Let’s look into how Shopify B2B opens up opportunities to manage eCommerce stores and perform online business transactions.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced many businesses to shift online. While many businesses have shut down their physical stores, eCommerce has opened up alternate opportunities to perform online transactions among B2B businesses.
What is Shopify B2B?
B2B (business to business) is the process of selling products between two businesses online. Shopify Plus is an advanced version of Shopify, one of the most popular eCommerce platforms with over 1 million eCommerce websites.
Shopify Plus allows merchants to handle both B2B and B2C sales from a single platform. The commendable features of Shopify Plus include ERP and CRM integrations, over 100 payment providers, conversion optimization and extensive personalization capabilities, etc.
The B2B portal on Shopify is a set of features integrated into the Shopify platform that allows you to sell business to business, through online stores without the requirement of third-party applications.
Learn More: Shopify Reviews 2023- All-Pros and Cons
How does Shopify’s B2B eCommerce Work?
Shopify B2B transactions take place among wholesalers, resellers, retailers and NGOs, etc. The buyers and sellers utilize the online platform to carry out B2B communications and connect with distributors and suppliers. Create your own website and sell products to end-to-end customers.
B2B eCommerce is growing rapidly and its sales percentage is likely to increase by over 17% by the end of 2023.
There are multiple methods of delivering to wholesalers on Shopify:
The Shopify scripts are written with a Ruby API that gives greater control and flexibility over the stores. Using these scripts, you can create customized pricing, payment, and shipping methods during the checkout of Shopify Plus stores.
Create a password-protected Shopify B2B wholesale store on Shopify Plus with easily manageable price rules. The same inventory as your Shopify Store can be used. It is to be noted that whenever the customer places an order, it is saved as a draft order to let the admin review any changes before sending the invoice.
The discount codes are provided for the customers tagged as wholesale during the time of checkout. It is an excellent option to process small-medium businesses.
Different businesses need different apps to provide better functionalities and in turn improve the customer experiences. Choose a functionality and Shopify has an application for it. These apps are low cost and easy to install.
However, you should note that some Shopify apps may create product variants with different price lists, which could result in impossible inventory management. Other apps may use discount codes to encourage wholesale order processing.
Related Article: 8 Best Shopify Product Options Apps in 2023
Now, you can separate the wholesalers from the retail stores and publish the products independently. Publishing different products and content can create a unique customer experience for the wholesalers. If both the stores pull inventory from a central warehouse, inventory management software is required.
Types of B2B eCommerce
1. Supplier Oriented
Also known as the eDistribution model. In this type of B2B eCommerce model, there are more buyers and fewer suppliers. Thus the suppliers establish an online marketplace to sell their products/services to large businesses.
They control the pricing of the products/services depending on the needs of buyers. The organizations contact supplier directories or set up an online sales portal to match the demand. This model helps to build long-term relationships between suppliers and buyers.
2. Buyer-Oriented B2B E-commerce
Also known as the eProcurement model. In this buyer-oriented B2B eCommerce, there are a large number of buyers and too few suppliers. This model is generally used by large corporations with greater purchasing power or high volume purchases.
These buyers have their own online stores and invite sellers to bid on quotes. After a thorough analysis of suppliers, the buyers decide on the right seller to carry out the transaction. This model allows both buyers and suppliers to expand their network, build partnerships and acquire better deals.
3. Intermediary-Oriented Marketplace Model
Also known as the eExchange model. This marketplace involves a third party that maintains a log of buyers and suppliers. They earn commission by matching buyers with the sellers.
The companies dealing with this model need to follow specific rules and regulations. The intermediary-oriented marketplace is also known as a horizontal marketplace and some of the popular marketplaces include Amazon, AliExpress, Rakuten, etc.
Features of B2B Shopify Ecommerce
1. DTC and Wholesale in One Platform
You can now run both DTC and wholesale from a single store or set up a dedicated store that is customized specifically for wholesale customers.
2. Customization Features
Shopify plus customization features lets you access store themes and liquid customization, an ecosystem of apps, API access, and functions.
3. Manage Multiple Locations
The Shopify Plus lets you manage your inventory across multiple locations so that you never run out of stock. Centralize each part of your business and synchronize your online B2B and DTC customers, products, and payment information into a single platform to reduce the complexity.
4. Self Serve Portal
Survey of the global B2B vendors reveal that 39% of B2B businesses prefer a self-serve portal that allows them to purchase without having to seek help from someone. Having a self-service portal streamlines the process of accessing the website and managing orders through the online marketplace.
5. Customized Checkout Experience
Provide a customized checkout experience to encourage the wholesalers to complete the purchase transactions and reduce cart abandonment. It lets the buyers view their assigned payment terms, payment methods, and wholesale discounts during the time of purchase. A good checkout experience is one that informs the buyer well and lets them place an order with confidence.
6. Custom Store Theme
Provide customized store themes using the Liquid support according to the business requirements.
Upcoming Features Of B2B On Shopify
The Shopify B2B have introduced new features along with some modifications to the existing features in 2023. Here are some of them:
1. Customer Login code
Now, B2B customers don’t require a password to log in to their accounts. If you plan on using Shopify’s newly added features, you should enable this latest customer feature under the “Checkout and accounts” option under the Settings section.
Using the email address, customers can log in to their account after entering the 6-digit verification code. Then they are directed to the B2B account page which has a simple layout and displays the order information on the main accounts page itself.
2. B2B Checkout
When a customer proceeds to the checkout page, all the shipping details come pre-filled by the company and the user cannot edit them during the checkout. If he wants to edit any information or change the billing address, he can do it before the checkout page.
3. Provide Payment Terms
By net terms utilization, the buyers get time to pay for the merchandise. Using the B2B portal on Shopify, as a merchant, you can provide payment terms for each company which is reflected on their checkout page.
One alternative option is that you can assign payment terms to a location that allows any customer at that location to pay and complete the purchase. Any company order that is completed using the payment terms, will display a “Pay now” option on the customer accounts page.
4. Wholesale Automation
The main objective of Shopify B2B wholesale automation is to streamline the flow process of wholesale purchasing. Using the Shopify flow, create a personalized landing page for the existing customers with the products that interest them. The Avalara AvaTax feature lets you automatically calculate taxes during the time of checkout and save all the tax records.
5. Order Processing
Process the orders by sending a customized invoice to be paid through an email. Accept the payment method using credit cards and mark the invoice as paid.
Shopify B2B Pricing Plan
Shopify plus for B2B eCommerce starts at $2000/ month and varies for higher volume businesses.
B2B Shopify Ecommerce Best Practices
What Works Best for B2C can Work for B2B?
Here are some of the best practices that revolutionized the B2C Marketplace:
- Including high-quality images and videos on the website.
- Social proof in the form of testimonials and customer ratings.
- Observe the past data and personalize accordingly.
- Providing customer support via phone or chat.
- Mobile-friendly storefronts.
- Onsite search with visual merchandising.
- Real-time product availability
- Ability to access the product information online
Improve your Website Search Functionality
In B2C, site search is an essential function to let users quickly find their desired products out of thousands of other products. The search function is extremely crucial in the B2B marketplace. It improves the user experience with your website and converts more visitors into customers. It helps you sell more products.
Utilize Social Media
With millions of users, social media can be an excellent marketing tool to establish a loyal customer base. You can collaborate with influencers and convert some of their followers into your customers by targeting.
Create content that is shareable and worthy to help users which increases your brand visibility on the Search engines and lets you gain more web traffic and in turn better conversions.
Adding FAQs makes it easier for the customers to find answers to common questions from the customers.
Easy Checkout Process
Make your checkout process easy and convenient so that your customers don’t get annoyed and leave your site without completing the checkout process. Following are a few tips to follow for a convenient checkout process:
- Enable guest checkout
- Optimize your checkout for mobiles
- Provide an option to easily add GST information.
- Include a reorder button
Make your Business Mobile-Friendly
With the increasing number of smartphones worldwide, it is important for organizations to optimize their websites for mobiles. Otherwise, users are likely to abandon your business and choose your competitors with mobile-friendly sites.
One of the essential practices of B2B eCommerce businesses is to analyze the performance of your site and make changes accordingly. There are free tools like Google Analytics to measure the performance of your website and inform you where you are doing well and where you are lagging behind.
Is Shopify Good Enough For B2B?
The wholesale and B2B features are available in Shopify Plus only. If your business is big enough to handle large product catalogs, 10,000 transactions per minute, etc Shopify B2B is the right one for you. If your B2B business is small or at an infant stage, Shopify may not be the right one for your business.