Perhaps you’ve thought about building your own dedicated B2B ecommerce store, and tapping into this hugely lucrative market. Or, would it make more sense for you to add your B2B deals into the same storefront, right alongside your direct-to-consumer (DTC) products and services? Well, that’s precisely the question we want to look at this week.
The Two Strategic Approaches to B2B Sales
There are two main approaches, when it comes to adding B2B sales into your existing ecommerce business.
- Option One: A blended approach, where one Shopify store caters for both DTC and B2B customers.
- Option Two: Creating a whole new store, dedicated to targeting that B2B market.
In this article we are going to break down the difference between these two approaches, and then see how they stack up – considering a range of functions and features – to help you decide which approach will be the best fit for your B2B sales.
Shopify is an excellent platform for B2B ecommerce, and once you start down this path there’s a lot of room for customisation and bespoke functionality. However, getting this decision right today is going to save you a lot of work further down the road. So let’s go through some of the key functions and features of your ecommerce business, and consider how they’ll look in either scenario.
Considerations for Blended or Dedicated Stores
With a blended B2B and DTC store approach…
- Your branding will remain consistent across both B2B and DTC offerings. Think about whether or not this works for you – does your company present itself the same way to both B2B and DTC consumers?
- Everything will be managed from a single admin panel.
- Your analytics reports will include all activity from both your B2B and DTC sales.
- Your customers are going to be a broader demographic, which means your marketing materials will need to be carefully segmented; while emails, subscription forms and notifications might be relevant for some customers and not others.
- Inventory management will be streamlined together into one single channel for both B2B and DTC.
- A single checkout will serve all your customers, giving fewer variables for you to manage, but also providing less potential for demographic-specific discounts and deals.
With a dedicated B2B store approach…
- You have the opportunity to completely rebrand your storefront for B2B customers. Your store branding – name and logo, theme and colours – can all be tailored to better target a business demographic.
- Separate admin controls for your separate storefronts might seem like a chore to some business owners… However, if you have significantly different business strategies, or even different staff managing these stores, you might consider it an advantage.
- Similarly, having entirely separate analytics reports for the two sides of your business might be preferable for some stores.
- Creating a dedicated B2B store will allow you to more precisely target your customers, and you will have a more streamlined and intuitive experience running marketing campaigns for either store.
- Your inventory will be clearly segmented into separate channels for B2B and DTC sales.
- With separate checkout processes available in your dedicated stores, you will have more power to customise the sales funnel for different customer groups.
B2B Sales on Shopify – The Verdict
As anyone who works in ecommerce knows, setting up your storefront and perfectly customising it for your audience can be an extremely time-consuming task. When it comes to adding in B2B sales, if you make the wrong decision now then you’re liable to cause yourself a lot of wasted time down the road.
The two approaches to B2B sales outlined here – the blended storefront model, and the dedicated B2B store – are both viable options, with their own associated pros and cons.
For smaller businesses, those with limited products, small teams, or for brands just testing the water with the addition of B2B sales, then the blended option is likely to be the best approach. This method offers streamlined functionality and greater convenience, as all your product ranges will continue to share the same admin panels, analytical reports, branding, and inventory management.
On the other hand, for larger or more complex businesses who are looking to boost their B2B sales funnel, the creation of a dedicated B2B store will allow them to customise a whole store around business buyers – with dedicated branding, design, and offers, effectively separating this revenue stream into a sub-business that could even be handled by a completely different team of staff.
Any Questions? Get in Touch!
We hope the guide above will be helpful as you approach this important decision. But remember, if you need any help deciding which approach is going to be right for you, the team at Inspira are only an email away.
We have many years of experience helping clients build storefronts on Shopify and other ecommerce platforms – we’ll be happy to talk you through the pros and cons of B2B sales, and figure out which approach will work best for your business.