Replatforming your B2B eCommerce operation can be a daunting task. From selecting the right platform to start with, managing the complexities of migrating your data, re-training members of your team to familiarise themselves with new ways of working, right through to onboarding your B2B customers onto a new system. It’s no wonder that many companies delay making this decision or put it off entirely! And with some platforms even announcing the sunsetting of their B2B solutions, even more pressure can be added to the process.
But there’s a simpler way. And if you’re already using Shopify for your B2C (retail) operation, it’s possible to dramatically reduce the time it takes to launch or migrate your B2B eCommerce operation. We’re about to tell you how!
Using Shopify as a foundation to your B2B site
Shopify has become the eCommerce platform of choice for merchants of all sizes across the globe. Its powerful feature-set, its ease of use, and its extensibility have made it the obvious choice for brands looking to grow fast. It really needs very little introduction!
If you’re a merchant that is already using Shopify for your retail operation, you immediately have a head-start in deploying your B2B store. Even if you’re intending to split out your B2B and B2C operation with 2 separate Shopify stores, there’s a very strong foundation that rapidly speeds up key activities around data migration, store configuration, and storefront look and feel. These include:
|Area||What Shopify offers by default|
|Product catalogue management||Your catalogue is already set up with SKUs, categorisation, and enhanced data such as imagery|
|Order management||You already have a mechanism to handle orders and for these to then be sent to third-party systems (e.g. fuliment)|
|Customer management||You already have a way to manage your customers with powerful segmentation tools to separate out customer types (e.g. B2B, B2C)|
|Content management||The Shopify customizer tool allows powerful ways to tailor how the store looks|
|Storefront theme||You can utilise the same look and feel as your main Shopify retail store|
Enabling B2B on Shopify with SparkLayer
In the context of Shopify, SparkLayer fits in as a solution to enhance Shopify’s own default functionality. One of SparkLayer’s key aims is to negate the need to build out custom solutions on Shopify or have to work around limitations that give a sub-par customer experience.
From the get-go, once SparkLayer is set up, you can offer B2B customers core features such as:
- Quick-ordering and checkout
- Customer-specific price lists
- Minimum order quantities and pack sizes
- Tiered pricing (e.g. buy 3, save 10%)
- CSV importing for large orders
- Shopping lists for quick re-ordering
- Order history and order tracking
The time savings you could expect
So how exactly does the combination of Shopify and SparkLayer reduce the implementation time of a B2B store? If you already have a Shopify retail store in place, it’s feasible to benefit from the below time-savings versus 'traditional' custom implementations.
|Area||Shopify + SparkLayer||Custom implementation|
|Storefront set up||
< 1-2 days
Use the existing Shopify storefront or build from scratch with Shopify’s best-practice Dawn theme
|Requires custom build|
< 1 day
Catalogue already available within Shopify. Custom coding can be applied to set up B2B-only products
|Requires custom product catalogue migration|
|Order flow configuration||
< 1 day
Can potentially use the existing order processing systems set up
|Requires custom order flow configuration|
< 1 day*
Use built-in SparkLayer tools to manage price lists. * Varies if using an ERP system
|Requires custom integration with backend system (e.g. ERP)|
< 1 day
Use built-in SparkLayer tools to manage customer rules (e.g. payment methods, min. Order spends)
|Requires custom integration|
The guide above is by no means exhaustive but gives a top-level overview on how Shopify and SparkLayer can be combined to rapidly deploy your next B2B eCommerce store.
To learn more about how SparkLayer works with Shopify and Shopify Plus, please feel free to arrange a demo and we'll run you through the SparkLayer features and how it can integrate with all your systems.