The DTC experience is where brands spend the bulk of their attention. However, B2B is arguably more important as you can do more volume via B2B sales.
Buyers have high expectations for B2B that most brands aren’t living up to. At Ambaum, we have helped many brands build B2B Shopify sites, but it’s still only a fraction of our customers. B2B is a big opportunity for brands and here is why:
B2B Buyers are Younger and Digitally Native – Millennials and Gen Z are ages 11-42 and were raised with (by?) a phone and a computer. They are more comfortable in front of a screen and are at home placing orders online.
Placing Orders Online is Frictionless – The old way of B2B selling was to place orders in person over business lunches, send emails (even faxes!) or use the phone. There is nothing wrong with meeting your buyers in person, but also give them a DTC like B2B experience for ordering online.
Buyers Expect Full Product Availability Online – Put your entire product catalog in your B2B store so buyers can get access to everything your DTC customers can buy. Nothing frustrates me more than trying to buy the product I want, not seeing it available for purchase and forcing me to send an email to support to get help.
A bad B2B experience adds friction to the process. Friction wastes time for your customers, causes frustration and ultimately leads to a decrease in sales. In a recent study, 2/3 of buyers were incentivized to switch B2B vendors when they were offered a more DTC like buying experience.
Shopify has entirely revamped their B2B offering and it’s important to note that you must be on Shopify Plus to take advantage of the features that I’m going to cover here. Also at the Shopify Enterprise Summit a couple of weeks ago I got a sneak peak at Shopify Editions 2024 and even more B2B features are headed our way.
If you aren’t on Shopify Plus you can look into Shopify apps or write custom Liquid code (using tags and metafields) to create your own wholesale like experience. You can also contact us to have chat.
Here is an overview of the B2B features in the Shopify Plus solution:
Companies: Create wholesale company profiles with multiple locations and associated buyers.
Product publishing and pricing: Offer a personalized buying experience with curated product selections and price lists. This includes flexible purchasing rules, percentage-based pricing, and discounts, all assigned to a specific buyer or location.
Flexible payment options: Create automated net payment terms, draft orders, vaulted credit cards and invoicing to streamline the order process.
B2B checkout: Show wholesale pricing during accelerated checkout based on company profile.
Customer accounts: Authenticate buyers before they can access wholesale products and pricing, and view and manage account information and order history.
You can also take advantage of custom themes, discounts, Shopify Functions, and Shopify APIs
To summarize, you now have a ton of flexibility in creating your wholesale experience in your Plus store. You can seamlessly embed everything into your primary theme or you can create a stand-alone store. You can vault supplier credit cards by company and set payment terms tailored to different customers. I’m going to explore the details of all this in future posts, but from where I sit it’s an exciting time for B2B commerce on Shopify.