Wholesaling With Magento: How is it done?

With Magento, you can run a wholesale and retail operation all from one installation – without having to worry about managing double the number of…
  • Joel Holtzman
  • Magento Development Lead
  • February 25, 2015 Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

With Magento, you can run a wholesale and retail operation all from one installation – without having to worry about managing double the number of products. Out of the box, Magento comes packed with a lot of useful features and tools for setting up a wholesale store. Some of the most useful features when setting up a wholesale store include tiered pricing, shopping cart “rules”, and unique customer groups. As always, there are many features and options, each with the ability to be customized and modified individually. Of course, one will need to change the approach they take depends on whether they’re set up a wholesale store, or a wholesale and retail operation.

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Visitors to The Dog Studio website can shop as a guest, a regular user, or a wholesale customer. The products appear differently depending on the user’s customer type.

As mentioned earlier, not all stores have to be a combination of retail and wholesale. However, for those wishing to set that up, there are a few extra steps that must be taken. The first step is to create a second store view. This is useful because wholesalers might only be buying a few products, and may not want to sort through a thousand products to find the ones they want. Your store may also sell certain products that are only available for wholesale purchase. Another advantage the ability to customize each particular store view to fit exact needs. For example, on the retail store view, you most likely would not need to include details on the container that the goods will be shipped in. However, for wholesalers, this would be important information. The second, and perhaps one of the most important steps, is customizing magento to hide prices from customers who are not logged in. To do this, one would simply need to change the product view.

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Caption: The Dog Studio allows shoppers to decide whether to create a regular account or a wholesale account. All users can log in on the right column.
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Before we get into some of the most useful features Magento has to set up a wholesale store, we must first take a look at customer groups. Customer groups are important, as many retail plus wholesale combination stores will not want retail customers to be able to view wholesale prices. Another useful feature with customer groups, is separating prices between customer groups. In reality, there are many reasons that setting up customer groups are useful – including tax groups. Adding or creating a new customer group is as simple as going to Customers -> Customer Groups -> Add New Customer Group and filling in a name and choosing the correct tax class.

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After you’ve created your customer groups, you’ll want to add customers to these groups manually. To do this, you will need to go to Customers -> Manage Customers. Then, find the customer that you want to add to a group, and click edit on the right. Next, you will want to click “Account Information”, from here, you’ll simply want to change their customer group to the one you created in the last step.

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With just a retail operation, the easiest route to take is to take advantage of Magento’s tiered pricing. With tiered pricing, it’s possible to update product costs based on the quantity of the product that is added to the cart. In the below screenshot, you will see that I also took advantage of setting up the tiered pricing to only apply for a specific customer group “VIP Member”. This feature is useful for giving different customer groups different levels of discounts.

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Another option, useful for any wholesale setup, is to take advantage of group pricing. For this, one would simply give a specific group a unique pricing for the item. The difference between this and tiered pricing, is that the number of product purchased does not impact the price, just the customer group that the client belongs to.

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Got a question about Magento and its wholesale capabilities? Comment below and we will answer it as soon as we can.

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