So you want to offer items for wholesale purchase on your Shopify website?!?!?! We've helped dozens of wholesale clients and have it down to a science! We are always happy to help you hands on, of course, but in the meantime here are some useful deets for you!
Why I personally recommend that you have a separate website for your retail vs wholesale products (IF you offer both, that is):
First of all, if you sell to both retail consumers and to other businesses (at wholesale), you are truly running two separate businesses. You should be tracking sales and analyzing data for both of these businesses separately (to really optimize them individually). While analyzing the data separately is still possible on a combined wholesale/retail website - it's definitely more challenging (and perhaps not the best use of your precious time).
Ok but say we forget about how a combined site makes things harder for you in the bigger picture. Think about your customers too! Your retail and wholesale customers have completely different needs and desires - in a combined site someones needs and desires are not going to be spoken to as well as the other. Meaning your site will need to be made to somehow cater to both (which actually means you will end up mostly catering to one or the other, usually whichever leg of your business is doing best). If you have two totally separate websites, you can 110% cater specifically to the audience at hand (think website layout, menu, email flows, the wholesale application process, upsell offerings at checkout, the email subscriber pop-up box, all the little details can now be exactly meant for your specific website visitor).
Arguments against separate websites would be:
- Costs (though all said and done, usually the monthly costs for separate sites is about the same as for a combined site, as you'll need fancier apps if you choose to go the combined route to make everything work). So the primary cost differences you will want to consider here are the initial investment for your website design/setup (design of two websites) or if you are DIYing it instead, then this would be your time.
- Inventory Management. Some clients overall prefer to have a combined website simply so that their inventory is managed in one place. I totally get this! So depending on your situation, this could be a deal breaker (though there are potentially ways around this too, but possibly trickier/more expensive monthly than it's worth).
Some things that you will want in place for your wholesale website:
1. A wholesale application linked on your main menu, some things to consider here:
- What questions will you ask on your application? Will you require them to upload their re-seller certificate?
- What happens when someone applies? What does the email they get say? Do you get an email alert? There are free or paid form apps you can use for this (both on Shopify or even outside of shopify).
- What is your process for approving them and then tagging them as wholesale (for example, some clients will tag them as wholesale in Shopify AND segment them in Mailchimp right then as well).
- What happens when you approve someone? Does your wholesale customer get another email, what does it say?
2. A wholesale policies page on your main menu, some things to include here:
- What are you shipping rates and rules? What is your order turn around time?
- What is your return/refund policy (even if it's that all sales are final, list that here)!
- What are your minimum order rules (are these by product, by category, or just a total minimum purchase requirement for the whole cart)?
- Do you have any zip code protections in place, what are the details on this?
- Do you have specific MAP pricing in place that needs to be followed? Or any other guidelines on how they may promote your products?
3. The proper Shopify settings + applications to implement any requirements from above (regarding pricing rules, minimum order requirements, and any special shipping rules/rates, etc.)
Again, these are all easier (and lower cost monthly) when you have totally separate websites for retail vs. wholesale. However, with the right apps this is all still possible on a combined website as well.
4. Require login in order to access wholesale pricing.
Again, the app/s you will use here will depend on whether your website will be catering to wholesale only or both wholesale/retail. But either way, you will want a way to hide/lock wholesale pricing to anyone who you have not already approved! Locksmith is our go-to app recommendation to assist with this (though sometimes you will need a fancier app, particularly if you have a combined wholesale/retail website).