Shopify is easy to get started with. But is it reserved for consumer businesses? Absolutely not! You can use Shopify if you want to sell to other businesses via the Internet or open an online wholesale store. How to set up Shopify B2B store or a wholesale channel? It’s actually quite easy, but before we jump into it, let’s get back to basics – why do we differentiate between a B2B and B2C online store? What do those words mean?

What’s the difference between B2B and B2C online store?

An online B2C (business to consumer) store is a site that sells to consumers. Anyone who visits the website can make a purchase. An online B2B (business to business) store, on the other hand, offers their products mainly to other businesses.

B2C and B2B online stores also vary in a way they structure their offer. A B2C store has a pretty straightforward pricing strategy. It offers the same discount to all customers or a particular group, while the prices are rarely negotiated.

A B2B store can adjust the price to an incoming client, setting different prices depending on order volume, history or frequency. Negotiations can take place at any time. What’s more, some B2B online stores welcome B2C clients, while others don’t. They can also decide whether to make their prices explicit to visitors or hide them. Some other B2B online stores are password protected and one cannot view the offer without getting approved. 

Shopify caters to any of the above B2B online store scenarios.

How to configure B2B sales in Shopify?

There are a couple of ways of launching B2B sales and opening a wholesale account on Shopify. It all depends on the Shopify subscription plan or a desired level of automation. Let’s get straight to the first one.

The best option: Shopify Plus and its wholesale channel

Shopify doesn’t put a limit on the store inventory, but if you have a large portfolio of products or your sales are through the roof, choose the enterprise version – Shopify Plus. It has many benefits for merchants that we wrote about in the previous article, 8 things you need to know about Shopify Plus. One of its features is the wholesale channel that supports B2B sales.

What is the Shopify wholesale channel all about?

By enabling wholesale at Shopify Plus, you get a site which is protected with a password, so only authorized users can place orders at your site. Your customers can receive an invitation to set up an account. As soon as they log in, they can make an order. Since you need to approve of any new user, you can set up different prices depending on the customer or edit your offer depending on who logs into your store.

That’s the most comfortable method of selling to businesses on Shopify. For starters, your site’s product pages aren’t indexed by Google and other search engines, so your pricing strategy is safe. What’s more, you can automate the price, so that

  • your B2B clients see universally lower prices
  • all products or a selected product category are discounted
  • a defined client group(s) get lower prices that the rest
  • a price gets lower, the greater the volume order gets

Besides editing the prices, you can set up a minimum order value for every customer or the one you pick. In the same fashion, you can choose if you automatically accept orders or you need to verify them before they can be fulfilled by anyone on your team.

The majority of your work can be automated, be it customer service, inventory management and sales. Shopify Plus helps you automate a client onboarding process and setting up cyclical orders, so that your clients don’t have to do the same activities all over again. What’s more, Shopify analytics allow you to monitor your site.

Short instruction on setting up a wholesale channel in Shopify

Here are the steps of launching B2B wholesale channel through Shopify.

  1. Set up Shopify Plus account
  2. Go through the Shopify Plus onboarding process
  3. Launch wholesale channel
  4. Integrate your ERP, CRM (we can help you with that; see Shopify Development)
  5. Configure payment gateways and shipment
  6. Add privacy policy, terms of service and other required documents
  7. Add products
  8. Configure prices
  9. Place a test order following Shopify instructions
  10. Invite customers to the wholesale channel

As a Shopify Plus merchant, you can ask Shopify specialists for help with your store.

Alternative solution: adjusting regular Shopify plans to B2B sales

If you run your store on any other Shopify plan but Shopify Plus, you can still sell products to other businesses, yet it won’t be as flexible as Shopify Plus option with its wholesale channel. Still, that’s a pretty useful tip. Let’s learn more about it.

How to set up B2B sales without a wholesale channel?

Decide if you want to serve your B2C and B2B customers in the same online store or open separate stores for each customer type. Then, set up invoicing. If you want to give discounts to your B2B clientele, ask every B2B customer to set up an account in your store, so you can set up a special discount code for B2B accounts. Shopify limits the number of discount codes that can be used during checkout, so your client cannot use any other code with their order.

Launch a B2B online store or wholesale business with WeCanFly

Shopify has a major advantage over its competition – you don’t need coding skills to set up and grow your store. The admin panel is pretty easy to grasp. You can easily add and edit products and integrate any new features into your store. The same goes for B2B stores and the wholesale channel. They are intuitive and user-friendly. We can help you set up and grow your store. Just reach out to us. We’re here to help.