Shopify’s latest foray into improving the ecommerce landscape focuses on optimizing and streamlining B2B and wholesale sales
With society’s always online way of life, B2B ecommerce platforms have quickly become a cornerstone for wholesale business growth. Among these platforms, Shopify has emerged as a standout choice, upgrading its scope beyond its initial use for small-to-medium-sized businesses. It now supports enterprise operations and has expanded to offer comprehensive solutions for B2B and wholesale product sales.
If you’re running a B2B operation and looking to simplify your day-to-day, Shopify might be the platform for you. Here’s your complete guide to what makes Shopify B2B, with its fully revamped features, the best platform for your B2B ecommerce needs.
Understanding Shopify B2B
Shopify B2B isn’t just an extension of Shopify’s regular platform; it's a specialized solution designed to meet the unique demands of B2B ecommerce. With a focus on wholesale B2B transactions, it offers functionalities that cater to the intricate and often custom nature of business-to-business relationships, differentiating it from traditional consumer-focused ecommerce.
Available to customers on the Shopify Plus plan, Shopify’s fully reworked B2B solution aims to consolidate your entire operation into one single admin interface while also eliminating the need to create new apps or do any coding yourself. With this configuration, you can create a direct-to-consumer (DTC) experience for your B2B buyers, making the whole process simple and enjoyable for your entire customer base, whether you sell DTC, B2B, or both.
That said, there are cases where it still makes sense to segregate your DTC and B2B customers into distinct storefronts, and you’re free to do so, under a single license, while keeping everything organized using Shopify’s new company profile page in your admin.
Originally, Shopify had offered a separate wholesale sales channel to larger B2B and wholesale-focused enterprises but recognized that their solution wasn’t without its pitfalls. This upgraded version of Shopify B2B has significantly improved upon its offerings to wholesale merchants in every way, with a suite of features centered around ease of use and customization.
Here are the main differences you’ll notice between the Shopify Plus wholesale channel and the new Shopify B2B:
- Unlike the wholesale channel, Shopify's B2B functionality is integrated directly into the standard Shopify admin interface. This means that most of the apps and features you appreciate in your direct-to-consumer (DTC) online store can now also extend to your B2B transactions.
- Your online store can cater to both B2B and DTC customers seamlessly. While both types of customers can place orders through the same storefront, B2B customers are required to authenticate via email to view tailored information, including specific pricing and payment options.
- The availability of APIs with B2B allows for the integration of your wholesale store with essential business systems like ERP and CRM.
Along with those differences and improvements is a suite of features built to make sure your B2B operation runs smoothly and offers an experience created specifically for B2B companies.
Key Features of Shopify B2B
B2B on Shopify shines in its ability to simplify and streamline all your company’s sales activities with Shopify into one single profile. Here are a few of the most exciting features available on Shopify’s B2B ecommerce platform:
1. Account Management Tools
Building and managing customer relationships is much simpler with Shopify B2B. The platform allows the creation and management of detailed B2B customer profiles, fostering personalized relationships and improved customer service. This is the key to differentiating yourself from everyone else and making sure you’re meeting everyone’s unique set of needs and goals.Customer Profiles
While this seems like a relatively simple feature to anyone who has ever used any website or software before, what makes customer profiles for B2B and wholesale orders unique is how much control online stores now have over their overall customer experiences on an individual level.
Getting your customers set up with accounts is simple: send an invite from your Shopify admin and your customers can authenticate themselves and gain access with a one-time code sent to their phone or email. Continuing with Shopify’s theme of custom experiences, retailers can even tailor these emails on a company-to-company basis so that each customer receives a custom notification template.
On your end, as a B2B merchant, the level of customization you have over what your customers can see and do is almost endless. Create a company account and add/remove customer profiles as needed, set up specific roles & permissions at a user level, and even manage which locations of your business they have access to shop from on their end of the platform.
Customer profiles also open up the possibility for completely unique storefronts on a person-by-person or company-by-company basis, ensuring that everyone has access to exactly what they need, and nothing they don’t.Customer-Specific Catalogs and Pricing
Assign specific catalogs to buyers or individual store locations to ensure that each buyer can quickly get what they need without too much hassle and excessive searching. You can even create personalized stores for each customer, made simpler because Shopify also offers Liquid support in its B2B offerings. This personalization also extends beyond store themes to your company’s entire brand and all your email templates as well!
While the traditional Shopify discount feature isn’t enabled on B2B by default (reach out to Shopify Plus Support to get that activated), retailers can build out pricing for each store location and customer account on a case-by-case and product-by-product basis. This means that any agreements made with specific buyers can be honored on their version of your storefront without the need for any discount codes or additional input on their end.
2. Order and Inventory Management
Efficiently managing bulk orders and large inventories is a significant challenge in wholesale businesses. Shopify B2B streamlines these processes, enabling merchants to handle large-scale orders effortlessly while maintaining accurate inventory levels.
Additionally, the order details page for B2B orders allows you to view and manage purchase order (PO) numbers, while you can also create draft orders for added convenience.
Draft orders can be created by customer service representatives or account managers and then emailed to customers to simply confirm – with net terms – or confirm and pay for them immediately. Since it’s generally standard practice for account managers to place orders on behalf of larger clients in the B2B world, this feature is essential in order to ensure that larger B2B companies are able to shop based on their internal workflows and policies.
3. Conditional Quantity Rules
With Shopify’s most recent update, merchants can set up conditional rules for products and variants, such as minimum and maximum limits, case pack requirements, and incremental adjustments. These quantity rules are great for any merchant who sells bulk products or offers specific discounts and pricing for LTL (less than truckload) and FTL (full truckload) orders from their product catalog.
On the other hand, merchants selling wholesale can also use this feature to set up minimum quantities of items, notifying the customer if they attempt to purchase a smaller quantity than is possible.
4. Payment and Billing Options
Having diverse payment options in B2B transactions is essential to supporting your customers and their unique needs. Shopify B2B supports various payment terms and integrates multiple payment gateways, offering flexibility both for the merchant and the client.
As a merchant, you can allow your customers to store their credit cards during checkouts or through their customer accounts, making reordering – another new Shopify B2B capability – quick and easy. Additionally, you can make the order process easier for your store with the implementation of drafts, invoices, due-on-fulfillment terms, and payment reminders.
Shopify B2B’s latest feature, Checkout to Draft also expands upon their already flexible payment customization by allowing B2B and wholesale customers to convert their carts into orders without having to immediately provide payment. This is useful for any customers who need to first generate a quote for their order for approval before finalizing it and getting the ball rolling.
Merchants can also assign payment terms for companies, which increases the flexibility that company locations have to pay for their orders. Currently, Shopify B2B supports the following payment terms:
- None: Pay immediately at checkout.
- Net: Add due dates for payments based on user/company.
- Due on Fulfillment: Orders can be paid for any time between the purchase date and the date all of the items on the order have been fulfilled.
5. Multi-Currency and International Sales
Expanding your reach to international markets is just as seamless with Shopify B2B as it is for DTC. The entire Shopify platform supports multi-currency transactions and adapts to global market needs, making cross-border sales more manageable, which is also true of Shopify B2B.
Set up localized storefronts, customize pricing and handle as many different currencies as you need, cater to different languages, and handle specific tax exemptions all from your Shopify backoffice.
6. Flexible Shopify API
The implementation of all these new exciting B2B features for business owners also came with some updates to the Shopify API, adding additional functionality for an almost infinite number of third-party applications and use cases.
Developers working within, and for ecommerce sites powered by Shopify can now access even more data than ever before, including more detailed company, price list, publication, order, and payment terms APIs, and last but not least: customer-specific catalogs.
Having access to all this new and improved information turns Shopify B2B into the ideal tool for creating and extending any app and solution your unique business may need. No matter the scope or size.
Shopify's enhanced B2B features mark a significant leap forward in wholesale ecommerce strategy. By integrating these advanced capabilities into the core Shopify platform, retailers can now enjoy a seamless, efficient, and customizable B2B experience. From streamlined account management and personalized customer interaction to sophisticated order and inventory management, Shopify B2B addresses the intricate needs of wholesale transactions, while maintaining the best-in-class shopping experiences Shopify is known for.
As a certified Shopify Plus Service Partner, Blue Badger offers everything you need to get your business up and running with Shopify B2B. Offering services like design and development of custom themes and apps, strategy, conversion rate optimization, performance marketing, and more, let us help you build an ecommerce ecosystem that you can rely on. Get in touch with us today to learn more.