Last updated - September 28, 2018
Maintaining an online store takes a slightly different turn when it comes to wholesale. The strategies and the workflow follows a different pattern when you are focusing on wholesale customers. This means you will need specific tools to handle the varying demands of a wholesale strategy. On a basic level, you need to set up a system where you have to accept applications from wholesale customers, set them with a specific user role, and offer wholesale pricing. The system should also allow them with options for smooth repeat purchases as well. In this article, we will see how WooCommerce handles varied wholesale business aspects when you try to set up a store. We will also see different tools that you can use to make your WooCommerce wholesale strategy successful. You will some fundamental aspects of wholesale strategy here too.
How to set up a wholesale system on an eCommerce store?
When you try to set up a wholesale system on your eCommerce store, there are several things to consider. First of all, you need to allow prospective customers to reach out to you. Those who are interested to purchase products from you on wholesale rates, need to communicate that to you first. Setting up contact forms on your site would get that part covered. You can get as much information you need from prospective buyers by designing your contact forms accordingly. Clearly defining the terms and conditions of your wholesale strategy, and providing a link to that page on the form can help too.
Now, once you approve some of the buyers who contact you through the form, you need to create user roles for them on your site. You can understand the dynamics of WordPress and WooCommerce user roles in more detail here. With different user roles created for each of your wholesale customers, you can offer tiered pricing. Depending on the purchasing capability and agreeability to your terms, you can classify different customers on different pricing tiers. You might need to also set up how your customers can replenish their stock, and how they can modify their requirements according to varying demands.
Now, all this seems a little bit complicated? We will discuss each components of a wholesale system and introduce you to some efficient tools to handle them.
WooCommerce Wholesale Tools
In the WordPress WooCommerce ecosystem, you will find useful tools for each specific scenario. Here is a more detailed look:
Contact forms for wholesale buyers
When you create a wholesale site, one of the first things you can do is to have a contact form for customers to join you. You can use one of the advanced contact form options for this.
Gravity Forms offers great features to set up diverse forms on your store. You can use Gravity Forms to create contact forms based on the requirements of your wholesale strategy. There is even an add-on that will automatically allow users to register on your WordPress site, when they submit a form. It will send notifications to users at various levels of the registration process as well.
Let’s take a quick look at the features of Gravity Forms:
- Visual form editor – With the help of its visual form editor, you can easily create forms as per requirement.
- Ample choice of fields – You can simply select the required fields to be added from a set of over 30 choices, and embed the forms on your site.
- Conditional logic – It helps you display and hide fields based on the choice of the user. This gives you a lot of scope to get the relevant information out of users.
- File uploads – Through Gravity Forms, users can submit files. The files that they upload will be saved in your servers.
- Email notifications – Gravity Forms helps you always be aware of your leads by sending notifications every time a user submits a form.
Ninja Forms is another powerful solution that you can use to build contact forms on your WordPress site. It too has an add-on that helps with user management, which will help you register new users to your site. You can use this to register customers to your wholesale store. Ninja Forms gives you a lot of flexibility to help you create forms exactly the way you want them to be.
Assigning a user role
With the help of one of the form builder tools, you will get customers to register on your site. The next step would be to classify them on your site. When you have a wholesale store, you might want to create different levels for the customers. This will help you create different pricing patterns for each of the specific user roles. Depending on the scope of your business, you can create a few levels that will help you make the whole process easier. First, let us see a popular plugin to edit user roles
This plugin helps you modify the capabilities of existing WordPress user roles. And, you can add new user roles and customize the capabilities as per the requirement. It is pretty easy to use, as you can add or remove capabilities by simply checking the required fields. Similarly, you can easily delete any user role that no longer serves a useful purpose on your store. It also helps you assign multiple roles to a single user.
Now once, you have specific user roles assigned for your registered users, you want to set up a pricing pattern, which is an important part of wholesale strategy. When you have a large set of products and a huge customer base, this can be a challenging prospect. How will you manage accurate price adjustments for your multi-layered wholesale customers? Thankfully, you will find some good solutions in the WordPress WooCommerce community.
You can create several rules to adjust prices for your wholesale customers using this plugin. It is actually a very handy tool when you have complicated rules to set up price adjustments. This plugin gives you the power to manage multiple rules simultaneously, ensuring the best outcome always. You can create a flat rate or percentage based discount, or simply set a fixed price replacing the original price of the product. With the help of this plugin, you can create several rules based on user roles, product quantity, user email, order amount, etc.
You can create an apply specific price adjustments exclusive to each of the wholesale tier that you create. For example, you can create three different tiers of wholesale customers with specific pricing patterns, determined based on their average purchase quantity. And, if needed, you can apply multiple rules at the same time, and allow the users to find the best available price. You can also set a maximum limit, to ensure that the price adjustments are not made in the expense of your profitability. The plugin also allows you to set price adjustments simply based on the user’s email ID. You can display the adjusted price on the product page as well as the shop page.
A single site license of this plugin is available at $69 in the XAdapter marketplace.
This is another option to set up price adjustments based on user roles. For specific user roles, you can create price adjustments. And customers with these user roles log in to your site, they will see only the adjusted prices. The interface is pretty simple, and you can simply go to the ‘Role Pricing’ section, and toggle the discount option on for relevant roles. After that, you can workout a suitable discount option in the form of a fixed price adjustment or percentage discount. The price for a single site license of this extension is $129.
This is another plugin that you can use for your wholesale price adjustments. It allows you to create price adjustments for specific user roles. In addition, you can configure tax classes and tax display options based on the user roles. The plugin also helps you create custom user roles, which are limited only to this plugin. For a particular user role, you can create price adjustments at product or category levels using this plugin.
In addition, to the wholesale features, you can use this plugin to turn your site to catalog mode. As your wholesale customers need to log in to see their specific prices, you can use the catalog mode option to restrict guest users. For example, you can change the ‘Add to Cart’ button to a custom button, when a guest user visits your site.
Allowing varied payment terms
Sometimes for your wholesale customers, you might have separate payment terms. These terms might be specified in the terms and conditions that you have mutually agreed. For example, a particular customer might be paying later or in installments. In such a case, you might need a separate checkout strategy. Here is a plugin you can try.
This will help you create a separate gateway for wholesale customers to checkout from your site. On the checkout form, it will add a field for the customer to add their Purchase Order number. Once customers enter the PO number, they will find an option to place an order through a separate gateway, without using the payment options available. Mostly you will have to manually provide the purchase order number to customers based on the initial negotiations.
Wholesale is a good option you can consider if you are manufacturing products, or you have direct access to someone who us, However, setting up an online store for wholesale demands certain different approaches. Thankfully, if you are using WooCommerce as your online platform, you will find some nice plugins and tools to help you with wholesale. In this article, we have got you familiarized with an outline of wholesale strategy, and some essential tools to execute it. Good marketing efforts and efficient communication strategies too are required. We will discuss those strategies in another article. Please leave a comment if you wish to share some specific wholesale strategies that worked for you.