Unlocking powerful B2B eCommerce on Shopify using SparkLayer

Chris Mattingly

19th May, 2021

For many brands, B2B eCommerce (or wholesale) has become an integral channel within their overall eCommerce operation. The Shopify platform, without question, excels at the B2C experience; however limitations within their B2B offering have made it challenging for many brands to customise and deliver the B2B experience they want.

At present, Shopify does offer a variety of ways to achieve wholesale ordering for merchants:

Whilst both options are viable, we’ve found that neither are suitable for merchants that heavily rely on centralised backend systems to tightly manage their wholesale operations (such as an ERP, PIM or CRM). These are typically more enterprise customers where B2B sales volume are often greater than B2C; all are after a seamless way to integrate these backend systems into Shopify without the burden of having to use manual workarounds (e.g. with pricing data) or having to compromise the customer storefront experience.

With previous experience in delivering B2B solutions for UK brands, we've been on a mission to solve these challenges!

The 3 areas of focus

We set about tasking a team to create a standalone solution that would address 3 main areas:

  1. Product pricing: Allow customer-specific pricing to be displayed on a Shopify storefront without needing to create manual price lists either via custom-built or third-party Shopify apps. This would mean connecting directly to the source of the data to retrieve pricing information, such as an ERP, PIM, CRM, or iPaaS.
  2. Quick ordering: Have a quick order feature that allows customers to quickly build orders that catered for their unique pricing, pack sizing, quantity pricing (i.e. price breaks) and then to use the Shopify checkout to quickly complete the order.
  3. Storefront flexibility: to allow merchants to retain a bespoke look and feel on the frontend for their wholesale customers.

The result? SparkLayer for Shopify!

How it works

Our officially approved Shopify public app lets you convert your existing Shopify store into a powerful B2B ordering solution, whilst seamlessly integrating with the systems that manage your B2B data. Your B2B website can be tailored to your exacting branding, configured rapidly, and automate data flows that you were previously doing manually. Here's how it works:

  1. First, it connects to Shopify and your backend system: with a specially built integration, the app connects to the source of your B2B data, enabling customer-specific pricing rules, pack sizing, and payment methods
  2. Next, the frontend is enabled on your Shopify storefront: using your existing B2C Shopify store, the app is installed and loads special ‘widgets’ on the product page and cart
  3. Your customers are then given access: using standard Shopify functionality, B2B customers can be invited and then log in to see their special pricing
  4. Going forward, self-service for your B2B customers: B2B customers can easily place orders, repeat orders in a single click, and view their order history all within the SparkLayer widget.

B2B-ready features

Once installed, our B2B app unlocks an impressive range of features that make ordering a breeze for your B2B customers. From customer-specific pricelists and pack size rules, through to rapid ways to repeat orders.

You can learn more about the available feature-set, or see our Shopify integration guide