The 3 Facets of Wholesale Management
There are 3 key facets of wholesale management on Shopify: Pricing, Content, and Inventory. An overview of the 3 facets is provided in the first part of this guide, we recommend you start there if you’re unfamiliar with these concepts.
Wholesale with Shopify Plus
If you’ve been following this series thus far, you’ll know that Shopify Apps fall just short of perfection when it comes to running a wholesale business. Shopify Apps result in hack-like workarounds, creating circumstances that require additional apps to keep your online store running smoothly. In this article we’ll discuss Shopify Plus, which is arguably the best way to go about wholesale on Shopify. Oddly enough, the way in which wholesale works on Shopify Plus is by way of a Shopify App!
The app is called Script Editor, and it’s made by Shopify themselves. Access to the app requires that you have a Shopify Plus account, which is Shopify’s enterprise-level offering. Script Editor allows required wholesale functionality to be baked directly into your online store. We should mention that, while this is the best approach to running a wholesale business on Shopify, it is also potentially the most costly and requires the most technical knowhow. The cost comes from the increased licensing fees associated with Shopify Plus itself, as Script Editor alone accrues no additional costs. The technical side involves Ruby and Liquid scripting, the latter being Shopify’s preferred template language, and the former being a programming language widely used in modern web development. It’s important to note this as the use of Shopify Scripts will require knowledge of Ruby.
Pricing Management is where Script Editor shows its strengths with regards to wholesale. By using conditional logic (i.e. if this, then that) one can easily write custom rules for various ‘scenarios’ within Shopify. These scenarios could include different pricing tiers for different customers, discounts for VIP customers, “buy one, get one” sales, and much, much more! Scripts allow percentage or flat-rate discounts to be applied to an entire order or specific products within an order. This flexibility means you can gain granular control over the pricing for your wholesale business.
Any adjustments to pricing made by Script Editor are applied at the checkout level. If you offer fixed discounts to all your customers, Pricing is the only area of wholesale management which will require your attention. Once you begin offering product-specific discounts, or if you offer retail pricing alongside wholesale, you’ll need to ensure that you display the correct pricing to the right groups of visitors!
Content Management on Shopify Plus can be solved in a number of ways, but interestingly enough handled outside of Shopify Scripts, at the theme-level. When it comes to displaying price, information needs to be stored in tags or metafields. Metafields are the bits of information that help describe your products, such as price, color, description or quantities. The different pricing values for your customer tiers or whichever rules you may define, are stored in these tags or metafields, and get pulled into your theme by Shopify based on a customer’s privileges. You can employ similar coding to control access to entire collections, pages, or other sections of your Shopify store.
You needn’t concern yourself with additional Inventory Management requirements if you choose to use Shopify Plus to run your wholesale e-commerce business. It’s that simple! Due to the nature by which we achieve Pricing and Content management, there is simply no additional actions required to keep your Inventory correct. We needn’t duplicate products or their variants, as with Shopify Apps or Shopify out-of-the-box, so our inventory is always pulled from a singular product or variant.
No matter which approach you take: Shopify out-of-the-box, Shopify Apps, or Shopify Plus, starting a wholesale business on Shopify requires planning and often a good level of technical knowledge. If you’re unsure of which solution may be right for your business, or you know exactly which approach to take but lack the knowhow, Growth Spark can help! We are official Shopify Plus Experts, which means we have the knowledge and capability to help you get your wholesale business running on Shopify.