- Shopify has rolled out new capabilities for merchants to enhance their sales potential, including a wholesale channel for enabling business-to-business sales growth, and Lanchpad, an automated platform for managing flash sales, new campaigns and events.
- Shopify Wholesale Channel allows merchants to create a separate, password protected storefront that offers customer specific discounts for B2B customers, as well as dedicated product assortment, product pricing tiers, catalogs and terms.
Shopify Plus merchants can access the Launchpad management platform from their Shopify Admin page and automate potentially complex commerce events such as changing product pricing at the predetermined start of a sale event; automatically publishing selected products to an online store to launch at a specified time and date; increasing inventory levels at the start of a sale event; locking your store for a predetermined duration before the start of a sale event to build hype and anticipation; and scheduling creative changes and theme customization to better highlight the product involved in the sale
If merchants are to be successful at e-commerce, they must go well beyond establishing an e-commerce site as some sort of one-size-fits-all-customers endeavor. They need have a mobile app or mobile-optimized site, support multiple sales channels and be able to move at the speed of e-commerce and mobile commerce, which means supporting flash sales and other dynamic sales and marketing campaigns that have become the hallmarks of the e-commerce generation.
B2B sales are undergoing a major transition. A lot of old-school B2B sales operations don't appear to be ready to make the transition to an era in which their business customers might find products, parts and supplies more quickly and more easily at Amazon than they would at a brick-and-mortar wholesale storefront.
Yet, the B2B market is growing and it's imperative for existing players to make the move to support e-commerce and mobile commerce. There is also a great opportunity for new players to sell directly to other businesses, however, they need to beat Amazon to the punch. They also need to have an e-commerce approach and storefront that seems customized for the B2B audience. Shopify's Wholesale Channel should give such players a leg up in the B2B race.
Meanwhile, in announcing Launchpad, Shopify is helping merchants latch on to another growth trend to help grow their opportunities: Flash sales. The flash sale as a general e-commerce trend may have been a fad, but such sales, if managed correctly, can be very effective via mobile. Shopify recognizes many pieces have to come together to make such sales, and the more automated they can make it for merchants, the better.
Interestingly, Shopify didn't mention Tiny Hearts, a small company it acquired late last year that seemed to specialize in supporting mobile flash sales. Tiny Hearts helped Shopify launch and manage the sort of sales campaign Launchpad seems designed for, so it wouldn't be surprising to find Tiny Hearts at the heart of the new offer.