Discover the world of B2B commerce through the leading eCommerce platform—Shopify. In this blog, we delve into compelling success stories, guide you through setting up your B2B store on Shopify, and shed light on the platform's limitations. Join us for an insightful exploration of the B2B landscape, shaping the future of your business for growth and long-term success.
B2B sales are on the verge of a major transformation, with projections indicating a staggering $1.8 trillion market by 2023, with a substantial 17% being expected to occur online (Keenan, 2022). In the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape, Shopify stands out as an innovation hub, catering not only to direct-to-consumer (DTC) ventures but also seamlessly integrating with businesses heading into the intricate world of business-to-business (B2B) commerce. As a trusted platform tailored to business needs, especially if you’re operating a DTC store, Shopify's prowess extends beyond mere integration. It offers a plethora of benefits, including easy management with an intuitive dashboard, unmatched scalability to accommodate growth, franchise-friendly features for expansion, powerful marketing tools, in-depth store insights for data-driven decisions, and SEO-friendly practices for enhanced online visibility (Do, 2021). Join us as we delve into the process of setting up a B2B store on Shopify, shedding light on how its features can redefine the way you conduct B2B transactions and ultimately shape the future of your business interactions.
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Nothing demonstrates the transformative capabilities of Shopify's B2B solutions better than real-world success stories. Three remarkable brands—Momofuku, Brooklinen, and Memobottle—illustrate the transformative power of Shopify's B2B solutions. Momofuku, famous for its culinary delights, leveraged Shopify to handle high-volume sales, expand into new markets, and conduct B2B transactions seamlessly. Brooklinen, a bedding brand, embraced B2B on Shopify to provide personalized buying experiences, automate processes, and unlock substantial customer engagement. Memobottle, an Australian lifestyle brand, grew global revenue by 310% by using expansion stores and Shopify's B2B module to streamline operations, attract new B2B sellers, and enhance customer engagement. These success stories showcase the adaptability and efficiency Shopify offers for businesses in the dynamic e-commerce landscape.
Setting Up Your B2B Store on Shopify
Wondering if Shopify is the right platform for your business in this fast-growing market? Whether you're a company already well-versed in direct-to-consumer (DTC) operations looking to expand into the realm of B2B, a B2B-focused enterprise seeking a user-friendly online expansion, or a newcomer branching out into B2B e-commerce, Shopify offers tailored solutions to suit your unique needs. Let us guide you through the steps of establishing your B2B store, fundamentally transforming your business operations and enhancing customer experiences.
Step 1: Blended or Dedicated Stores
Before embarking on your B2B journey with Shopify, the initial step is to decide whether a blended or dedicated store is the right fit for your business. Both options cater to various business needs, but the choice you make here will set the foundation for your B2B store.
Blended stores are a fusion of B2B and direct-to-consumer (DTC) functionalities, accommodating both customer types within a single store.
If you opt for a blended store:
- B2B customers can access wholesale catalogs and payment terms through their accounts.
- By default, there will be multiple shared features, including discount codes, gift cards, and certain analytics.
- Notifications, analytics, and shipping settings remain uniform for both customer types.
- Centralized approach to managing business data.
- Your B2B store’s content, layout, and functionality will be customizable through the theme editor, offering adaptability similar to traditional B2C stores.
Dedicated stores, on the other hand, exclusively serve B2B customers and allow for more tailored settings and features to meet their specific needs.
If you opt for a dedicated store:
- A separate domain will be required to operate your dedicated B2B store.
- Separate new customer accounts for B2B clients, providing a personalized experience.
- Freedom to change theme and navigation settings.
- Analytics reports specific to B2B customer information.
- Ability to configure settings for discount codes, gift cards, and Shopify Scripts affecting line item discounts.
- Customization of notifications and abandoned cart emails for B2B clients.
- Different inventory systems and selling-when-out-of-stock settings.
- Unique shipping settings and rates.
In deciding between blended and dedicated stores, consider your unique business requirements. A blended store offers simplicity and efficiency, suitable if you aim to manage data without extensive differentiation between B2B and DTC customers. It streamlines operations and provides a unified experience. Alternatively, a dedicated store is the choice for businesses requiring distinct separation between their B2B and DTC online stores, ensuring a highly customized experience for B2B clients, though it necessitates additional setup and maintenance efforts. Your decision should align with your objectives, enabling your B2B store on Shopify to meet your precise commerce needs.
Step 2: Company Profiles
The creation of companies consolidates many other B2B features, providing a structured framework for business interactions. Conceptually, a "Company" in Shopify represents a single entity with which your shop conducts business, often involving multiple users authorized to place orders on the company's behalf.
This integration extends to company locations, allowing precise customization of B2B features, such as price lists, payment terms, checkout options, and shipping addresses. These features collectively enable the creation of wholesale company profiles, with up to 50 locations per company. Each location can be tailored with individual price lists, payment terms, checkout options, and shipping addresses. Additionally, customers added to the company can be granted different permissions for specific business locations. B2B customers can log in, choose their purchasing location, and receive customized prices, payment terms, and shipping options. This meticulous curation enhances the experience for both buyers and sellers.
The versatile payment terms feature in Shopify's B2B platform not only provide you with flexibility in dictating payment timelines but also enhance your B2B customers' purchasing experience. By selecting options like "net 7," "net 15," "net 30," "net 60," or "net 90," you can offer your customers the convenience of paying when it suits them, all clearly indicated during the checkout process. Additionally, "due on fulfillment" allows payments between order placement and fulfillment, accommodating unique business models. These adaptable terms align financial transactions precisely with your business requirements. Furthermore, you can configure automated payment reminders to enhance customer convenience and optimize revenue collection. Each company location can have tailored payment term durations, ensuring precise alignment with their specific needs, enhancing your control over your payment processes.
Step 4: Customized Catalogs and Price Lists
One of the standout features in Shopify's B2B arsenal is the ability to create tailored catalogs for each of your business customers. These catalogs allow you to curate the products visible to different companies on your website, providing a seamless and personalized buying experience. Whether you wish to showcase your entire product range or just a select subset, Shopify's B2B catalogs empower you to do just that. These catalogs aren't just about aesthetics; they enable you to set specific prices, apply percentage adjustments, or even establish fixed rates for individual products or variants. This level of customization not only simplifies the purchasing process for your B2B customers but also gives you unparalleled control over pricing strategies and customer relationships. It's a game-changer for businesses looking to cater to diverse clientele and offer a user experience that's second to none.
Step 5: Quantity Rules and Volume Pricing
Next, go the extra mile in enhancing the ordering process through ingenious tools like quantity rules and volume pricing. Quantity rules enable you to set specific purchasing requirements, ideal for businesses that need orders in certain increments or wish to restrict the quantity of products bought at once. This way, you can set a minimum order quantity to encourage bulk purchases or a maximum order limit for better inventory management. On top of that, volume pricing lets you reward your customers for ordering more. When they meet specific quantity thresholds, they unlock special pricing, converting the variant's price into a fixed rate, which remains unaffected by other adjustments. With the power of offering discounted rates for larger orders, it entices your B2B clients to increase their order sizes. These features work in harmony to fine-tune your B2B commerce strategy, ensuring seamless transactions and a satisfied customer base.
Following these essential steps, your journey to launching a thriving B2B store on Shopify is well underway. With the ability to create blended or dedicated stores, manage company profiles, set flexible payment terms, customize catalogs and price lists, and optimize ordering processes with quantity rules and volume pricing, you're equipped to take your business operations to the next level.
Limitations of B2B on Shopify
Despite the powerful suite of B2B features offered by Shopify, it's vital to recognize its limitations. First, Shopify Scripts currently lack the ability to differentiate between direct-to-consumer (D2C) and business-to-business (B2B) transactions, which can hinder personalized experiences. While discounts are available for B2B, they require specific flags and cannot be extended through Functions. The API landscape is still evolving, with limited support for certain features, although the recent launch of the Business Customer API shows promise for future enhancements. Additionally, Shopify B2B's tech stack is relatively new, meaning that not all third-party apps may fully support it. Before integrating such apps, it's advisable to consult with Shopify or an experienced agency to ensure compatibility and avoid potential disruptions in your B2B operations. These limitations, while worth considering, should be weighed against the platform's advantages to determine if Shopify B2B suits your business needs.
Nevertheless, Shopify's B2B solutions stand as a game-changer in the evolving e-commerce landscape. The potential benefits are nothing short of transformative, with the ability to curate customized catalogs and price lists, establish flexible payment terms, and offer personalized B2B storefronts empowering businesses to provide seamless and tailored experiences to their clients. This level of control streamlines transactions, strengthens customer relationships, and opens new avenues for growth. While it's important to acknowledge the limitations and costs associated with Shopify's B2B offerings, the opportunities they unlock for businesses are vast. As we continue to navigate the intricate world of B2B commerce, Shopify's commitment to innovation ensures that businesses can leverage these advanced features to shape a more prosperous tomorrow.
Get in touch with Virtue Media’s eCommerce expert now if you need assistance in taking your first step into the world of B2B eCommerce!