelligence is crucial for successful digital transformation within organizations.

The conference concluded with a captivating panel discussion featuring B2B leaders who openly shared their experiences with setbacks and failures. These valuable lessons offered insights into navigating challenges and ultimately steering their businesses in the right direction.

Mastering B2B Success

B2B Online Chicago 2024 has drawn to a close, leaving a trail of inspiration and a roadmap for B2B success in the digital age. The event served us as a powerful platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration, with actionable strategies taking center stage.

At Icreon, we were thrilled to be a part of these dynamic discussions, and especially proud to co-host a series of sessions on driving growth through digital transformation. As a leading B2B digital solutions agency, we understand the critical role optimized sales teams play in driving eCommerce success. The insights gleaned from B2B Online Chicago further solidify our commitment to empowering businesses with the tools and strategies they need to thrive in the ever-evolving B2B landscape. Connect with our B2B Commerce experts to discuss your eCommerce challenges.