Shopify, one of the leading eCommerce platforms in the world, has been constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of businesses and customers alike. In line with this commitment to innovation and improvement, Shopify recently announced a significant change in its platform - the deprecation of the Wholesale Channel. In this post, we’ll delve into the reasons behind this decision, the implications for merchants, and alternative solutions for businesses looking to manage wholesale operations on Shopify.

Understanding the Shopify Wholesale Channel.

Before we discuss its deprecation, let's take a moment to understand what the Shopify Wholesale Channel was. Essentially, it was a feature that allowed merchants to create a separate online presence/storefront exclusively for wholesale customers. This enabled businesses to manage both their retail and wholesale operations within the same platform, simplifying their operations.

Why is Shopify deprecating the Wholesale Channel?

Shopify's decision to deprecate the Wholesale Channel can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Limited adoption. Despite its potential, the Wholesale Channel did not gain widespread adoption among Shopify's merchant base. This lack of adoption may have been due to its complexity and the availability of more streamlined alternatives.

  • Evolving market needs. ECommerce trends are constantly changing, and merchants increasingly demand more flexibility and customization in managing their wholesale operations. The Wholesale Channel may not have been able to keep up with these evolving needs.

  • Focus on core features. Shopify is constantly innovating, and the deprecation of the Wholesale Channel allows it to reallocate resources to improve core features and services that benefit a broader range of users.

  • New features. B2B on Shopify is the platform’s new offering to give you more flexibility and control to embed business-to-business (B2B) features into your storefront

Wholesale Channel deprecation: implications for merchants.

If you are currently using the Wholesale Channel on Shopify, it's important to understand the implications of its deprecation:

  • Deadline. Shopify has set the deadline of 30th April 2024 (roughly six months away) until the full deprecation of the Wholesale Channel.

  • Migration. Merchants using the Wholesale Channel will need to migrate their wholesale operations to alternative solutions. Shopify offers guidance and support for this transition, so do read this article for useful information on migrating to Shopify’s new B2B solution.

Alternative solutions for wholesale operations on Shopify.

As the Wholesale Channel is deprecated, consider these alternative solutions for managing your wholesale operations effectively on Shopify:

  • B2B on Shopify. Shopify’s new offering, released as part of Summer Editions 2023, is a suite of first-party features built into your Shopify admin that allows you to make business-to-business (B2B) sales directly from your online store. This release demonstrates the platform’s commitment to B2B by bringing in more features and functionality for B2B, which is great news for merchants!

  • App alternatives. Many third-party apps are available on the Shopify App Store that can help you manage wholesale operations effectively. These apps offer features to cater to your wholesale customers' needs.

  • Custom development. Engage with experienced Shopify developers to create a bespoke wholesale solution tailored to your business needs.

Feeling uncertain about your options? We’re a highly experienced Shopify Plus agency with buckets of B2B experience, so get in touch for an information chat about your requirements.

B2B on Shopify.

When migrating from Shopify Wholesale Channel to B2B on Shopify, start by reviewing your current setup, what’s working and what makes the most sense to change for you and your business. For example, consider whether you’d prefer:

  • One blended store. This blended store contains both your B2B and D2C operations. In general, this is a simpler setup, as you have one product list and one stock pool to share between both your business and D2C customers.

  • Dedicated/expansion store. This approach creates a separate store front which allows you to make unique customisations specifically for your B2B customers. For example, you can set up specific stock logic, flows, shipping, and notification rules, plus install separate business-focused apps.

Other B2B considerations for Shopify merchants.

As with the Wholesale Channel, Shopify B2B is only available to merchants on a Shopify Plus plan or above.

In addition, there are certain limitations on what can currently be achieved within a blended store with B2B on Shopify that you might already be using on your D2C site, for example, Subscriptions or Scripts. So, the lesson is to thoroughly investigate before making a switch. Shopify has provided a handy Wholesale Channel to B2B Migration Checklist to get the process started.

Conclusion: deprecation of the Shopify Wholesale Channel.

While the deprecation of the Shopify Wholesale Channel may come as a surprise to some, it reflects Shopify's commitment to adapt and innovate to better serve its merchant base. Understanding the reasons behind this decision and exploring alternative solutions will be crucial for businesses to continue effectively managing their wholesale operations on the platform. With the right approach and the support of Shopify with its new offering or its app ecosystem, merchants can navigate this transition smoothly and continue to thrive in the ever-changing eCommerce landscape.

Fancy a chat about B2B on Shopify Plus?

You've come to the right Shopify Plus agency; we've been creating world-class B2B solutions since 2006. Explore our expert Shopify services and browse our client work for Shopify inspiration. Get in touch to discuss your B2B requirements. We would love to help!

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