At the latest since the Corona pandemic, not only B2C commerce is booming - the growth trend for B2B online commerce is also accelerating more and more. B2B sales offer companies a great opportunity - you have the chance to increase your revenues, plus the potential to grow in multiple directions. For companies that want to sell their products or services to other businesses, creating an efficient B2B online store is a crucial challenge. But with the right platform, this process can be greatly simplified. Our latest blog post is all about using Shopify as a B2B store solution.
Basically, the setup of a B2B online store is the same as for a B2C store, but merchants need to keep certain points in mind, such as pricing, customer groups, concept, etc. What you have to pay attention to and which solution path is best suited for your B2B store with Shopify, we explain in more detail in the text.
Do you need support developing your B2B store with Shopify? As Shopify experts, we are happy to assist you. Contact us.
Table of contents
- What is the difference between B2C stores and B2B stores with Shopify?
- General advantages of a B2B online store
- Shopify B2B Features
- Shopify B2B: These 3 concepts make it possible to implement your B2B online store with Shopify
- Implement Shopify B2B step by step
- B2B Shop with Shopify: Examples from Latori
- Conclusion: Shopify is definitely suitable as a solution for B2B sales.
What is the difference between B2C stores and B2B stores with Shopify?
There are some key differences between B2C and B2B online stores that you should take into account when structuring or building your B2B store with Shopify. Let's take a closer look at the individual points:
Different prices must be offered for private customers and wholesale customers. In a B2C online store, gross prices are displayed including VAT. In contrast, net prices are listed in a B2B online store.
In addition, commercial customers naturally expect different prices than private individuals, since they need a profit margin. In wholesale, there are also various criteria according to which the price is determined, such as individual discounts or graduated prices. It is therefore important to be able to set item prices flexibly for different target groups and also to display only the prices that apply to the respective individuals or companies.
2. Product assortment
There can also be differences in the product assortment. Customers in B2B often get access to products that are not available to private individuals. For traders, you can also offer products directly in denominations (for example, packages of 50 or 100).
3. Shop functions
Your B2B online store may need additional features, such as additional payment methods, minimum order quantity, an order form, re-orders of already ordered items or tax-free shopping within the EU with VAT ID. This is where B2B Shopify apps help, for example the Tax Exempt Manager app.
4. Legal aspects
Another important point is legal issues: Because here, too, separate legal regulations apply to commercial customers and end customers, which must be handled separately within the framework of the GTC and the right of withdrawal.
Reading tip: We have summarized the biggest challenges in B2B e-commerce for you.
General advantages of a B2B online store
If you rely on a B2B online store, your company can optimize purchasing or sales processes and make them more efficient - saving you time, resources and costs.
Order processes are simplified because orders are placed directly online and processed automatically. In addition, B2B online stores present even large and complex product ranges in a user-friendly manner, and additional markets, countries, and target groups can be tapped quickly and cost-effectively. A store for commercial customers can also help your company invest less administrative effort in your order and sales processes and enables extensive automation.
In addition, since fewer intermediaries need to be involved, the chances of higher margins and growth are also better. In addition, a B2B online store always functions as an available brand presence and strengthens customer loyalty.
Shopify B2B Features
Shopify offers several features and capabilities to run a B2B online store. Here are the most important aspects that make Shopify attractive for B2B companies:
Customer groups and individual pricing: With Shopify, B2B merchants can create different customer groups and set individual prices for products. This allows them to offer different pricing structures for wholesalers, distributors, and other business customers.
Customized product catalogs: Through the Shopify platform, you can create customized product catalogs so that specific customers can only see and order certain products.
Volume discounts and pricing rules: Shopify allows you to define volume discounts and other pricing rules to incentivize customers to place larger order quantities.
Order history and reordering: Business customers can view their order history on Shopify and easily repeat previous orders, simplifying the purchasing process.
Multilingual and international features: Shopify supports the creation of multilingual and international stores, which helps B2B merchants offer their products in different countries and expand their global presence.
Order processing and shipping options: Shopify allows merchants to offer various shipping options, payment methods, and billing methods to meet the diverse needs of business customers.
B2B app integration: Shopify has a variety of apps and extensions designed specifically for B2B companies. These apps provide additional features and tools to streamline and automate the B2B sales process.
User-friendly backend: Shopify offers a user-friendly backend that allows B2B merchants to easily manage products, pricing, orders, and other aspects of their online store.
By combining these features and capabilities, B2B companies can use Shopify to run a professional and efficient online store that provides a premium shopping experience for their business customers while simplifying and streamlining internal processes.
Shopify B2B: These 3 concepts make it possible to implement your B2B online store with Shopify
Many merchants still assume that Shopify B2B is not feasible or is more complicated and cost-intensive than other solutions. However, there are now numerous ways to implement a B2B concept with Shopify.
Depending on your situation and specific requirements, different concepts come into question:
B2C and B2B in the same store
Standalone B2B online store
"B2B on Shopify" with Shopify Plus.
Each of these approaches has advantages and disadvantages, and not every one is suitable in every situation. Below, we highlight the differences between these concepts and show how they can be implemented with Shopify.
Concept 1: B2C and B2B in the same store
One possible concept is to set up a store that serves business and private customers at the same time. The challenge here is to combine different target groups and different requirements. On the one hand, you have to take this into account when configuring the store; on the other hand, individual adjustments to the theme used are also necessary. Here it is worth clarifying in advance what exact range of functions you need in the B2B business.
Probably the biggest difference is in the display of prices. For private customers you have to display the gross prices including VAT, for commercial customers it is the pure net prices. Equally important are graduated prices and a minimum order quantity for B2B sales. To display pricing flexibly, there are various B2B Shopify apps that can dynamically adjust prices for specific customer groups and map various purchasing conditions (e.g. minimum order quantities). You can find these in the Shopify App Store mostly under the keyword "wholesale". An example of a helpful app for B2B pricing is "Wholesale Pricing Discount B2B" - but alternatives can definitely be used here as well.
To be able to display net prices to B2B customers, the store must first be configured so that the stored prices are to be interpreted as net prices. Shopify then adds the VAT according to the tax settings for the country of delivery in the checkout.
Reading tip: Learn how to implement Shopify sales tax for B2B customers in Shopify in this post.
In addition, the Shopify theme usually needs to be customized to best reflect the B2B assortment. Alternatively, certain content can be blocked for certain groups using Shopify Apps. The theme used must be adapted so that the net prices in the store are displayed as gross prices - because end consumers still receive the final prices including VAT. You can either display the net price next to or below the calculated gross price, or you can design the gross price calculation so that only net prices are displayed for B2B customers.
In a mixed B2C/B2B online store, B2C customers should see one product assortment, while B2B customers should be presented either additionally or exclusively with another assortment. To do this, you can either customize the theme of the store accordingly, or use B2B web store software from the Shopify App Store (for example, Locksmith or MagicPass Wholesale). These apps help you to lock store content for certain groups or make it accessible only to certain groups.
It is also important to note that in the B2B sector, payment on invoice with a corresponding payment term and, if applicable, discount is more or less a prerequisite. As a rule, all payment methods set up in a store are equally available to everyone in the checkout - this cannot be changed in Shopify's standard tariffs. However, with Shopify Plus you have the option of dynamically hiding payment types in the checkout (for example, only for certain groups). So, in a joint B2C/B2B online store, you can hide the invoice payment method for end customers and offer it only for commercial customers.
|No need for duplicate content maintenance (e.g., products, blogs, etc.)
|Multiple apps needed depending on requirements
|Lower costs for apps and other extensions
|Time-consuming addressing of different target groups
|Uniform inventory of all items
|Partly extensive adaptations of the Shopify theme necessary
|Uniform store design/ only one theme needed
|Legal texts must take into account both B2C and B2B customers
|Everything in one store
|Different treatment of B2C/B2B customers in the checkout only possible with Shopify Plus
Concept 2: Independent B2B online store
Another way to implement B2B with Shopify, is to separate B2B and B2C customers in different stores. Here, the same requirements apply to a pure B2B online store as to a mixed online store. No more end customers are included in the B2B online store and you have more options in terms of pricing and conditions for different trading partners. In addition, you can display prices only for logged-in and verified merchants.
In the Shopify App Store, you can find a number of special B2B apps that allow you to customize your B2B online store. In doing so, you have the option to make the entire store accessible only to logged-in customers, which greatly simplifies the creation and management of the B2B online store - this can be implemented with certain apps or as an individual theme customization with relatively little effort.
If you run a standalone B2C online store in parallel and both stores access the same warehouse, stock levels can be automatically synchronized. If sales take place in both stores, these must be taken into account in the respective other store when calculating the remaining stock in order to avoid overselling. Apps like Syncio or SyncLogic automatically keep stock levels up to date in multiple stores, preventing you from selling items in one store that you no longer have in stock due to sales in the other.
Reading tip: We present 20 Shopify Plus examples that have successfully implemented their store with the system.
If you want to run two independent stores, you need a separate theme for the B2B online store. You can either choose a completely different theme or simply create a copy of the B2C store theme and then use this (with any adjustments) for the B2B store. What this means for you is that you now have to maintain two stores and their designs. Even if you use the same theme, you won't be able to automatically apply design adjustments in one store to the other without further ado.
In addition, having a second store also means that you will install and pay for all the apps needed for the second store in addition to the apps for the first store. If you don't use Shopify Plus, you'll also incur double costs for using Shopify. Transaction costs may also be higher than with a shared store, depending on the plan.
|Strict separation of B2B and B2C
|Double maintenance of content
|Customer groups can be targeted
|Additional costs due to second Shopify store
|No need to customize the theme in terms of price display as with a mixed B2C/B2B online store
|Under certain circumstances also double app costs
|If necessary, the B2B online store can be made accessible only to certain users
|Products and inventory must be synchronized between both stores
|Checkout and legal texts can be targeted directly to B2B
|Use of an ERP system may be necessary
Reading tip: We explain everything about ERP systems to you.
Concept 3: "B2B on Shopify" with Shopify Plus
As a Shopify Plus user, a separate B2B section is available to you. Formerly known as Shopify Plus Wholesale Channel, the feature is now called B2B on Shopify. This gives you the ability to create your own store for your B2B clientele, operating out of your existing B2C store, but still completely separate.
In this B2B area, you can add individual discounts to the prices of the products or explicitly set prices directly. Different customer groups can also be assigned different prices here. Volume discounts and minimum order quantities are also possible - and all this without installing additional apps.
In contrast to the pure B2C online store, orders from the B2B channel are not displayed as finished orders, but as order drafts in the admin. This allows you to edit orders afterwards and send buyers an invoice, which they can pay using the payment methods offered in the checkout.
The big advantage with "B2B on Shopify" is that typical B2B properties can be solved without additional apps and programming efforts. Shopify Plus also offers password-protected product catalogs for selected customers with the wholesale channel. You can also map dynamic, tiered and discounted pricing. In addition, loyalty programs can be implemented to reward loyal customers.
Reading tip: For more information on Wholesale Channel with Shopify Plus, check out this post.
|No duplicate maintenance of content
|Only available for Shopify Plus
|Separate sales channel in existing B2C online store
|Store design is only limited customizable (no themes can be used)
|No additional costs for B2B apps
|Shopify scripts are not supported
|No VAT ID check (additional manual effort)
|Store can only be used by selected customers
|No possibility to implement additional apps
|B2B-typical order processing
|Price lists and discounts already included
Implement Shopify B2B step by step
Now that we've taken a closer look at the different B2B concepts, it's time to implement your own B2B online store with Shopify.
1. Choose the store concept
You could certainly already see that there is not ONE solution - Because depending on your specific requirements, different concepts come into question for your B2B online store. So in the first step, choose according to your requirements whether you want to run a mixed B2B and B2C online store, prefer to rely on using two separate stores or want to run your own wholesale channel from your B2C online store with "B2B on Shopify".
2. Setting up the store
Once you've decided on a concept, you can start setting up your B2B online store with Shopify. If you decide to have a mixed B2C/B2B online store or choose a standalone B2B online store, manage the store in the Shopify admin area.
If you want to use B2B sales with "B2B on Shopify", you need to be a Shopify Plus customer and integrate these features in your admin area. After that, you need to create a wholesale account for each customer, which they can use to log into your store.
Reading tip: These are the key differences of Shopify vs. Shopify Plus.
3. integration of important B2B functions
Depending on the chosen concept, you now need to add special features to your store, such as net pricing, price lists or B2B checkout. You can do this thanks to special apps from the Shopify App Store or include them as functions directly in your admin area with "B2B on Shopify".
4. Follow-up control
To ensure that your processes run reliably, regular checks are necessary - no matter which concept you have chosen. From time to time, legal framework conditions such as tax rates or even certain pricing structures and discounts have to be processed.
B2B Shop with Shopify: Examples from Latori
For Latori, the implementation of high-performance B2B stores is a major focus topic. We have already developed a number of complex B2B stores with Shopify and today we present three of our Shopify projects:
BEGO GmbH & Co. KG from Bremen is one of the leading manufacturers of dental prostheses and implants. With the Shopify Plus B2B Shop, Bego addresses its numerous business customers. This enables dental practices, for example, to purchase the dental products after registration.
Selecta is the largest provider of food from vending machines. For this large company, we have also enabled sales through a Shopify Plus store. There, Selecta offers business or wholesale customers the opportunity to purchase the well-known products from the vending machines.
Neuland is a leading provider of learning tools and holistic room concepts. The product catalog includes markers, pens, chalk & more. Neuland's products are sold to B2C customers as well as B2B customers from all over the world.
Conclusion: Shopify is definitely suitable as a solution for B2B sales.
B2B sales is a lucrative growth opportunity for merchants that should not be ignored. Even though a B2B online store increases complexity both technically and organizationally, the advantages still outweigh the disadvantages. In the long run, stores for commercial customers also have a marketing effect that should not be underestimated and can give the existing B2C online store an additional boost.
Depending on your specific situation, there are various concepts for implementation. If you want to additionally build your business on B2B customers with Shopify, we recommend implementing this with a professional partner. We will be happy to support you in the implementation of your B2B store with Shopify and ensure that you can use all processes smoothly. Contact us.
Frequently asked questions about B2B on Shopify
What is a B2B Online Shop?
A B2B online store is an e-commerce store that is geared towards wholesale or business-to-business sales. B2B stands for "business to business" and means that the store sells products or services to other businesses, rather than to end consumers. For example, in a B2B online store, companies can purchase office supplies, machinery, wholesale goods, or other products and services they need for their own business.
What is "B2B on Shopify"?
"B2B on Shopify" provides wholesale features and access to advanced theme, pricing, and checkout customizations as part of your Shopify Plus plan. This allows you to run a standalone B2B store out of your B2C store.
Is B2B possible with Shopify?
Shopify offers functional solutions to implement a B2B store. Various apps and extensions allow you to build a standalone B2B online store or a mixed B2C/B2B store. Also, the "B2B on Shopify" feature included in Shopify Plus is a great solution to implement a B2B store with Shopify.
How does B2B work with Shopify?
The biggest difference when implementing a B2B store with Shopify is that not only gross prices of the items are displayed, but also net prices in addition. A B2B store with Shopify is basically a Shopify store that operates on a net basis. Customers can log in with their account and then see the products at merchant prices.
Can I sell for B2C and B2B with Shopify?
Mixed stores for your B2B and B2C clientele are definitely possible with Shopify. The important thing is that you meet some basic requirements, such as different pricing for different target groups or special discounts. Various apps that help you align the Shopify store for B2B and B2C will help you with this.
What are B2B stores?
B2B stores are online stores for business customers that sell business to business (B2B) and not to end customers (B2C).
Which B2B concept suits me best?
Whether it's a standalone B2B store or a mixed B2C and B2B store, there are many pros and cons, such as duplicate maintenance, additional costs, etc. Check out our blog to learn more about the pros and cons that will help you decide.
How much does a B2B store cost?
A Shopify B2B store costs around 100.000 - 150.000€, the cost can be vary depending on design, ERP connection, complexity of requirements.
How can I create a Shopify B2B store?
Basically, a Shopify B2B store is built similarly to a B2C store, but you should consider some legal aspects and other factors like pricing. An agency can be a real help here.