There’s no doubt that starting a B2B store online, or migrating an existing offline business into the digital world, is a pretty daunting task. There’s a lot to consider and a lot to do, but there’s never been a more exciting time to get your Shopify B2B store started.
But first question:
Is Shopify Good for Building an Online B2B Store?
Many people moving into online B2B put their trust in Shopify. The web’s number 1 ecommerce platform announced their intention to help B2B companies by establishing Shopify Plus in 2014, and its results ever since have been monumental.
Shopify B2B - The Pros and Cons
Shopify Plus is Shopify’s premium B2B service, launched in 2014. Image credit
That said, is Shopify’s B2B service really the best out there? Below is a brief look at some of what Shopify Plus has to offer, but you can find our full article in chapter 3 of our guide - Shopify Plus and Wholesales
- Great for hosting and scaling - If you’re transitioning an offline B2B store to an online one, Shopify Plus can accommodate you. The service boasts 99.99% uptime and can handle pretty much any amount of traffic thrown at it. That’s a big relief for existing B2B businesses with a large client base and the need to throw mega sales over the holidays.
- Fantastic and personalised service - A ‘merchant success manager’ may sound like a pretty questionable job title, but that’s the name that Shopify gives to its personalised set-up gurus who help new Shopify B2B store owners to get started. This can include transitioning formidable waves of offline B2B data into digital format, building a store’s design and even helping you to establish business goals.
- Automotive processes - Shopify Plus certainly helps B2B businesses make the most of their resources. Almost everything that can be automated on your wholesale Shopify store is automated, including inventory restock, new product cataloguing and even keeping track of your buyers’ progress through their buying journey.
Of course, Shopify’s B2B features are not without their drawbacks. There’s a few to mention, but the biggest is the platform’s limited scope for page building.
According to a Huff Industrial Marketing Study in 2015, 37% of B2B buyers rate poor design and navigation as one of the top reasons for an abandoned sale.
Building a professional, well-designed store on Shopify, without the aid of third-party apps, is almost unheard of. If you’re looking to start an online B2B store on Shopify, you can try out its number 1 page builder, PageFly.
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Is Shopify Plus Right for you?
Get the right pricing plan for your Shopify B2B store. Image credit
Shopify really only had one target audience in mind when they set up Shopify Plus: large-scale businesses looking to transition from traditional, offline B2B to progressive, online B2B. To put it bluntly, Shopify Plus is not really interested in you if you’re a new B2B business looking to start selling from scratch.
The biggest indicator of this is the whopping $2,000 per month price tag of Shopify Plus. For new entrepreneurs in the world of B2B, this takes Shopify Plus straight off the table, but if you’re simply moving your offline B2B operations online, there are plenty of arguments that justify such a deep reach into the pockets:
- Shopify’s B2B service is still way cheaper than what you’d pay in rental for your brick-and-mortar stores.
- An online Shopify B2B store gives you the potential to dropship, a model that significantly reduces or entirely eradicates overheads relating to inventory, warehouse and staff.
- Your dedicated merchant success manager is included in the price and eliminates the need to hire your own costly transition specialist.
Don’t despair if you’re of the other persuasion, by which we mean a B2B entrepreneur looking to start a business online. Shopify Plus might not be right for you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell B2B on Shopify with another plan.
Shopify’s 3 other options: Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify can’t boast the same qualities as Shopify Plus, but they’re still very suitable for establishing a small-scale B2B store that gives you great potential to scale your business upwards.
At a fraction of the price, it’s certainly worth a go. If you’re interested in starting a Shopify B2B business, check out our fully interactive Shopify pricing calculator to see which plan is right for you.
Now, we believe you've made your mind - because you're still here with us!
Next, in chapter 1 and 2 we'll go into the preparation you need before building an online B2B store, including the importance of setting goals, and how you can define an online B2B buyer journey - which can be pivotal in deciding whether your online wholesale or B2B business flies or not.
After that, we'll get to a full review of Shopify and Shopify plus, and how you can use it to build your online B2B Store, or moving from your brick-and-mortar to the B2B eCommerce world.