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Smart Tips for Selling Wholesale on Shopify Plus


E-commerce for wholesale is becoming the norm of how to do business. Online B2B sales surpassed $1 trillion for the first time in 2018. Merchants like purchasing directly from brands. It’s more convenient, gives them more control over their orders, and eliminates the payment of commissions to third-party marketplaces. Brands benefit from being able to process orders more cost-effectively, leverage their current fulfillment infrastructure, grow revenue with new channels, reduce sales team costs and find efficiencies, and better manage inventory. If you aren’t selling wholesale online, you probably should consider it. One survey found that 75% of wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers who didn’t have an E-commerce site said they were planning to launch one in the next two years. 


The good news is, Shopify Plus enables several options for setting up an E-commerce wholesale store, including setting up an extension of your consumer online store, using a combined site for both consumer and wholesale, or cloning a completely separate store for wholesale. This blog reviews the pros and cons of each option, which are listed in order of cost, from lowest to highest. All three options have different advantages and disadvantages. The option that’s right for your brand will depend on your specific business goals and business logic. 

Option 1: Using Shopify Plus Wholesale Channel

The Shopify Plus Wholesale Channel enables you to create a separate, password-protected storefront that’s an extension of your existing consumer-facing online store. Because the wholesale channel (or store) uses your same Shopify Plus account, you can offer wholesale buyers the same or different products that you offer consumers, but at different prices specific to customers, and/or offer wholesale-only products. 

To simplify the backend, all wholesale orders and customers are tracked through the current consumer store’s Shopify Plus admin. 



Option 1: The pros

  • Low effort and cost to set up this option, as the Wholesale Channel doesn’t require additional design or development and is designed for wholesale purchasing.
  • You only have to manage and maintain products in one store versus two separate stores, even though the wholesale site has a separate domain.
  • You can leverage the existing app integrations and store you already have so you don’t have to have multiple accounts with apps or integrations.
  • Shopify Plus allows a lot of flexibility, such as with pricing, custom payment methods, reserve inventory, custom contact forms with multiple addresses, order approvals, shipping options, duplicate orders, tax exemption, min & max limits, built-in application forms and more. 
  • You can allow customers to check-out automatically or as a Draft order needing your approval, they have the option to pay with a credit card, along with custom payment methods like Net 30, etc.

Option 1: The cons

  • The design of the site is not customizable; you must use the pre-built design. 
  • Can’t show or hide product variants; instead you must separate the B2C and Wholesale products into separate parent products, which can then be hidden/shown to B2B or B2C audiences. Not a huge deal, but it can become time-consuming when a brand regularly wants to offer packs of items for B2B and not for B2C. 
  • The home page doesn’t support promotional content or banners; you can only show featured products on the home page. 
  • The customer portal is not customizable. 

Option 2: Same domain for wholesale and consumer 

This option enables wholesale customers to log into the existing consumer E-commerce site to access wholesale pricing and automatic discounting. 

Option 2: The pros

  • You only have to manage and maintain product in one store versus two separate stores. 
  • You can design the wholesale store with the same branding as the consumer E-commerce store, but with different features to support the wholesale purchase process.
  • You can leverage the existing app integrations and store you already have so you don’t have to have multiple accounts with apps or integrations.
  • Shopify Plus allows some flexibility, such as with pricing, custom contact forms with multiple addresses, shipping options, tax exemption, purchase out of stock items, and more. 

Option 2: The cons

  • Slightly higher effort and cost to set up this option, compared with option 1. 
  • Not a separate domain from the consumer E-commerce site. 
  • More risk for human error when creating discounts, products for wholesale only, and promotions that may be for wholesale customers only, but mistakenly are shown to consumers. 
  • Less flexibility than option 1 in terms of reserving draft orders, individual customer min & max orders, order approvals, duplicate orders, shipping options, wholesale program application forms, and reserve inventory.
  • As with Option 1, you can’t show or hide individual variants (e.g., packs of products) for B2B customers vs. B2C customers.

Option 3: Separate wholesale site with separate domain 

With this option, you leverage a separate Shopify Plus clone store for selling wholesale products (clone stores are part of a standard contract with Shopify Plus).  

Option 3: The pros

  • All Shopify Plus clone stores can be managed through a single login for easy reporting across all stores. 
  • Complete inventory separation and a separate site mean there’s no risk of cross-promotions affecting wholesale purchases.
  • You can design the wholesale store with the same branding as the consumer E-commerce store, but with different features to support the wholesale purchase process.
  • Shopify Plus allows a lot of flexibility, such as with pricing, custom contact forms with multiple addresses, shipping options, tax exemption, purchase out of stock items, and more. 

Option 3: The cons

  • Higher effort and cost to set up this option compared with options 1 and 2. 
  • You have to manage two separate stores. 
  • You may have to pay to leverage the existing app integrations and E-commerce store you already have so that you don’t have to manage multiple accounts. 
  • You need additional applications to make it all work, such as Wholesale Hero to present the correct pricing groups and auto discounting for customers.
  • Less flexibility than option 1 in terms of reserving draft orders, individual customer min & max orders, order approvals, duplicate orders, shipping options, wholesale program application forms, and reserve inventory.

Which option is right for your business?

As noted above, which option is right for you will depend on your particular business. However, if you’re also in the process of launching a new consumer-facing Shopify Plus E-commerce site, one cost-effective way to go is to start with the lowest-cost option (option 1) and test the Shopify Plus Wholesale Channel early in the B2C development process. If during set-up and when testing the process and flow of data you find that your business needs more customized features, you may want to consider one of the other two options described above when selling wholesale. Also, we’re happy to discuss this further with you and walk you through the key considerations as they relate to your business – just contact us!