Wholesale online shopping has always taken a back seat to retail shopping carts. This is perhaps due to the fact that wholesale shopping contains so many more variables than retail does. With retail, a customer adds a few items to their shopping cart, pays the price, and checks out with a credit card. Wholesale is much more complicated. There can be multiple levels of discounting involved and all sorts of rules based on quantities, agreements, and minimum orders. wholesale customers may not want to browse from one item to another, but prefer to order from a table, picking multiple items at a time. And then it is complicated by the fact that you may have payment terms based upon individual agreements. A true wholesale shopping experience almost always required custom programming to meet the unique needs of the supplier. All of this is why WebStores Ltd started our business 20 some years ago to address these issues.
Eventually, others began building shopping carts with some limited wholesale functionality. None addressed everything, but with enough plugins and patience, you could cobble together a wholesale shopping cart with off-the-shelf software. WooCommerce, the ecommerce plugin that works with WordPress, has become a decent option for wholesale suppliers because of its extensibility and vast array of plugins to customize it for individual business needs. One of the leading plugin developers for turning your WooCommerce shop into a wholesale shop is Barn2Media. Recently, Barn2Media released a plugin called Woocommerce Wholesale Pro, which combines the functionality of some of their previous plugins, and adds in wholesale pricing features. This is a big step in finally making WooCommerce a full-featured wholesale shopping cart.
There are lots of uses for a wholesale shopping cart, even if you are not a manufacturer or importer selling to retail shops. You might be a supplier to contractors. Perhaps you are providing additional discounts to members of an organization or those who have registered on a membership site. Maybe you are selling logo merchandise and customers must belong to a team to purchase uniforms. Whatever kind of wholesale pricing you offer, the WooCommerce Wholesale Pro plugin by itself will not address all your needs. You will still require plugins to handle minimum quantities, advanced pricing rules, payment terms by user role, and shipping options. You’ll also want to use the WooCommerce Product Table plugin, also from Barn2media and available as a bundle with the Wholesale Pro plugin.
If you are interested in learning how to install and configure all these options to create a fully functional wholesale shop, I will be teaching my online course again this Fall. But let’s see how this works once you’ve got all the proper plugins installed and configured.
One of the things you’ll notice is that you can set up multiple tiers of wholesale discounts, depending upon the customer user role. For example, you might want to have different discount levels for a retailer versus a distributor.
You can set a product category to be a wholesale only category, which is visible only to wholesale customers that have logged in. this makes all products in those categories invisible to the general public. You can also over-ride the wholesale discount percentages for each category.
Individual product prices can also be over-ridden. Just enter in a specific dollar amount and the plugin will use this amount instead of the percentage discount amount. If you leave it blank, it will use the default percent off.
Now, when showing these products on the front-end to the wholesale customer, the appropriate amount will be displayed. As you can see, when combined with the product table, this makes it easy for a wholesale customer to purchase multiple items at once.
Once a customer is ready to checkout, I like to use Booster Plus for WooCommerce to add a “Custom Gateway” and “Gateways by User Role” to allow for wholesale-specific payment options such as purchase orders, credit on file, or net 30.
Wholesale shopping is finally coming of age. If you have been thinking that online wholesale shopping was not realistic for your business, now is the perfect time to finally make the move. With trade shows and in-person meetings no longer viable options for the foreseeable future, wholesale customers need to be able to order online. Call us at 303-688-6560 for a free consultation and let’s explore if this is viable for your business.