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4 Roadblocks to B2B Success on Shopify Plus…And How to Overcome Them

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Mauricio Osorio

Mauricio Osorio is Director of Marketing for Aleran Software. He has focused his career on developing B2B and B2C monetization marketing programs for manufacturers and enterprises in domestic and international markets. He has led marketing at Accuride International, Indus Net Technologies, Microtek Labs and iolo.

Shopify Plus is an incredible solution for the B2C community when approached with the right strategy and roadmap.

The Shopify platform is often more than sufficient to meet the needs of companies in the B2C space…orders are relatively straightforward and tend to be low-volume and low-cost.

But for B2B companies, the complexities of their products, their partner relationships, the audience they cater to, and their sales cycle mean that success via Shopify Plus often requires a careful understanding of the platform’s strengths and weaknesses. And sometimes, those weaknesses can hold B2B companies back.

We’ve identified four key roadblocks to B2B success on Shopify Plus. By understanding these roadblocks, you can strategize your company’s success and set yourself up with a long-term vision that more than meets the challenge ahead.

The good news? These roadblocks can be overcome. Stick around to the end, where we show you precisely how you can push past obstacles to convert your own Shopify Plus account into a true multi-channel B2B solution.

But first? The 4 roadblocks.

Order Management Tools Are Lacking

The complexity of the B2B space often requires a sales team with an in-depth knowledge of products and services and the ability to customize orders on the fly to suit the needs of the buyer.

But while Shopify Plus can be a wonderful option for wholesale e-commerce organizations, their lack of customization features can leave all but the most commonplace sales cycles and ordering procedures behind.

Shopify Plus does not support common order management tactics like cross-selling, upselling, product suggestions, discounts, or promotions. And, something that will matter to your sales team, there’s no fast and easy way to automatically calculate and reconcile commissions.

All of this to say: companies that rely on these strategies must reckon with the additional burden of either manual work or pricy customizations.

Reordering Can Be a Hassle

Most B2B companies don’t have the luxury of a simple sales process the way that B2C companies do. It’s not uncommon to have a long-tail sales cycle that can last months or even years. During that time, pricing can change, discounts can be applied, and at the end of the buying process, you might have a document with dozens to even hundreds of line items to manage.

Unfortunately, the lack of a native reordering feature within Shopify Plus means that you and your customer would be forced to go through the entire process again if they decided to reorder. And if you’re finding that your B2B customers have tended to purchase similar arrays of items, your ability to bundle those as a package of sorts for new customers would be compromised.

This inability to provide native reordering for customers is one of the most glaring oversights of Shopify Plus.

Integrations Are Complex (And Costly)

If you work with a variety of manufacturers, distributors, or resellers, your ability to succeed hinges on getting up-to-date information about the products and services you offer through your platform.

Unfortunately, working with your partners via Shopify Plus often means a costly and time-consuming integration in order to get that data to sync up for all parties. If you opt to forego this customized integration, you’ll miss out on the ability to receive updated inventory, pricing, or product updates pushed to your store. Instead, syncing this data will need to be a manual process.

This is one of the most frustrating aspects of Shopify Plus, and one that causes many companies to lean into the somewhat arduous process of custom integrations.

You’re Trapped Within Their Ecosystem

Like most platform providers, Shopify Plus gives you the ability to purchase add-ons for a variety of solutions. But if your preferred vendor is not within the Shopify ecosystem, you’re basically out of luck, left to rely on manual processes or bespoke integrations.

When you set up your business on Shopify Plus, you gain the benefits of that platform, but you’re also reliant on their ecosystem: the vendors they’ve vetted, the companies they’ve chosen to work with, the user interface they’ve decided is preferrable.

If you want any kind of customization that’s not within those lines, you have to put in the development work to get there.

The Solution

So how you can overcome these obstacles and set your B2B company up for long-term success?

For that information and more, read “4 Ways to Convert Your Shopify Plus into a True Multi-channel B2B Solution,” the latest e-book from Aleran. We go in-depth on how the buyer’s journey differs between the B2C and B2B industries, and we also outline how Aleran’s Commerce Solution can help you overcome the roadblocks listed above to help you achieve your business goals.

If Shopify Plus isn’t working for you now, there’s no need to abandon the investment you’ve already made in your online store or mobile app. Download the e-book by filling out the form, and learn how you can use a true e-Commerce solution and powerful APIs to turn your Shopify Plus into the powerful marketplace your products and services deserve.

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