AD’s 5th annual eCommerce Summit, held Aug. 23-25 at the Gaylord National Resort in Fort Washington, Maryland, set a new benchmark for digital sophistication in AD’s independent distributor community. This year’s summit spoke to a new trend among its members: more companies ready to harness next-level tools and accelerate their digital growth.

AD Vice President of eCommerce Solutions Caroline Ernst noted the striking change in the summit’s focus. “Unlike in past years, we weren’t focused on encouraging members to invest in eCommerce as a new business channel,” she said. “We were talking about how to level-up their eCommerce efforts and drive more digital business. Our conversations and learning focused on creating a great online experience for customers that drives product discovery, self-service and sales.”

About 300 participants gathered for the in-person event. In addition to members and service providers, AD welcomed 60 supplier representatives from 38 companies participating as attendees and speakers, a first for the summit.

This year’s AD eCommerce Summit offered several new features, including nine different breakout sessions on subjects like ROI, SEO and eContent to accommodate member companies at various level of digital maturity. There were also panel discussions with members and suppliers highlighting achievements and challenges. As in previous years, dedicated member networking sessions were a key component, underscoring AD’s emphasis on sharing knowledge and building relationships.

State Electric Supply Co.’s Senior Vice President of Marketing & Digital Solutions Dave Gravely, who serves on the AD eCommerce Advisory Council, spoke to the benefits of inviting some of his newer team members to attend the summit. “I would recommend to anybody that they bring some of the young folks that are new in their company to the summit because it gives them a whole perspective on AD that they do not get sitting behind a desk looking at content or data all day long,” he said. “They really get to scope the breadth and value that AD has by being there and that’s really what our team came away with.” 

AD plans to continue expanding its eCommerce Solutions and partner services just as the community is continually investing in digital growth. Speaking at the summit, AD Chief Marketing Officer Marty McLaughlin applauded the spirit of the independent distributor. “Today’s leaders investing in digital are driving the next level of growth and reshaping the independent business model to better compete against traditional and emerging firms,” he said. “The desire to win, along with inherent flexibility, is why we strongly believe independent distribution is here to stay.”

To celebrate members who demonstrate leadership and commitment in the advancement of AD’s eCommerce Solutions, as well as those who demonstrate industry-leading innovation and creativity in adopting a digital branch, the eCommerce Summit included an awards presentation.

AD congratulates this year’s award winners:

  • 2021 AD Industrial & Safety – US eCommerce Leadership: Engman-Taylor
  • 2021 AD Bearings & Power Transmission eCommerce Leadership: B&D Industrial
  • 2021 AD Electrical eCommerce Leadership: State Electric Supply Co.
  • 2021 AD PHCP eCommerce Leadership: First Supply
  • 2021 AD eCommerce Innovator of the Year: Mingledorff’s