Shop interfaces need to serve the specific needs and priorities of customers. In other words, design choices need to help sell. Wholesale website design is no different: It should focus on flexible pricing, clear product descriptions, and other things that matter to manufacturers, retailers, and businesses.
The gold standard is a customer being able to make a wholesale order efficiently, easily, and without any roadblocks.
General Wholesale Website Design Priorities
Wholesale website design sets priorities on accessibility, clarity, and efficiency. These are all more important in a business-to-business context than they are in traditional retail websites.
Unfortunately, some of the most important tools for wholesale, such as easy ways to offer and modify bulk discounts, do not come standard with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify. Wholesalers usually need to use plugins or apps to fill the gaps.
These are some of the most important aspects of a functional, profitable B2B seller’s website:
- It needs to load quickly.
- The design needs to automatically adapt to mobile.
- The organizational structure must be clear.
- Customers must be able to find what they’re looking for with the minimum possible number of clicks.
- Customers need to have the right options for quantity, price, payment method, and shipping.
Shopify covers a lot of these bases already. As a matter of fact, one of the main selling points of the platform is that it keeps up with the technical side of web design, letting sellers focus on their business. The main design concerns are
How To Make a Wholesale Website, Part 1: Focusing on Goals
The first step in making any website is setting a goal. For a wholesaler’s Shopify site, the goal is always to sell products in bulk. Every aspect of wholesale website design should serve this purpose.
A client-focused approach helps during the site-building process. Wholesale clients typically want to get a good deal and get on with their business. Any design element that makes searches or transactions easier is desirable.
Wholesalers typically stay competitive by offering a combination of predictability, quality, and low price. Good web design does not affect the quality of goods, but it does provide a more predictable ordering experience.
Additionally, good back-end design also eliminates costs that would otherwise need to be passed along to customers, such as when a company needs to populate price policy changes across an entire catalog.
Part 2: Wholesale Website Organization
The next concern should be organizing the site in ways specific to the business. One of the most important variables in how to make a wholesale website is the client mix. Here are two common scenarios.
Scenario 1: Wholesalers Serving One Industry
When nearly of a company’s customers come from a single industry, wholesale websites often have a specialized product-category organizational structure. This method typically puts the most important information about merchandise on the home page.
For example, a company that sells sheet metal to a specific type of manufacturing business would organize products based on the types of metals available. This helps procurement staff in the industry find exactly what they need as quickly as possible.
Aside from manufacturing supply, other types of wholesalers that use this model could include suppliers for trade, industrial, facility management, and logistics operations.
Scenario 2: Wholesalers With Diverse Clients
More generalized wholesale website design tends to focus on a complex, tree-based structure rather than a flatter specialized product structure. The homepage is typically reserved for promotional information or an illustration of all of the merchandise categories. These websites need to have great product information and search functions.
In terms of the actual organization scheme, the highest level might be the industries that the wholesaler services, the general product categories, or another broad concept. The goal with this type of structure is always to get customers to the most relevant subcategory as quickly and easily as possible.
Part 3: Automation
The traditional way of buying wholesale is to locate a supplier, confirm inventory, and request a price quote based on a desired order quantity. Shopify websites should provide purchasing tools to make buying easier, such as descriptive catalogs, automatic inventory level displays, and tiered pricing strategies based on quantity.
On the seller’s end, automation should save labor costs and allow the wholesaler to offer more competitive prices.
Shopify’s back-end tools eliminate repetitive tasks throughout the sales process. For example, completing an order can automatically reduce inventory count. However, Shopify does not allow for granular control over pricing — apps are necessary for that.
Examples of Common Pricing Challenges
For example, a wholesaler that sells plastic parts might sell them in boxes, flats, pallets, or containers. Since each of those larger quantities represents less cost for the wholesaler in terms of handling, repackaging, transport, storage, and shipping, each large quantity should get a discount in the shop.
Another example would be a fashion wholesaler that sells T-shirts to the public as well as to institutions, printers, and small businesses. This type of business might want to have a retail price tier as well as a wholesale price tier that begins after an order reaches a predetermined quantity of articles.
How To Make a Wholesale Website That’s Easy To Manage
Both of these situations are difficult to handle on a large scale with Shopify’s built-in tools. Luckily, bulk discount and wholesale pricing apps allow for complex pricing control at scale.
Every wholesaler is different, but Shopify web design almost always needs to incorporate tools to quickly and easily facilitate a broad range of pricing policies. It’s also important to be able to adapt quickly, such as by changing pricing policies on batches of items.
These capabilities do not come standard on the platform, but they greatly reduce the amount of time companies spend on listing, maintaining, and updating product pages.
Wholesale Website Design for Accurate Pricing
Increasing performance starts with good, goal-based wholesale website design, clear organization, and powerful tools. We have helped many companies save time managing inventory, pass savings on to customers, and outshine the competition. Install our apps now and get started right away.