If you’ve been following our blog over the past few months, you’ve likely learned about the benefits of gaining a presence on marketplaces such as Amazon Business and eBay for Business, allowing you to drastically expand your individual and wholesale customer bases in the process.
You’ve also likely read about how using Shopify can benefit your B2B company, as well.
Today, we’re going to merge these two topics and discuss how to use Shopify Plus specifically to sell to wholesale buyers.
Using Shopify Plus for Wholesale Purposes
Before we dive into the main principles of using Shopify to cater to wholesale customers, let’s quickly run through the benefits of doing so.
For one thing, offering a wholesale option to your customers, of course, allows them to purchase more product within a single transaction. On your customers’ end, this allows them to get more of what they need for less of an investment (both in terms of time and money - we’ll talk about that in a minute). On your end, you’ll inherently increase your average order value, as well as the amount of product you sell overall.
If you already offer a wholesale option to your customers offline, using Shopify allows you to automate the fulfillment process almost entirely. Shopify enables you to take in orders and deliver product to your wholesale customers, as well as receive and process payments in a much quicker fashion than when done in person.
Lastly, if you’re already set up on Shopify for retail sales, creating a wholesale section of your online store is quick and easy to do - you can be up and running within a day.
With all that said, let’s look at three things you need to do to optimize your Shopify site for wholesale buyers.
Section Off Your Wholesale Store
Technically, any of your customers could purchase your store’s items in bulk by merely increasing the number of items they order during a given transaction.
But if you rely on your customers to take it upon themselves to buy in bulk, you’re almost certainly going to be disappointed with the results.
(On that same token, if a customer comes to your site looking to buy in bulk, but they don’t see a bulk option, they might assume you don’t have the capacity to fulfill their needed order.)
At any rate, your first order of business will be to separate the retail and wholesale sections of your site to ensure that your customers can navigate to the appropriate section as quickly as possible. Once you have the sections of your store separated, you might choose to create a landing page to help point your customers in the right direction.
Another thing to think about is whether to require that your wholesale customers sign up for a store account or membership, so as to ensure only serious buyers have access to information relating to your wholesale pricing and other such data.
(Check out this post to learn more about the pros and cons of a gated section of your website.)
The simple act of creating a dedicated wholesale section to your eCommerce store will prove to customers looking to buy in bulk that you’re 100% prepared to fulfill their orders immediately.
Determine - and Make Clear - the Logistics
You probably don’t need me to tell you that selling to retail customers and selling to wholesale buyers are two entirely different animals.
But, if you’re just beginning to dive into the world of wholesale, you’re going to need to show your potential bulk buyers that you know the difference between the two.
For starters, the B2B sales and fulfillment process is much more involved than its B2C counterpart. Bulk buyers know this, and they may be a bit wary of taking the entire process online and automating it. You can alleviate their worries by providing in-depth documentation of your online fulfillment process, in addition to guarantees regarding their satisfaction with the said process.
(Also, as you prove to your new bulk purchasers that you can quickly and easily fulfill their needs via your online store, you can position your eCommerce presence as one of your brand’s unique selling points.)
You also want to point out order specifications, such as the minimum order amount, quantity increments, and savings-per-unit.
As we said earlier, wholesale buyers technically could purchase in bulk from your retail store (had you not opened the new wholesale section). Once they see the amount they can save by specifically ordering via your bulk section, though, they’re not likely to turn back.
One thing to be sure of is that you set a minimum order amount (either by product number or dollar amount). This ensures that you’ll at least cover a specific value per every wholesale order placed on your site.
Use Third-Party Apps
To get the most out of Shopify, you definitely want to dig into some of the third-party apps that integrate with the platform.
While there are many third-party apps available for Shopify, which cover a wide variety of purposes, the two areas you’ll want to focus on for your wholesale site are tailored pricing and gated content.
Tailored pricing apps, such as Wholesaler and Supple Wholesale, allow you to identify specific customers as frequent buyers, big-ticket buyers, and more - and offer these customers personalized prices as you see fit. These apps can come in handy if you’ve chosen to keep your wholesale site open to the general public, as you can set the app only to allow designated customers to make bulk purchases (i.e., “everyday” visitors to your site would need to request permission to make bulk purchases).
Similarly, apps such as Locksmith can be used to hide specific products, pricing, and purchasing options from visitors to your site until you’ve given permission. Again, if you’ve chosen to keep your wholesale website visible to the public, this allows to you still maintain a distance between your retail and wholesale customers.
As we said, there are a ton of third-party apps available to help you streamline processes and optimize your Shopify site - both for your retail and wholesale customers. Take a look at Shopify’s App Store for more suggestions.
Whether you’re already active on Shopify as a retailer, or you use other B2B platforms for wholesale purposes, you might want to consider expanding your horizons to Shopify Plus’ wholesale option.
Again, though: if you’re already active as a wholesale company offline, eCommerce may be uncharted territory for some of your current customers. However, once you’ve explained to them the quick and easy process of ordering via your Shopify store, you stand to gain a ton of business from them - with a fraction of the effort.