What Do I Need to Know Before Switching to Shopify B2B?
There are two ways to run a Shopify B2B store, and it all depends on your needs to determine which is more suitable.
Separate B2B Store vs Blended Store
The first consideration is whether you’d like to add B2B functionality to your existing (or prospective) Shopify store, or if you’d like a dedicated store for B2B. The key trade-off here is flexibility. As is often the case, as flexibility is increased, so too does the labour.
Consider what your B2B store will need to look like in comparison with your B2C storefront. Will you be offering wildly different storefront content, promotions and products? If so, a dedicated store is likely the best option.
Examples of features that would require a dedicated B2B store:
- Offering trade specific promotions and communicating these with elaborate on-site messaging and banners
- A large catalogue of B2B specific products that need hiding from a B2C audience
- B2B trading is kept entirely separate and you’d like to easily report on the two parts of the business individually
- Shipping rates need to incorporate specific business logic to exclusively B2B customers
- Shopify Scripts are already in use on your store and you don’t want these to impact B2B orders
If you recognise one of the above as a concern, or a possible concern on your roadmap, it’s best to look at launching a dedicated B2B store. But don’t worry if you’re not sure which route to take! Our team can make recommendations to ensure that you have the correct foundations from the very beginning.
When considering B2B on Shopify, the metaphorical fork in the road is whether to use Shopify B2B or an alternative third party app. There are pros and cons to each option, and our Kubix Operations team will consult with you to establish the best route forward.
Option 1: Shopify B2B
Shopify’s B2B native platform functionality is included with all Shopify Plus stores. If your business isn’t yet on the Shopify Plus plan, it’s important to consider if upgrading to Plus is a commercially viable choice for this functionality alone.
Since there are no third party apps to configure or pay for, the benefits of using the native B2B channel is its use and setup. Additionally, you’re not dependent on another organisation for support and updates. This can be configured for both dedicated and blended stores.
The platform supports the typical and expected functionality such as:
- Customer Price Lists
- Payment Terms (Net Terms)
- Company Accounts (Multi-User, Multi-Location)
- Self Serve Portal
This set-up suits the vast majority of merchants and would be our advised path forwards, unless there was fundamental functionality missing essential for launch.
It’s clear that Shopify is investing in the development of its B2B functionality. While the roadmap isn’t public, we’d strongly advise merchants to use this native functionality if a compromise on certain features can be reached, as it’s highly likely that the platform will develop quickly with all merchants benefiting from new functionality.
It’s also important to consider that Shopify will obviously have the tightest integration to its platform, including crucial areas such as the checkout and APIs which third party apps simply wouldn’t be able to replicate - especially around accounts and payment terms.
Option 2: Sparklayer / Third Party Apps
If you require certain functionality from your B2B store which Shopify doesn’t natively support (or can’t justify upgrading to Shopify Plus) alternative solutions are widely available.
Kubix has partnered with SparkLayer, a feature-rich app which adds a plethora of B2B functionality to Shopify sites without an upgrade being required. Sparklayer has certain functionality which Shopify doesn’t have natively which is a key consideration when choosing which route to take, such as:
- Saved shopping lists
- Pack sizes and unit quantities
- Product specific discounts
- Quick ‘reorder’ functionality
- CSV order importing
- Quote requests
- Sales agent functionality
It’s impossible to provide a definitive answer as to which solution works best for your business without discovery. No matter what your B2B requirements are within the Shopify platform, there are a variety of ways to approach adding this functionality to your store.