If you’re looking to take your wholesale business to the next level, offering trade accounts may be the best step to take. However, you’ll need a way to manage your customers orders. That’s where WooCommerce comes in.
This popular e-commerce plugin is highly flexible. With help from Wholesale Suite, you can easily extend WooCommerce to create a trade account system for your customers.
In this post, we’ll cover the basics of wholesale trade accounts, as well as how to set them up yourself using WooCommerce and Wholesale Suite. Let’s dive on in!
An Introduction to Wholesale Trade Accounts
If you’re already involved in wholesale, then you’re probably used to selling to retailers. It’s quite different from selling directly to consumers and present several unique challenges.
For instance, new retailers need to stock their shelves before they can start making money. One way they can pay for their initial supply of products is to open a trade account with a wholesaler such as yourself.
Retailers can charge items to their trade accounts and then pay for them later. You’ll be able to charge interest on these transactions to make up for having to wait to receive your money.
This is a win-win for you and your customers. You make a little extra income by charging interest, and retailers can put off payments until they have made money selling the products they purchased from you.
Even after they get their own stores off the ground, your wholesale customers may continue to use their trade accounts for the sake of convenience. If they can easily make up the amount they’ll spend on interest with their profits, then delaying payments may be easier for them.
Why You Might Want to Set Up Your Trade Accounts with WooCommerce
While there are certainly advantages to offering trade accounts to your wholesale customers, managing those accounts is another story. There are a lot of moving pieces at play here, including:
- Trade account applications. By offering trade accounts, you’re essentially financing your customers’ businesses. You’ll want to make sure they’re a good investment, which means screening them before you allow them to charge items to their accounts.
- Collecting payments. You need a method for keeping track of what you’re owed and collecting payments when the time comes. Since everything is delayed with a trade account, it can be easy to lose sight of who has and hasn’t paid if you don’t stay organized.
- Accepting and fulfilling orders. Like all wholesale orders, those charged to trade accounts will be bulk purchases. Fulfilling these orders accurately and in a timely manner is key.
Of course, the simplest solution is to find a system that can manage all of these tasks in one place. WooCommerce and Wholesale Suite is one answer to this problem.
Our plugins build on WooCommerce’s native functionality to cut down on your administrative work, save you time, and minimize frustration for customers throughout the registration and ordering processes. You can accomplish all the tasks listed above using the familiar WordPress dashboard interface.
How to Make a WooCommerce Trade Account (In 6 Steps)
If you’re ready to create your own WooCommerce trade account system, you’ll first need to purchase, install, and activate our Wholesale Suite plugins. We’ll assume you’ve already done so before proceeding with the steps below.
Step 1: Define the terms of your trade accounts
First, it’s important to determine the terms for use of your trade accounts. Making up the rules as you go along will only lead to confusion – it’s better to be prepared.
A few questions to ask yourself at this stage include:
- What will be the requirements for opening a trade account?
- Will you charge interest for trade credit, and if so, how much?
- What will your payment schedule look like?
- What payment methods will you offer?
- Will there be a limit on the amount customers can charge to their trade accounts, and if so, what is that limit?
Make sure to put the answers to these questions as well as any other rules in writing and include them in your Terms & Conditions. Every wholesale customer who opens a trade account should know these requirements before they sign up, so expectations are clear from the beginning.
Step 2: Create a trade account user role
With your rules clearly defined, you can get down to actually creating your WooCommerce trade account system. The best place to start is by creating a new wholesale customer role.
Your trade accounts will likely require different settings than your standard wholesale customer accounts. Fortunately, it’s easy to set up this with Wholesale Suite.
Navigate to WooCommerce > Wholesale Roles. Here you can create a new user role for your trade account holders:
You’ll use this role to implement various settings for your trade accounts in the steps to come.
Step 3: Set your trade account prices
Next, you’ll need to set your wholesale prices for your trade account holders. How you want to go about this is up to you. Some options include:
- Providing the same discount you give your other wholesale customers
- Increasing your discount to incentivize buyers to sign up for trade accounts
- Decreasing your discount as an alternative to charging interest
Regardless of which route you choose to take, you can set your trade account prices by going to WooCommerce > Settings > Wholesale Prices > Discount.
Under General Discount Options, select your trade account user role from the dropdown and enter your percentage discount. Then click on Add Mapping:
You can also specify pricing per product, per category, or per user, depending on your needs.
Step 4: Configure your trade account payment options
Then you’ll need to enable the payment methods you want your trade account holders to use. If you’ve set your pricing in such a way that you don’t need to charge interest, this is simple enough.
For those who do wish to charge interest, we recommend installing WooCommerce Invoice Solution. This will enable you to seamlessly take orders on your WooCommerce site, then generate an invoice in your preferred accounting software (such as Quickbooks or Xero) that lists when payment is due and how much interest the customer owes.
To set your WooCommerce trade account payment methods, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Wholesale Prices > Payment Gateway:
Under Wholesale Role/Payment Gateway, select your trade account role from the dropdown, then list the available payment methods in the field below. Click on Add Mapping to save your changes.
Step 5: Enable wholesale customers to apply for trade accounts
At this point, you have all the makings of a basic WooCommerce trade account system. Now you can start accepting applications and enabling wholesale customers to create their trade accounts.
To get a jump start on this process, you can use our WooCommerce Wholesale Lead Capture plugin, which comes bundled with Wholesale Suite. It generates forms for your site to help you create registration and trade login pages.
You’ll find all the settings you need to create your new trade account registration and login pages in WooCommerce > Settings > Wholesale Lead:
In the General tab, make sure to scroll down to Lead Actions and set the New Lead Role dropdown to your trade account role. Select Manual Approval Required here as well, so you can screen applicants before granting them access to their trade accounts.
You can view the default information included in your registration form by clicking on Built in Fields. You can also create additional fields in the Custom Fields tab:
This feature is handy for requiring details such as bank information, references, and tax information. You can use this information to determine whether the applicant is a ‘safe’ risk.
Step 6: Process trade account orders with wholesale order forms
As you start approving applicants, your WooCommerce trade account orders will start to roll in. One of the simplest ways to manage them is with order forms.
This makes it easier for your trade account holders to place bulk orders, and streamlines the process, too. You can set an order form up in just a few minutes with our WooCommerce Wholesale Order Form plugin.
Just navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Wholesale Ordering to customize your form:
Don’t forget to save your changes when you’re done.
Once you set up a WooCommerce trade account system with Wholesale Suite, you can easily manage delayed payments for your customers. This will enable retailers who might otherwise lack the capital to source their products from you to do so with ease.
In this post, we shared six basic steps for creating trade account for your WooCommerce wholesale site:
- Define the terms of your trade accounts.
- Create a trade account user role.
- Set your trade account prices.
- Configure your trade account payment options.
- Enable wholesale customers to apply for trade accounts.
- Process trade account orders with wholesale order forms.
Do you have any questions about trade accounts? Ask away in the comments section below!