How To Build a B2B Business On Shopify

Setting up an online B2B business is now easier than ever thanks to platforms that offer robust eCommerce features at a fraction of the cost of a custom-built website.

Shopify, in particular, is used by B2B merchants all over the world. Its wholesale eCommerce solution and the extensive collection of apps allow users to customize their B2B sites with functionalities that help optimize customer experience and boost conversion.

Here are some of Shopify's features that'll help you attract more customers, improve retention, and increase sales:

1. Volume Pricing

B2B buyers expect bulk pricing when they purchase a large quantity. Offering a volume discount helps you attract customers and encourage them to increase their average order value.

To set up volume pricing, you can go to Admin >> Properties, create a custom option (e.g., "quantity") and add variants. Although this method gets the job done, the information isn't dynamic. The setup can get complicated if you have many products and pricing tiers.

You can also install an app to help handle quantity discount and tiered pricing. It allows you to make bulk changes and set up discount as a percentage or fixed amount for multiple items without duplicating products.

B2B eCommerce volume discounts

2. Wholesale Account

Shopify's B2B solution allows you to set up a password-protected storefront for selected customers who have negotiated deals so you can enable dynamic, tiered, and custom pricing to optimize order volume.

To utilize this feature, add a tag when you create a customer account. Later on, when you set up a price list, include the tag information so the right pricing will be shown to the right group of customers when they log into the password-protected storefront. 

Wholesale Accounts on ShopifyImage source

This feature enables you to effectively execute account-based marketing (ABM) and offer customers a personalized experience that will increase ROI and improve retention.

You can also offer customized catalogs that show the most relevant products and recommendations to individual buyers to streamline their shopping experience and help them find products they're most likely to purchase.

3. Payment Options

Did you know that only 5% of B2B purchases are made with credit/debit cards?

56% of B2B buyers prefer different payment options, such as purchase order, extended credit, and payment plans to help them better manage cash flow and reduce financing cost.

Offering a variety of payment methods to your customers through a streamlined interface makes it much easier to do business with you. It'll help increase conversion rate, reduce cart abandonment, improve customer retention, and boost customer lifetime value.

The Shopify platform is set up to accept different payment methods, including PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, money order, bank deposit, and BitCoin.

You can also install apps to offer even more options:

  • Extending a line of credit: Apruve allows your customers to set up a business account with its automated B2B credit management feature. When a customer places an order using payment terms, you'll get the money through a credit network right away, and the customer will have 30-60 days to pay.
    Apruve B2B application for Shopify
  • Payment plans: you can offer customized and flexible payment plans with multiple payment options to customers using apps such as Partial.ly Payment Plans.
  • Recurring payment or subscription: allowing customers to set up recurring order not only makes it more convenient for them but also helps you improve customer retention and cash flow. You can use this Recurring Payment, Subscription & Invoicing app to offer a variety of options.

4. Localized eCommerce Websites

Even though the growth of B2B eCommerce is projected to plateau in the US, its momentum will pick up in many other countries, such as China. If you aren't selling internationally already, it's time to explore the opportunity.

Worldwide Shopify business reachImage source

To best serve an international clientele, you need to create localized versions of your eCommerce websites that speak to buyers in different countries.

Shopify allows you to set up unlimited storefronts so you can sell across the globe by tailoring the user experience for different languages, currencies, and seasonal trends. 

You can add payment options preferred by local buyers and take advantage of the built-in tax calculations for 70,000 jurisdictions.

If you need more robust localization for your eCommerce sites, such as a built-in real-time currency converter, the ability to change the look and feel of translated versions, and site search for translated content, you can use an app such as Localizer to set up your sites.

5. Customer Support

Simply having the best price or the largest product selection may not be enough to stand out and beat your competition.

B2B buyers look for a seamless purchasing experience during which their questions are answered and needs are met in a timely manner.

Importance of Customer service in B2B
Source

Customer support is an essential component in delivering an outstanding customer experience, both pre- and post-sale. Invest heavily in your customer service to attract more buyers, improve customer loyalty, and increase customer lifetime value.

There are many Shopify apps for adding customer support features to your site, including:

  • Live chat: connect with customers in real-time using apps such as Tidio and Tawk.to so they can get their questions answered without leaving the product page or checkout flow. This can help reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion rate.
  •  FAQ page: apps such as HelpCenter allow you to set up searchable FAQ pages so customers can self-service and submit questions when they can't find the answer. 
  • Messaging apps: use an app like WhatsHelp Chat Button to connect with customers via messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat, Line, WeChat, and Telegram. You can continue the conversation even after they leave your website.
    Chatbots for B2B Shopify
  • Customer service: Zendesk integrates with Shopify, allowing customers to submit support tickets and get in touch with your support team quickly through the Web Widget.
  • Contact form: don't forget the oldie but goodie -- some customers still prefer to get in touch via a website contact form. Make sure yours is mobile-responsive and allows you to customize form fields so you can gather the right information to assist your customers. Easy Contact Form is one of the Shopify apps that help you do just that.

6. Shipping and Return

Handling shipping can be a major headache for many B2B sellers, especially if you're using multiple carriers.

Thankfully, you streamline operation with apps such as ShipWorks, which integrates with FedEx, FedEx Canada, DHL eCommerce, i-parcel, OnTrac, UPS, UPS Canada, USPS, to automate shipping and find the lowest shipping rate.

Automated Business shipping for eCommerce

You can also improve customer experience by making return easy with apps such as AfterShip Return Center. A painless return process encourages customers to try new items -- which means more sales and higher average order value for you!

7. Product Page Optimization

If you carry a large number of items, your product pages offer a lot of on-page SEO opportunities to help your site rank higher in search engine results.

You can use a variety of apps to optimize your product pages and make them more engaging:

  • SEO: 89% of B2B buyers use the Internet to do research, and they perform an average of 12 searches before engaging with a brand. Use apps such as SEO Manager to tame the SEO beast and make sure your product pages are optimized to show up in search engine results.
    SEO for Shopify B2B
  • Product reviews: having 10 or more reviews can lead to 15-20% increase in search traffic. Not to mention, more and more customers make their purchasing decisions based on product reviews. Use apps such as Product Reviews to add a (yep, you guessed it!) product review feature to your Shopify store to drive traffic, increase engagement, and boost conversion.
  • Product page Q&A: adding a Q&A section on your product pages using apps such as Product Questions and Answers can help increase engagement and address customer's questions without them leaving the page. 

B2B eCommerce Marketing

What's your favorite Shopify feature or app for B2B eCommerce success? Spill the beans!

Posted in B2B eCommerce, Shopify, Wholesale, Sales & Marketing