I recently finished up what I grandly call a Shopify B2B project. B2B stands for Business to Business and for online covers a huge range of things that you can potentially do to streamline how you work with other businesses.
My client already had a WordPress site running WooCommerce but WooCommerce doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to B2B, I have tried it in the past and it is a mess of plugins and messing around. Shopify to the rescue.
For this client he wanted a system where his customers could login and place orders at predetermined prices per customer (some pay less due to volume). This may sound like bread and butter for may larger companies with ERP systems and slick online portals but thousands of customers in Ireland struggles with small repeat orders from their B2B customers all the time.
This customer was no exception.
The client has over a 200 small customers running craft and retail shops all over the world who place irregular small volume orders with him and as a result he gets orders in all sorts of shapes and formats, from properly laid out orders to photographs of handwritten pieces of paper. This is not the customers fault as he does not provide them with an easy way to place orders.
Shopify comes to the rescue. Here is what I did for him in the space of approximately two weeks.
- I set up a Shopify ecommerce site for him with a different domain that he had registered some years ago that still had his brand name.
- The site is very very simple and just has his branding on it and some text about the business as his customers don’t need a big spiel as they are already his B2B clients and trust him and have used him for years.
- Import all his existing Woocommerce products into Shopify
- Install an App to manage B2B pricing
- The customer logged into Shopify and over the space of a few days set up his client side pricing.
- Setup a login and sign up screen for customer to sign up
Now he had some worries that his business customers might not even avail of this but he fired off an email to all of them (I think it was to 180+) customers.
About 40% signed up in the first two days. The rest already had ordering systems that they had to use or legacy systems. The 40% were mainly small relatively low order businesses who had ad hoc methods.
As a result he had a modest spike in orders and it saves him a ton of hours per week now. In the past he hated dealing with the mish mash of different orders. This has been reduced substantially and for those who sill send him perhaps and email order he gently is directing them to his B2B portal.
The advantages to the end customer are of course huge. they get a notification when they place the order, see stock levels, get a notification when the order is shipped and for repeat orders they can login and just worth a couple of clicks repeat the order. For busy businesses at both ends of the supply chain Shopify is breaking new ground in this space.
As he said himself
“Thank goodness we got this in place my head used to be wrecked from this – now they are happier and I am so much more relaxed.”