Candid Wholesale vs. B2B on Shopify

Computer, thinking and business man in office, working on project or email. Laptop, professional and male person problem solving, looking for solution or planning, reading or focus on decision making.

Shopify is one of the best B2C ecommerce platforms on the planet, and here at Candid we love Shopify for exactly that reason. If you’re already on Shopify for your consumer e-commerce and are looking to use it for your wholesale / B2B sales as well, upgrading to Shopify Plus in order to take advantage of their B2B toolkit seems like a no-brainer.


As much as we love Shopify, we talk to brands every day who have come to regret the decision to use Shopify for B2B Ecommerce, so here are some observations we’ve made about the platform’s strengths & weaknesses relative to Candid.


The Swiss Army Knife Problem


You sell your products to consumers, and you sell the same items wholesale / B2B. It’s the same stuff, with different prices. Shopify can handle that, right?


With Shopify Plus, the answer is… kind of. Sometimes. The problem with a Swiss Army Knife is that it’s a good knife, and everything else is a compromise.


Shopify was built for consumer sales and it’s been beautifully optimized top to bottom for that shopping experience. B2B is Shopify’s iffy can-opener. Retailers, distributors, and trade customers aren’t consumers – they don’t order the same way, and they don’t need the same things. For instance:


  • Net Terms
  • Orders that don’t ship right away
  • Different catalogs for different customers
  • Different price lists
  • Changing orders after they’ve been placed
  • Discussing an order prior to approval
  • Shipping windows
  • Accounts Payable departments
  • Kitting & case packs
  • Reorders
  • The overall ordering and checkout experience


Shopify B2B struggles with all of these, and they’re at the core of Candid’s functionality. Though we want to be even-handed, Candid is purpose-built for wholesale and B2B sales, and that has a deep impact across the experience.


Sales Growth


Many of the brands that have switched from Shopify B2B to Candid cite sales growth as their number one reason for changing. Candid isn’t a marketplace – we let you drive and grow sales yourself, backed by software that lets you say yes to a higher number of requirements than competitors like Shopify Plus. This list includes:


  • EDI integration
  • Built-in subscription functionality
  • Custom case pack inventory management
  • Flexible invoicing terms


When you’re working with larger retailers, being able to meet their often non-negotiable requirements is a must.


Customer Experience


Putting the customer first is just as much a requirement for B2B sales as it is for B2C. But every business does it differently. From customer onboarding to reordering, your B2B buying experience needs to be better than just OK or it’s going to be an uphill battle.


Candid’s B2B ordering process is designed to parallel the DTC buying experience as closely as possible, with catalogs & orders happily coexisting in a familiar, visually appealing environment, while taking the unique needs of businesses into consideration at every step in the process. B2B on Shopify is surprisingly clunky and often requires a 3rd party solution like SparkLayer to extend its user experience into the realm of parity with expected features like:


  • Order editing
  • Seller-initiated orders
  • New customer onboarding
  • Inventory reservation
  • Multiple users per company
  • Integrated messaging
  • Reorders


Cost Reduction


At its most basic, B2B on Shopify is a part of Shopify Plus, which starts at $2000/mo. Candid starts at $179/mo, with our most popular Complete tier (which generally matches B2B on Shopify for feature parity) coming in at $599/mo. For some companies, the extra $16,000 annual cost isn’t that big of an issue, but for many it’s a considerable burden.


In both cases, a properly configured system can save your business huge amounts of employee time. Not needing to hire a new employee to manage wholesale operations can mean positive ROI on day one.


Operational Efficiency


One major difference between B2B and B2C selling is that individual customers often have very different rules and requirements. This customer needs net 30 terms, that customer needs access to a specific catalog, or a different price list – many common processes that take time and energy to remember applying at the order level are easily managed in Candid, including:


  • Customer-level catalog access control
  • Per customer discounts
  • Price lists
  • Net terms
  • Tiered pricing


Candid is also very, very good at integrating with the software you already use.


Everything Else


The devil is always in the details – that’s why Candid offers custom development and integration at the Unlimited plan level. Whether it’s fast-tracking a feature on our product roadmap or helping map and connect your various existing systems into a harmonized whole, our developers have yet to meet a project they couldn’t handle, and we pride ourselves on our ability to turn complicated problems into elegant solutions.


Please reach out if you’re interested in a free mapping of your B2B operations – even if you wind up using another solution, we’re always happy to get into the weeds and talk wholesale.


The Verdict


B2B on Shopify has a lot going for it, first and foremost being: it’s Shopify. If you already use it for your DTC sales & don’t mind the extra cost and limitations, it’s fewer moving pieces and may well be the path of least resistance.


That said, there are noticeable gaps in their handling of both the B2B ordering experience and backend administration that Candid Wholesale covers extensively, at a considerably lower price point.


If you’re considering either of these solutions for your B2B selling, you likely have a lot of specific questions we didn’t answer above. Please be in touch! We’re always happy to talk.

There's much more that Candid can do for you.

Let’s get started.