If you are looking for a quick and cost effective way to launch a wholesale store online, WooCommerce is a great option for you firstly because it's FREE.
Yes free. According to BuiltWith, as of 13 February 2020 there were 3,876,748 live WooCommerce websites; that amounts to a shocking 0.6% of all live sites on the internet! If you consider the huge number of alternatives available, this is an impressive statistic.
WooCommerce is a free, open source platform. Being open source means that any developer can add to or alter its code as part of an ongoing and open collaboration. This makes WooCommerce fully customizable. There are thousands of great templates available but if you want to start from scratch you can design and build every inch of your online store, from the header, to checkouts, product layout and more. If you have a team of designers and developers or if you are familiar with using Wordpress, this makes WooCommerce a great option to build a wholesale store on.
Additionally, WooCommerce is very flexible and can be designed to fit into purely eCommerce business models as well as hybrids with both physical and digital stores. WooCommerce stores also secure and integrate with trusted and secure gateways and e-wallets, such as Stripe, PayPal and WePay.
For wholesalers or retailers looking to expand into wholesale there are three ways to use WooCommerce to get your store running;
If you are purely selling wholesale then this method is most effective for you because you do not risk over complicating your supply chain workflows. For merchants who are selling both retail and wholesale, building and maintaining two stores has pros and cons.
On the one hand building separate stores means you get to build two custom stores that function exactly as you need them to. On the other hand, having two stores that don’t talk to each other, drawing from the same inventory, with different prices, different pack sizes and different fulfillment needs can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare. For this reason, this option is less suitable for omnichannel sales.
This option is adopted by some retailers looking to expand into wholesale. Rather than building a section into their existing store dedicated to wholesale, some retailers tell their wholesale customers to reach out to them directly, perhaps via email or text to place orders.
The merchant then manually enters these orders into their back-end so as not to run out of stock on their website. This method of using WooCommerce for wholesale is problematic because it is not scalable and requires a great deal of manual effort. It can also mess up your retail orders when large orders are accidentally placed on your retail store.
For merchants looking to use WooCommerce to sell wholesale online, this option is the most effective way. While the WooCommerce platform may be free, there are many useful plugins you can integrate with to enhance store performance. For example, the WooCommerce pricing plugin lets you assign “roles” to different types of buyers ie; retail or wholesale buyers and then assign specific prices on products, based on the customer placing the order.
Another useful plugin for wholesale is the WooCommerce Products Table. The product table plugin allows you to make a wholesale order form that is perfect for business customers who are already familiar with your catalog and just need to make repeat orders. The wholesale order form lists the wholesale products in a table view with search, sort, and filtering features to quickly direct customers to the right products.
WooCommerce offers hundreds of different plugins that you can use to build the ideal wholesale store. However the cost of doing so will deter many not most small businesses. Building a store this way incurs not just the cost of the plugins which charge a recurring fee, but also the cost of the team responsible for designing, building and continually maintaining your eCommerce store. Therefore, unless you have a large team and deep pockets WooCommerce may not be the right wholesale option for you.
Never fear though; there are alternative solutions to sell wholesale online. The TradeGecko B2B eCommerce Platform is purpose built for wholesalers and it comes FREE with most subscription plans. Support by TradeGecko’s powerful inventory and order management capability, the B2B eCommerce platform lets you;
Additionally, the B2B eCommerce platform storefront is fully customisable and can be designed to fit the look and feel of your brand. If you are looking for an easy to use, customisable solution, built specifically with wholesale in mind and you do not want to incur the cost of running a WooCommerce store, TradeGecko’s B2B eCommerce platform is the right solution for you.