Using WooCommerce for wholesale is an effective way to make your online store work harder for your business. By expanding to wholesale, you can get your products into physical stores in your area or all around the country without taking on the risk and expense of starting a physical store yourself. To start using WooCommerce for wholesale you’ll need some plugins to add wholesale-specific features. This article reviews and ranks four plugins and plugin suites that are designed to make using WooCommerce for wholesale simple and easy. Let’s find out which one makes it to first place.
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Last Place: Official WooCommerce Plugin Combo
Pros: Developed by the WooCommerce team so compatibility and support are never in question.
Cons: Expensive, requires annual renewal to get updates and support; No Bulk Order interface or Line Sheet; No Built-In User Registration Page or Log In Page.
This was a surprise to me. I usually tell my clients that when they have a choice it’s best to spend a little extra on “first-party” plugins developed by WooCommerce themselves. You know they’ll all be compatible with WooCommerce and each other, that you’ll have access to WooCommerce’s support staff, and you don’t have to worry about a plugin suddenly disappearing because it was written by one person who decided to stop updating it.
However, in this case the first-party options for using WooCommerce for wholesale are significantly more expensive than the other plugins I reviewed, and they are missing some important features that the lower-cost competition have.
To put together a wholesale system using WooCommerce’s own plugins, you need the Dynamic Pricing plugin to set different prices for Wholesale customers and offer price breaks for volume purchasing; The Role-Based Payment and Shipping Methods plugin if you need to limit Wholesale or Retail customers to only using certain payment or shipping methods; and the Min/Max Quantities plugin if you need to be able to set minimum or maximum order quantities.
The three plugins will set you back a total of $207—and you’ll need to pay that every year to keep your access to support and receive bug fixes and security patches.
Even after all that you’ll need third-party plugins to actually create a Wholesaler User Role and build registration and login forms for your Wholesalers. And we still haven’t gotten into creating Line Sheets or allowing Wholesalers to order multiple products from one screen.
So let’s move on to third-party plugins for using WooCommerce for Wholesale. Will those options be any better?
Third Place: CED Commerce Wholesale Market Suite
Pros: Inexpensive way to get basic Wholesale Features; Basic Plugin plus the Product Add On provide good entry level feature set; No annual renewal fee.
Cons: Can’t restrict payment gateways or shipping methods by user role; No Bulk Order interface or Line Sheet; No Built-In User Registration Page or Log In Page; Free Upgrades limited to minor version updates
The foundation of CED Commerce’s Wholesale Market Suite is the free Wholesale Market Plugin that lets you do the three most basic things required for using WooCommerce for wholesale: create a Wholesale user role, set different prices for different user roles, and set minimum and maximum order amounts.
But to build a useful wholesale store, you’ll need their $69 Product Add On plugin that lets you hide prices and products from users with different roles, set quantity-driven price breaks, define a user role-based percentage discount that applies to the entire store, and require that some products be bought in certain quantities (say, you can say that you only sell eggs by the dozen).
CED Commerce also offers a $69 plugin that lets you create additional user roles beyond Wholesale and Retail; a $49 Reporting Add-On for fine-grained wholesale order reporting; and a $49 Subscription add-on that lets you apply wholesale prices to subscription-based products.
So for a $69 one-time fee you get just about everything you need for a basic wholesale store. Why, then, does the CED Commerce Wholesale Market Suite get only third place?
Well for one thing, that $69 fee gets you lifetime support and upgrades—but only for the version you originally bought. So if you buy version 3.0, you’ll get free upgrades for 3.1, 3.2, etc., but if a version 4.0 is released you’ll have to pay to upgrade.
The other reason I only awarded the Wholesale Market Suite third place is that it is missing a few important features. Like the WooCommerce plugins you need third-party plugins to build registration and login forms for your Wholesalers, and to create Line Sheets or a multi-product ordering screen. But most significantly, there’s no way to restrict payment or shipping methods by User Role. Yes, you can add those features with additional plugins, but this adds complexity—and cost—to your wholesale system.
Second Place: Booster for WooCommerce
Pros: Inexpensive; Lifetime license available; Includes many useful non-wholesale enhancements; Gives you most of the essential Wholesale features in one plugin.
Cons: Can’t restrict shipping methods by user role; No Bulk Order interface or Line Sheet; No Built-In User Registration Page or Log In Page
On the face of it, Booster for WooCommerce seems to have many of the same shortcomings as the CED Wholesale Market Suite. There are no built-in registration and login forms for your Wholesalers, no Line Sheet feature, no multi-product ordering screen, and it can’t limit shipping methods by User Role.
But Booster does let you set prices per User Role, along with using Roles to limit payment methods, product visibility, and minimum order amounts. It also lets you create as many different User Roles as you want, and it will create PDF Packing Slips and Invoices. For many sellers using WooCommerce for Wholesale, this feature set is all they need.
The biggest factor that pushes Booster into second place is value. It only costs $39 per year, or for $59 you can get a true one-time fee that gets you lifetime support and lifetime upgrades. Plus, Booster does a lot more than the wholesale features we’ve looked at, and using it could allow you to replace several single-feature plugins with one, which can improve your site’s performance, stability, and security.
First Place: Wholesale Suite Plugin Bundle
Pros: Full-featured plugin suite with all the features even advanced wholesalers need; No annual renewal fee; electronic Line Sheet doubles as a bulk order form; Wholesale Application Form and Wholesaler Login Forms are built-in
Cons: No Built-In support for PDF or Printed Line Sheets
Finally in first place is the Wholesale Suite Plugin Bundle. This is actually a combination of three plugins: Wholesale Prices Premium, Wholesale Order Form, and Wholesale Lead Capture. It might not be the cheapest option, but its feature set is unmatched and will satisfy even the most demanding store owner.
Wholesale Prices comes in two versions: a free version with a limited feature set, and a paid Premium version that has all the essential features you need for using WooCommerce for Wholesale. You get User Role-defined pricing, taxes, payment and shipping methods, and minimum or maximum order quantities. You also get to show or hide products based on User Role and a special “Wholesale” order type so you can keep your Retail and Wholesale orders organized.
The Wholesale Order Form plugin lets you build an electronic Line Sheet where your Wholesalers can place orders for multiple products all on one screen. This is a huge convenience feature for your Wholesalers, and for you—keeping your Line Sheet online means everyone always has the most up to date information. There is no built-in method for printing that Line Sheet, but you could use a web browser like Google Chrome that gives you detailed control over how web pages are printed. Or you can just go all-digital—this is eCommerce, after all!
A More Advanced Order Form
Finally there’s the Wholesale Lead Capture plugin that sets up forms for Wholesalers to register with your store and to log in. Sure, you could create these forms using Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, or Gravity Forms. But the Lead Capture plugin also lets you configure an automated email sequence for new applicants and gives you an easy interface for approving or denying applications.
One missing feature is the ability to generate PDFs of Invoices and Packing slips, but there is a free plugin available that will do this for you.
If you don’t need all three plugins you can get them individually for a one-time fee of $59 each, but you get a $30 price break when you order all three in a bundle for $147. Whichever option you choose, you get lifetime updates and one year of support.
What’s Stopping you from Using WooCommerce for Wholesale?
It certainly isn’t a lack of good plugins that give you the tools you need. If you’re looking for ways to grow your sales and diversify your revenue sources, you should consider wholesale. You expand your customer base beyond the people you attract online, and even though the profit on your wholesale items won’t be as high as on your retail sales, you save yourself time and effort by outsourcing the individuals sales to your wholesale stockists.
I hope this article has given you some confidence in planning your first moves into Wholesale. If you have more questions or want to talk about your own store’s strategy, get in touch—I’m always here to help!
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