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Types of Wholesale E-Commerce and Top Platforms

Types of Wholesale E-Commerce and Top Platforms

Are you ready to jump into the wild world of e-commerce wholesale, where bulk buying gets a digital twist and even the spreadsheets are chic? 

The pandemic and lockdowns of early 2020 highlighted the necessity of an online presence for wholesale, opening the door for many business owners to the emerging field of wholesale e-commerce. This can be seen as 83% of B2B buyers prefer to order or pay through digital commerce, according to a Gartner sales survey.

Fast-forward to 2024, e-commerce wholesale has become a cornerstone of contemporary business strategies. In 2021, U.S. B2B e-commerce sales were valued at $1.7 trillion. With an estimated annual growth rate of 10.7%, these sales are expected to surpass $3 billion by 2027. This article explores every aspect of wholesale e-commerce platforms, the significant advantages for companies considering this approach, and the most popular wholesale e-commerce software solutions available today.

 

How Does E-Commerce Wholesale Work?

Wholesale e-commerce involves B2B digital transactions in which you, as a wholesaler, supply bulk goods to other wholesalers or retailers. For instance, you might work with product manufacturers, brand wholesalers, individual sellers, e-commerce wholesale distributors, or smaller B2C shops. Typically, in wholesale e-commerce, you ship bulk goods to a retailer, which then ships directly to consumers, or sometimes you may ship bulk orders directly to consumers. This model enables you to reduce shipping costs by consolidating large orders into fewer deliveries.

In addition, recent advancements in technology and changes in customer behavior have significantly fueled the growth of the e-commerce wholesale industry.

 

Are Wholesale E-Commerce and B2B the Same Thing?

Yes, wholesale e-commerce is a type of B2B model.

In this business-to-business setup, you sell products in bulk to other businesses rather than directly to consumers, often at discounted prices since the products are intended for resale. Typically, B2B wholesalers are part of a more extensive business operation that includes retail and wholesale components. The main difference is that retailers sell small products and use standard delivery services, whereas wholesalers handle large quantities and use extensive logistics systems.

 

Types of Wholesalers

When exploring the types of wholesalers, you’ll encounter several key categories, each playing a vital role in the supply chain. For example, merchant wholesalers are integral to traditional distribution. They purchase goods in bulk from manufacturers and resell them to retailers or other businesses. These wholesalers handle storage and logistics, ensuring products reach their destinations efficiently. 

In contrast, agents and brokers act as intermediaries, facilitating transactions between buyers and sellers without taking ownership of the goods. This makes them essential for specific niche markets or smaller transactions. 

Another advantage of online marketplaces is that the manufacturer’s sales and distribution channel offers a direct route to the market, allowing producers to reach customers without relying on any third party. This allows manufacturers to engage with online retailers directly, streamlining the process and potentially reducing costs.

 

What Are the Benefits of E-Commerce Wholesale?

Adopting an e-commerce wholesale platform is a strategic move to modernize your business, improve customer satisfaction, and achieve sustainable growth. Here are the benefits of e-commerce wholesale:

 

1. Improved Customer Buying Experience

By adopting a wholesale e-commerce platform, you can provide a superior buying experience. Due to their busy schedules, customers prefer shopping online in bulk, and the convenience of a 24/7 self-ordering system enhances their satisfaction.

This shift in B2B buyer behavior underscores the importance of building a solid online presence.

 

2. Automated Manual Processes

Manual processes can be time-consuming and exhausting. Automation through wholesale e-commerce simplifies these tasks, allowing you to focus on growth. Automated systems handle customer interactions, inventory management, and billing, making your business more efficient and responsive, even when you’re not directly involved.

 

3. Expanded Customer Base

E-commerce wholesale platforms eliminate the limitations of physical locations, enabling you to reach a global audience. Creating a powerful online presence allows you to attract customers from anywhere, enhance your brand identity, and generate new market opportunities without being confined to one place.

 

4. Utilization of Real-Time Data

A significant benefit of e-commerce wholesale is access to real-time data about customer behavior. This data helps you understand your customers’ preferences, optimize your marketing strategies, and customize your product offerings. Insights from your e-commerce platform can drive better business decisions and boost sales.

 

5. Selling Through Mobile Devices

E-commerce wholesale allows you to conduct business on the go. With internet-connected mobile devices, you can manage your operations from anywhere, providing flexibility and increasing productivity. This mobility ensures you can meet your business goals efficiently without being tied to a desktop.

Now that you know the perks of e-commerce wholesale, including reaching more customers and being cost-effective, let’s talk about picking the right platform to maximize these benefits. Choosing the best e-commerce platform means examining a few key factors to ensure it fits your business perfectly.

 

Criteria for Choosing a Wholesale E-commerce Platform

Numerous e-commerce platforms are available to address various business issues. While selecting the ideal e-commerce platform for your B2B company, you must consider several crucial elements:

 

1. Budget Compatibility

Ensure the e-commerce wholesale platform fits your budget by considering all costs, including setup, maintenance, and updates, to avoid unexpected expenses.

 

2. Integration Capabilities

Choose a platform that seamlessly integrates with other brands and tools, facilitating efficient transactions and expanding your business network.

 

3. SEO and Content Marketing

Opt for a wholesale e-commerce platform that is SEO-optimized and supports quality content creation. This will help you attract more traffic and convert visitors into customers.

 

4. Search and Navigation Features

Ensure the platform has perfect search and filtering capabilities to help customers locate products quickly and enhance their shopping experience.

 

5. Payment Flexibility

Ensure the payment system is versatile, accommodating various currencies and methods, providing a smooth transaction process for all customers.

Armed with these criteria, let’s dig into the world of wholesale e-commerce platforms to discover which ones might be the best fit for your business needs.

 

Top Platforms for E-Commerce Wholesale

Different businesses have access to different wholesale e-commerce platforms. Depending on your demands and the items you buy and sell, you can select the one that best fits your company. We have compiled a list of e-commerce platforms to make your selection process easier.

 

1. WizCommerce

Ideal for: B2B wholesale and manufacturing businesses seeking to streamline sales processes and empower sales representatives through digitization and automation.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • Enhances sales process efficiency
  • Boosts revenue through automation
  • Empowers wholesalers by using data and tools
  • Customized for B2B needs
  • Has potential for scalability

Cons for B2B wholesale:

  • Difficult for new users
  • Can’t cover all B2B requirements
  • Limited user reviews
  • Pricing details are not mentioned

Price: Pricing details may vary depending on the business size and requirements.

 

2. Magento

 

magento


Ideal for:
Large businesses looking to scale their e-commerce operations and handle significant volumes of wholesale transactions.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • The integrated B2B and B2C platforms allow seamless operation on both fronts
  • Exceptional customer experience features with top-notch personalization and omnichannel capabilities
  • Flexible payment ordering methods, including SKU entry and CSV file uploads
  • Customizable account-level settings like credit limits and personalized messaging
  • Strong support and extensive resources from Adobe

Cons for B2B wholesale:

  • B2B features are not included in the free version, so the enterprise package is required
  • It can be too lightweight for large B2B wholesalers with massive order volumes
  • Complex setup and maintenance require technical expertise
  • High cost associated with the enterprise package
  • Regular updates and patches are needed for security and performance

Price: Free for Magento Open Source; Adobe Commerce is priced individually based on business needs.

Know More: B2B vs B2C, one major difference no one told you

3. Shopify Plus

 

shopify plus


Ideal for:
Medium to large businesses that need a robust, easy-to-use platform with excellent integration capabilities and quick setup.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • Manage B2B and B2C sides from a single or dedicated expansion store
  • Flexible pricing options based on order volume and customer-specific discounts
  • Strong integration capabilities with CRMs and ERPs through robust APIs
  • Outstanding user experience and navigation were developed for B2C and applied to B2B
  •  Quick setup with extensive support resources

Cons for B2B wholesale:

  • B2B features are limited to the Shopify Plus plan, requiring an upgrade
  • It is expensive, especially for smaller brands or those that do not need advanced features
  • Transaction fees include the monthly subscription
  • Limited backend control compared to other platforms
  • Customization may require developer assistance

Price: Starts from $2,000 per month.

 

4. BigCommerce B2B Edition

 

big commerce


Ideal for:
Businesses needing extensive integrations with third-party apps that can manage B2B and B2C operations from a unified platform.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • Integrated platform for B2B and B2C operations with separate sections
  • Highly customizable with addable extensions and services
  • Powerful API for seamless integration with enterprise software
  • Scalable to support business growth
  • Comprehensive documentation and support

Cons for B2B Wholesale:

  • Requires technical expertise for effective integration and customization
  • Enterprise plans are costly for small vendors
  • Customization and setup can be time-consuming
  • Limited built-in marketing tools compared to competitors
  • The complex pricing structure for the enterprise plan

Price: Custom pricing for the Enterprise plan.

 

5. WooCommerce

 

woocommerce


Ideal for:
Small- to medium-sized businesses using WordPress and looking for an affordable, easy-to-use e-commerce solution.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • Cost-effective with a free base platform and affordable plugins
  • Customizable with a wide range of plugins for B2B functionality
  • Easy integration with WordPress for a unified site management experience
  • Delayed payment options suitable for B2B transactions
  • Basic personalization features for customer-specific catalogs and pricing

Cons for B2B wholesale:

  • B2B features require additional plugins, adding to the complexity.
  • Only compatible with WordPress, limiting flexibility.
  • Limited scalability for huge businesses.
  • Requires technical knowledge for setup and maintenance.
  • Potential for compatibility issues with plugins and themes.

Price: The price is $99 (regular) or $199 (extended) for the WooCommerce B2B plugin lifetime license.

 

6. PrestaShop

 

prestashop


Ideal for:
Startups and small businesses seeking a free, customizable e-commerce wholesale platform.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • It is free to use, making it ideal for budget-conscious businesses
  • Highly customizable through a wide range of extensions
  • Flexible payment options catering to B2B needs
  • Strong community support for troubleshooting and advice
  • SEO-friendly features for improved search engine visibility

Cons for B2B wholesale:

  • Limited functionality for larger businesses
  • Requires managing separate hosting and other auxiliary services
  • Additional costs for premium modules and themes
  • Technical expertise is needed for setup and customization
  • It can be resource-intensive to maintain and update

Price: Free, with additional costs for hosting and premium extensions.

 

7. NetSuite Commerce

 

netsuite


Ideal for:
Medium to large enterprises needing an integrated ERP and e-commerce wholesale solution.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • Seamless integration with NetSuite ERP for comprehensive business management.
  • Centralized data for real-time insights and streamlined operations.
  • Strong security and compliance features.
  • Scalable to accommodate business growth.
  • Strong support and professional services.

Cons for B2B wholesale:

  • High cost of implementation and maintenance.
  • Complex setup requiring professional assistance.
  • It is not available as a standalone product; it must be part of NetSuite.
  • Limited flexibility for third-party integrations.
  • The steep learning curve for new users.

Price: Custom pricing based on modules and number of users.

 

8. X-Cart

 

Xcart


Ideal for:
Medium to large businesses with technical expertise looking for a highly customizable platform.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • Based on open-source code for extensive customization
  • Strong technical support and documentation
  • No transaction fees, reducing ongoing costs
  • Suitable for handling large volumes of SKUs
  • Highly secure and reliable

Cons for B2B wholesale:

  • Requires technical knowledge for effective use.
  • The complex interface is less user-friendly than the competitors.
  • Initial setup can be time-consuming.
  • Ongoing maintenance and updates are needed.
  • Higher costs associated with customization and support.

Price: Platform starts at $199 per month, Auto at $299 per month, and Marketplace at $399.

 

9. Shift4Shop (formerly 3DCart)

 

Shift4shop


Ideal for
: Small to medium-sized businesses looking for a straightforward e-commerce solution with transparent pricing.

Pros for B2B wholesale:

  • Easy to set up with extensive support resources
  • Transparent pricing structure with clearly defined plans
  • Feature-rich page builder, eliminating the need for coding knowledge
  • Comprehensive B2B functionality in the basic package
  • SEO and mobile-optimized for better user experience

Cons for B2B wholesale:

  • It still needs to be more intuitive compared to some competitors
  • Customer support can be inconsistent
  • Limited scalability for huge businesses
  • Fewer third-party integrations are available
  • Basic themes and designs may require customization

Price: The basic B2B package starts at $379 per month, with options for add-ons.

Know More: B2B Marketplaces – Understanding how they work

This covers the pros and cons, ideal use cases, and pricing for each e-commerce wholesale platform. Now, let’s talk about customer experience.

 

How to Elevate Customer Experience?

Elevating your customer experience in e-commerce wholesale is essential for success, especially in B2B transactions where a standout front-end experience can make all the difference. 

Using specialized tools like Shogun Page Builder  (A drag-and-drop Shopify landing page builder called Shogun helps users create store pages with a high conversion rate) on popular platforms, you can create an attractive, user-friendly website that captivates your clients.

It’s also essential to ensure that your customers have quick access to their accounts, making it easy for them to manage orders and information effortlessly. Focusing on engaging user experiences keeps your clients satisfied and encourages repeat business, driving higher conversion rates and fostering long-term growth.

 

Conclusion

Now that we’ve covered all the requirements – from choosing a platform to enhancing the customer experience – it’s time to implement these insights. Ready for the next step? Dive in and witness the transformation in your e-commerce wholesale venture with WizCommerce.

Equip your buyers with the convenience of digital self-service and an omnichannel experience that meets their needs at every turn. Don’t let your business fall behind—get on board and see the difference for yourself. 

If you want to skyrocket your end-to-end sales experience with the latest AI technologies, WizCommerce is your destination. Book a demo now and transform the way you do business!

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