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Are you looking to create a B2B eCommerce website and start selling your products online? If so, you’ve landed at the right place! As a web development agency, we design and code websites for our clients. In our experience, we found that – to create a b2b eCommerce or wholesale website, Shopify is the perfect platform. It is also easy to manage and provides you with some great 3-party apps to make a perfect B2B eCommerce website/store. This blog post will walk you through the 10 steps necessary to create a successful B2B eCommerce website on Shopify.

Before starting, let’s first understand some B2B e-commerce.

What Is B2B eCommerce?

Briefly, B2B eCommerce is business transactions between two companies through an online platform. These can include anything from purchasing raw materials to selling finished products and services online. To set up a successful B2B eCommerce website, you will need to take into account the unique needs of your B2B customers.

Difference Between B2B And B2C eCommerce Stores?

The main difference between B2B and B2C eCommerce stores is that B2B customers are usually businesses or organizations that purchase products or services in large quantities, whereas B2C customers are individuals who purchase products or services for personal use.

B2B customers typically have more complex needs and requirements than B2C customers. For example, they may require custom pricing, product customization, and account management features.

Another key difference between B2B and B2C eCommerce is the target market. While B2C eCommerce sells its products and services to consumers, B2B eCommerce businesses sell their products and services to other businesses.

In addition, B2B customers are typically businesses themselves, so they will expect a different level of service than B2C customers.

Is Shopify Good For B2B?

In the dynamic world of e-commerce, finding the right platform for Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions is paramount. Shopify, renowned for its user-friendly interface, has become a popular choice for businesses of various types. Let’s explore why Shopify might just be the ideal fit for your B2B operations.

1. Adaptability and Customization:

Shopify’s flexibility shines when it comes to accommodating diverse business models. While it’s traditionally known for serving Business-to-Consumer (B2C) needs, its customizable features make it adaptable for B2B transactions. This flexibility allows businesses to tailor their online stores to meet the specific demands of B2B interactions.

2. Wholesale Features:

Shopify understands the unique requirements of wholesale operations. With features like the Wholesale Channel, businesses can set up a separate, password-protected storefront exclusively for their B2B clients. This ensures a seamless B2B buying experience while maintaining a distinct identity for retail customers.

3. Advanced Inventory Management:

Efficient inventory management is crucial in B2B transactions. Shopify’s advanced tools empower businesses to manage stock levels, product variants, and automate reorder points. This ensures that B2B orders can be fulfilled promptly, contributing to strong client relationships.

4. Integrated Payments and Invoicing:

Shopify streamlines the payment process for B2B transactions by integrating with various payment gateways. Additionally, businesses can generate professional invoices directly from the admin interface, simplifying the billing process. This integrated approach enhances the efficiency of B2B transactions on the Shopify platform.

5. Scalability:

Scalability is a key consideration for growing businesses. Shopify’s infrastructure is designed to handle varying levels of traffic and transaction volume, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a startup or an enterprise, Shopify’s scalability ensures that your B2B operations can expand seamlessly without compromising performance.

In essence, Shopify offers a comprehensive solution for businesses engaged in B2B transactions, combining adaptability, dedicated wholesale features, advanced inventory management, integrated payments, and scalability. As the e-commerce landscape evolves, Shopify remains a strong contender for streamlining B2B processes and enhancing online presence.

Is The B2B eCommerce Business Model More Profitable Than The B2C Business Model?

There are a few key factors that you will need to take into account when deciding whether or not to create a B2B eCommerce website. The first is the profitability of the B²B eCommerce business model.

While it is true that B2C businesses have the potential to reach a wider audience, the margins in B2B are usually much higher. This is because B2B customers are typically willing to pay more for products and services that are tailored to their specific needs.

Young hipster man holding credit cart using computer laptop for online payment - E-commerce, bank

Another factor to consider is the competition in your industry. If there are already several successful B2C businesses operating in your space, it may be difficult to compete. However, if you can identify a niche market that is underserved by the existing B2C businesses, you may have a better chance of success.

The last factor to consider is the quality of customer service you can offer to your B2B customers. As we mentioned earlier, B2B customers expect a different level of service than B2C customers. If you are not prepared to meet these expectations, it may be best to stick with the B2C model.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what B2B eCommerce is and how it differs from B2C, let’s take a look at the steps necessary to create a successful B2B eCommerce website on Shopify.

Steps To Create A B2B ECommerce Store On Shopify

These are the steps required for creating a B2B eCommerce website and selling wholesale on Shopify:

  1. Choose Your Domain Name
  2. Sign Up for a Shopify Plan
  3. Find a Theme
  4. Add Your Products
  5. Set Up Payment Methods
  6. Configure Shipping Methods
  7. Create Discount Codes
  8. Install Apps from the Shopify App Store
  9. Set Up Google Analytics
  10. Launch Your B2B ECommerce Shopify Store!

Step One: Choose Your Shopify Plan

The first step to creating a B2B eCommerce website on Shopify is choosing the right plan for your business. Shopify plans include Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial.

Choose Your Shopify Plan

If you’re just getting started with online selling, we recommend starting with the Basic Shopify plan. This plan gives you all of the essential features such as selling unlimited products, 2 staff accounts, manual order creation, discount codes, abandoned cart recovery, shipping labels, fraud analysis, and much more.

You can always upgrade your Shopify plan when you see more orders coming and your revenue is increasing.

Step Two: Select Your Domain Name And Hosting Provider

Now that you’ve chosen your Shopify plan, it’s time to select (or connect, if you already have it) your domain name and hosting provider. Your domain name is a kind of identity or you can say the front face of your business, so it’s important to choose something that relates to your business and is short and catchy. As for hosting, Shopify provides reliable hosting services for all of its users.

Step Three: Choose A Theme For Your Website

The next step is to choose a theme for your website. Shopify offers a wide selection of free and paid themes. If you’re unsure which theme is right for your website, we recommend checking out some popular options in the Shopify Theme Store.

Choose A Theme For Your Website

Once you’ve found a theme you like, you can preview how it will look on your website before making your final decision.

Step Four: Add Your Products To Your B2B Shopify Store

Now it’s time to start adding products to your Shopify store, You can add products manually or import them from a CSV file. If you’re just getting started, we recommend adding your products one at a time so that you can get a feel for how the Shopify platform works.

You can also group multiple products and create a collection of them or organize it into different categories (for example, if you’re selling 5 different t-shirts and 10 different jeans in your store, you can create separate collections for t-shirts and jeans)

Step Five: Add A Payment Method For Your Shopify Store

The next step is to add a payment method(s) for your Shopify store. Shopify supports a wide range of both online and offline payment methods. Some of the most popular options include credit cards, Stripe, PayPal, Razorpay, and Apple Pay. You can also offer customers the option to purchase products on your store using some coupon code and things like store credits and reward points.

You can add a 3rd-party gift card and loyalty app that will give you a customer loyalty program on your b2b store. Just search “gift cards” in the Shopify app store’s search bar.

Step Six: Set Shipping Rates For Your Shopify Store

The next step is to set shipping rates for your Shopify store. Depending on the products you’re selling, you’ll need to choose the right shipping carrier and shipping method. Shopify offers a built-in shipping calculator that can help you figure out the best way to ship your products. 

Once you’ve configured your shipping methods, you can start setting up automated fulfillment so that orders are shipped out as soon as they’re placed.

Step Seven: Create Discount Codes For Your Shopify Store

Another great way to drive sales and promote your brand is by offering discount codes. Discount codes can be used to offer customers a percentage off their purchase, free shipping, or a gift with purchase.

Create Discount Codes for Your Shopify Store

You can create discount codes directly in the Shopify admin or use one of the many apps available in the Shopify App Store.

Step Eight: Install Apps From The Shopify App Store

The next step is to install apps from the Shopify App Store. There are thousands of apps available in the store, so it’s important to take some time to browse and find the ones that are right for your business. 

Some popular apps include social media integrations, accounting software integrations, Shopify, and email marketing tools. Once you’ve installed your chosen apps, you can start using them to run your business more efficiently.

Step Nine: Connect Google Analytics With Your Shopify Store

The next step is to connect Google Analytics with your Shopify store. Google Analytics offers some great insights for eCommerce stores including the setting up of conversion goals, visitor counts on the specific product page, and much more. You can use these traffic and conversion metrics provided by Google Analytics to run your ad campaigns, and improve the website structure, and overall user experience. You can sign up for a free Google Analytics account and then follow the instructions in this article to add the tracking code to your Shopify store.

Step Ten: Launch Your B2B ECommerce Shopify Store!

You’ve now reached the final step: launching your Shopify store! Once you’ve completed all of the steps above, you’re ready to start selling online. We recommend finalizing your store before making it live to ensure everything is working as it should. Then, you can start promoting your store and driving traffic to it.

Summing Up

As you can see, there are some key differences between setting up a B2B eCommerce store and a B2C store. Luckily, Shopify offers an excellent platform that is well-suited for businesses of all sizes, especially those running eCommerce stores. If you consider starting or expanding your wholesale business online, just go with Shopify.

Have you had any success running a b2b or wholesale business on Shopify? Let us know in the comments below!

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B2B Shopify FAQ:

1. What is too big for Shopify?

Shopify is suitable for businesses of various sizes, but very large enterprises with extremely complex needs may find that the platform’s limitations may impact their scalability. Enterprises with extensive customization requirements, high-volume transactions, and specialized integrations might eventually outgrow the capabilities of Shopify.

2. What is a B2B price list on Shopify?

A B2B price list on Shopify is a structured list that outlines the prices of products or services offered to wholesale customers. It provides transparency and consistency, allowing B2B buyers to understand the costs associated with bulk purchases. Merchants can set up customer-specific pricing, tiered discounts, or quantity-based pricing to cater to the unique needs of their B2B clients.

3. How do I sell my product to B2B?

Selling to B2B customers involves understanding their unique needs. On Shopify, you can create a separate wholesale storefront using the Wholesale Channel, set up customer-specific pricing, and implement features like bulk ordering. Additionally, offering personalized customer service and building strong relationships with B2B clients can enhance your success in selling to businesses.

4. What is the difference between Shopify and Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level version of Shopify designed for high-volume businesses. The key differences include advanced customization options, dedicated account management, scalability for large businesses, and access to exclusive features like automation, scripting, and customizable checkout experiences.

5. What makes more money, B2B or B2C?

The revenue potential of B2B and B2C models depends on various factors, including the nature of the business, target audience, and market conditions. B2B transactions often involve larger order values, but B2C businesses may experience higher transaction frequency. Ultimately, the profitability of each model varies based on the specific business and its strategy.

6. Is it easier to sell B2B or B2C?

Selling B2B and B2C comes with its own set of challenges. B2B transactions often require relationship-building and longer sales cycles, while B2C transactions may involve quicker decision-making but heightened competition. The ease of selling depends on the business’s understanding of its target audience and its ability to meet their unique needs.

Categories:  St. Louis eCommerce

About the Author

James McMinn

Senior Digital Stratigist

James is a savvy digital marketing specialist with a master of Science in Internet Marketing from Full Sail University and a Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Missouri. For the past 17 years, he has been specializing in SEO, PPC & Marketing Strategy at a St. Louis full-service marketing agency. He has a super sharp analytical mind and a finely tuned creative eye for marketing initiatives that optimize brands. You can see his Google Skills here.

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