What kind of products do you sell? Are they physical goods, digital products or a mix of both? Are you selling complex fashion products?
If you're exploring the market for a new ecommerce solution, you’ve come to the right place. In this comparison, we'll delve into three powerful ecommerce platforms for wholesale management – Centra, B2B on Shopify and Salesforce B2B Commerce.
See how Centra compares to B2B on Shopify and Salesforce B2B Commerce.
|B2B on Shopify||Salesforce B2B Commerce||Centra|
|Meets Requirements||B2B-specific G2 rating currently not available||8.8||9.0|
|Ease of Use||B2B-specific G2 rating currently not available||8.6||9.0|
|Ease of Setup||B2B-specific G2 rating currently not available||8.3||8.5|
|Ease of Admin||B2B-specific G2 rating currently not available||8.3||9.2|
|Quality of Support||B2B-specific G2 rating currently not available||8.4||9.3|
|Ease of Doing Business With||B2B-specific G2 rating currently not available||9.3||9.6|
|Product Direction||B2B-specific G2 rating currently not available||8.1||9.7|
Globalization has led to the emergence of new market opportunities for fashion businesses. As consumers around the world become more connected and fashion-conscious, there is a growing demand for international fashion brands. B2B commerce enables fashion businesses to tap into these new markets and establish partnerships with retailers and distributors in different countries. By expanding their global footprint, fashion businesses can not only increase their revenue but also gain valuable insights into international consumer preferences and trends.
Nowadays, many fashion brands are transitioning to digital, aiming to dominate both their direct-to-consumer and wholesale channels. They are reducing their dependency on wholesale collaborators and are leaning towards a model that blends direct online transactions with digital wholesaling.
The rapid rise of omnichannel commerce has rendered the use of traditional paper forms and Excel documents outdated and highly ineffective. Leveraging the latest breakthroughs in ecommerce, buyers, sellers, and manufacturers have the opportunity to revolutionize and significantly refine the sales process for fashion items.
Modern headless ecommerce platforms like Centra not only introduce a fresh perspective and laser focus on fashion ecommerce, but also better cater to the specific needs and challenges of fashion brands.
In general, the growing popularity of ecommerce platforms integrating DTC and B2B sales represents a fundamental shift in the fashion wholesale process. These modern platforms offer brands a digitized wholesale channel that can run in parallel with their retail operations, with no need for wholesalers. Also, this approach allows brands to have more control over their pricing, brand presentation, and customer relationships.
The table below presents a comparison of four different B2B e-commerce platforms.
|B2B on Shopify||Salesforce B2B Commerce||Centra||Elastic|
|Who it's for and what it offers||B2B on Shopify provides an intuitive platform for businesses to create a B2B storefront. It's recognized for its user-friendly interface, extensive customization options, and seamless integration with the broader Shopify ecosystem. Its strength is in offering a straightforward transition for businesses already familiar with Shopify, allowing for a DTC-like experience in the B2B domain.||Salesforce B2B Commerce is an enterprise-grade ecommerce platform. It offers personalization, scalability, and a comprehensive view of the customer across the entire organization. Its strength lies in its integration capabilities with other Salesforce offerings and its cloud-based infrastructure, making it a favorite for large enterprises needing an all-in-one solution.||Centra is specifically designed for the fashion industry, offering features that allow brands to quickly adapt to changing trends. This includes advanced visual merchandising tools, ensuring products are presented in an appealing and relevant way to both B2B clients and consumers. Also, Centra enables a unified approach to managing both direct-to-consumer and business-to-business channels, allowing for consistent inventory management and channel-specific pricing strategies.||Elastic by Emerald is a B2B ecommerce platform known for streamlining wholesale purchasing with features like a virtual showroom, digital catalogs, and interactive order writing interface. It integrates with various ERP systems for efficient order management, offering a user-friendly interface and customization options to enhance B2B transactions and brand-retailer relationships.|
This comparison will only focus on Centra, Salesforce B2B Commerce, and B2B on Shopify. Our aim is to highlight similarities among them and provide a concise summary of their capabilities and advantages in the realm of B2B fashion ecommerce.
|Salesforce B2B Commerce||Centra||B2B on Shopify|
|Industries served||No industry focus||Fashion Lifestyle Footwear Sportswear Outdoor wear Cosmetics Jewelry Others||No industry focus|
|Positioning||Enterprise-grade ecommerce platform Part of a powerful suite Extensive customization options and omnichannel capabilities||Feature-complete commerce solution targeting fashion & lifestyle brands Omnichannel capabilities Distributed OMS Fashion PIM Built for optimizing revenue and profit across channels||Enterprise-grade ecommerce platform User-friendly Extensive customization options Omnichannel capabilities|
|Deployment||Cloud-based SaaS||Cloud-based SaaS||Cloud-based SaaS|
|Strengths||✅ Part of a larger suite, deep integration with Salesforce CRM ✅ Feature-rich platform ✅ Enterprise capabilities ✅ Strong B2B offering ✅ Advanced marketing and analytics tools for data-driven decision-making||✅ Core features enabling to optimize revenue for fashion brands ✅ Powerful discounting engine ✅ Strong B2B digital showroom offering||✅ An intuitive interface ✅ Customization options ✅ Integration with the Shopify ecosystem ✅ A straightforward transition for businesses already familiar with Shopify, allowing for a DTC-like experience in the B2B domain|
|Wholesale storefront||✅ Yes, wholesale specific||✅ Yes, fashion wholesale specific||✅ Yes, wholesale specific or so-colled blended store|
|Distributed OMS||✅ Yes||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|PIM||❌ No (possible integrations with a third-party PIM system)||✅ Yes, fashion-focused lightweight PIM and/or integrations with a third-party PIM system||❌ No (possible integrations with a third-party PIM system)|
|Integrations||✅ 63 apps dedicated for Salesforce Commerce Cloud, 7000 apps for the entire suite||❌ Limited set of pre-built integrations||✅ Unlimited integrations through API|
|Notable B2B clients||Asics, FILA, Guess||Our Legacy, Sandqvist, Nudie Jeans, Viking Footwear||Brooklinen, Momofuku, Gymshark|
Shopify announced that it would be retiring its current Plus wholesale channel on April 30, 2024. Merchants using this channel will be migrated over to Shopify's new B2B platform. Shopify is offering a migration guide to help sellers move to B2B on Shopify.
The redesigned B2B platform aims to improve upon the existing wholesale channel features while also introducing new capabilities. Shopify states that B2B unifies wholesale selling into the core Shopify Plus experience, eliminating the need for a separate wholesale store.
The transition aims to provide wholesalers with an improved unified platform tailored for B2B selling. With the retirement of the standalone wholesale channel, Shopify Plus merchants will conduct all their B2B and B2C selling through the core Shopify platform.
Shopify Plus allows brands to either build so-called “blended stores” that serve both business-to-business (B2B) and direct-to-customer (DTC) audiences, or dedicated stores that only serve business customers.
The default experience for both these types of stores is identical. Both use the same discount codes, gift cards, etc. Any modifications, such as theme or navigation adjustments, affect both groups unless the theme code is manually altered, making differentiation challenging. Additionally, most Shopify Plus store analytics don't differentiate between these two groups, except for sales reports. For features like notifications, inventory, and shipping, the settings are uniform for B2B and DTC. Blended stores thus help unify data and settings. But, if distinct experiences are essential, a dedicated store might be a better choice.
The B2B ordering process on Shopify resembles its direct-to-consumer (DTC) ordering flow. While this eases the transition for businesses already familiar with DTC operations, it might not provide the tailored B2B experience that some enterprises seek.
Businesses looking for a straightforward and simple approach may appreciate this setup, though it may not be as seamless as dedicated B2B platforms, potentially leading to inefficiencies for bulk or complex orders.
For B2B clients, Shopify recommends the use of "draft orders." This allows businesses to create a provisional order, providing a level of flexibility before finalizing. This can be useful – but for buyers who prefer invoicing, it might complicate instantaneous placements of orders.
The B2B on Shopify platform offers purchasing and order tracking features that aim to streamline account management without constant oversight.
Customizable B2B logic
The platform provides the capability for adapting logic during checkout via Shopify Functions to suit various customer needs.
There are conditional rules available for products and variants which include settings like minimums, maximums, case packs, and increments.
The platform allows for the assignment of customer-specific prices directly to company profiles, eliminating the reliance on additional tags or apps.
Net payment terms
B2B on Shopify offers a feature that sets payment terms and monitors order collections as they become due within the admin panel.
Checkout to draft
There are workflows and proposal tools that enable the review and approval of orders within the admin interface.
B2B Shopify merchants can accept credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers and PayPal payments. For high-ticket purchases, Shopify facilitates partial payments, installment plans and payment schedules to better accommodate B2B buying requirements. Custom payment terms, invoices and purchase orders can be enabled based on customer groups and sales channels.
Flexible payment terms – Shopify allows businesses to establish varying payment terms, such as 7, 15, 30, 60, and 90 days. This provides both sellers and buyers with flexibility to manage their cash flows and payment schedules.
Card payments – Payment via card is not just encouraged but is also a streamlined process on Shopify. It's automated with real-time payment status updates, ensuring that both buyers and sellers are in the loop regarding transaction statuses.
Vaulted credit cards – Customers can securely store their cards at checkout or in customer accounts.
Non-card payments – While non-card payments are possible, B2B on Shopify relies quite heavily on draft orders for anything non-card payments. Draft orders can lead to complications, making the process potentially challenging for businesses that often deal with non-card transactions.
Invoicing – Shopify offers invoicing solutions. However, challenges arise especially when businesses are selling in their domestic currency and choose not to use card payments. The intricacies can be cumbersome and demand more time and effort from the admin side.
Shopify's B2B platform has made strides in enhancing the buying experience for businesses, primarily through its B2B catalogs feature. These catalogs are tailor-made, enabling sellers to customize the purchasing landscape specifically for their B2B clients.
Location-specific products and pricing – Shopify allows sellers to tie specific products and their prices to a particular buyer location. This granularity ensures that businesses can set location-centric pricing or product availability. Set up multiple buyers and locations with unique payment terms and user permissions. Add customer-specific product publishing to offer a curated buying experience with product catalogs assigned to a specific buyer or location.
Personalized B2B store – Sellers can create a unique buying experience for each customer using the Liquid language for Shopify’s store themes, email templates, and branding.
Currency preferences – Sellers have the flexibility to set preferred currencies for their B2B catalogs, catering to international clientele or those preferring transactions in a particular currency.
CSV support – For businesses with expansive product lists or those who manage their inventory outside Shopify, the platform offers a seamless import and export functionality for catalogs via CSV.
Quantity rules – Shopify's B2B catalogs come equipped with quantity rules, allowing sellers to determine increments, as well as set maximum and minimum order quantities.
API support – The platform's B2B catalogs are also API-friendly, providing developers with the tools to further customize or integrate the feature with other systems.
Comparing Shopify's B2B catalogs with Centra's offering reveals a few distinctions:
Collection connectivity – Unlike Centra, Shopify's catalogs are not inherently linked to collections. This means that while product listings are available, the nuanced categorization or bundled product experience might be absent.
Delivery windows – One of Centra's standout features is its delivery windows, allowing buyers to select specific delivery timelines, helping to avoid overselling and backorders. By using delivery windows, brands can offer pre-orders on their products based on incoming stock. This feature is currently missing in Shopify's B2B offering.
Despite the differences, at their core, both platforms offer a relatively analogous B2B catalog experience. Sellers can expect most of the fundamental features and functionalities to be present across both platforms.
While Shopify does not offer PIM, there are a few options for Shopify merchants to add PIM capabilities:
Integrate Shopify with a third-party PIM solution like Akeneo, Salsify or Plytix. These PIM tools can sync product data to Shopify.
Use an app or extension like Product Sync or Bridge by Netalico to connect Shopify to a PIM system.
For small catalogs, use Shopify's native product management tools to manually upload and edit product info.
Build a custom integration between Shopify and an existing PIM using Shopify's APIs.
The benefits of adding a PIM to Shopify include centralized product information, easier data management, robust product content, and increased accuracy and consistency across channels.
Stores using Shopify’s OMS have the option to use the Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN). The third-party logistics solution natively integrates with the Shopify OMS. Merchants will have their OMS updated with accurate stock levels at each strategically located fulfillment center.
Shopify's B2B platform does not natively support preordering (it does support reorders though). Product reorders encourage recurring sales by making it easy for customers to reorder frequently.
With B2B on Shopify, you can cater to wholesale customers around the world by providing localized storefronts, currencies, and tax exemptions. Via Shopify’s App Store, Shopify offers a wide array of apps and a range of functionality. For more specialist services, monthly licensing costs for apps vary from just a few dollars to more standard apps.
As with most ecommerce platforms, Shopify Plus comes with a variety of built-in integrations and apps that allow you to link your ecommerce website with third-party platforms.
Shopify Plus is a SaaS e-commerce platform, so merchants don't have to worry about server management, security patches, etc. However, the merchant is still responsible for the security of their storefront and customer data.
Shopify Plus covers all crucial B2B features for a website, but Shopify does not provide set public pricing. According to various industry reports, a basic Shopify Plus store starts around $2K/month, but pricing is customized for each business based on sales volumes, revenue, extra features, and add-ons – larger brands pay upwards of $5K to $40K+ per month.
There are no long-term contracts either – pricing is month-to-month, and Shopify offers volume discounts and negotiates custom packages for high-volume merchants. Additional fees may apply for add-ons like POS integration, advanced reporting, account management portals, etc.
Cost – Shopify Plus comes with significant ongoing costs, including the base license and potential add-ons. Moreover, while hosting is included, businesses often find themselves incurring retainer fees to agencies, especially without capable in-house support. What’s worth noting, the B2B channel is only available on Shopify Plus and takes up one of the 16 markets available for the Market Pro plan.
Specific B2B features not included by default – You need to contact Shopify Plus support to activate certain features like discounts, Shopify Scripts that affect line item discounts, gift cards and checkout abandonment recovery mechanisms.
Specific B2B features are currently unavailable – According to Shopify, these include the ability to modify the customer linked to a B2B order, offer tipping options, provide the "buy online, pickup in store" feature, sell non-tangible items like services or digital products, provide local deliveries, enable accelerated checkouts with payment wallets, and make any custom changes to the checkout process through the checkout.liquid file editing.
Order limits – Shopify Plus restricts orders to 500 line items per product or variant.
Payment options – While Shopify Plus allows for invoicing, it prioritizes card payments and can be cumbersome when selling in domestic currency. Managing invoices isn't as user-friendly as one might expect for both buyers and admins. Additionally, Shopify Plus recommends using "draft orders" for invoicing, which involves manual work and can be time-consuming for businesses with large order volumes.
Shipping setting limitations in Shopify blended stores – Managing independent stores under one Shopify Plus account can be complex and costly as each requires unique resources, themes, and settings. This often results in redundant effort in managing product catalogs and promotional strategies. Furthermore, with blended stores for B2B and DTC, different shipping settings for each require separate stores.
Blended stores offer convenience but lack flexibility – Blended stores allow you to sell to both business and consumer customers. However, it’s hard to offer a different experience for B2B and D2C — any changes you make to themes or navigation using the theme editor apply to B2B and D2C customers. To differentiate this experience, you’d need to change the code.
Support for fashion B2B – Shopify Plus lacks a specific industry focus. It isn't tailored for the intricacies of fashion wholesale, lacking features for seasonal collections, preorders, and delivery windows.
Lack of control/customization – Shopify Plus users face challenges with backend customization, especially when compared to Centra or Salesforce B2B Commerce. Despite offering storefront themes and customizations, in-depth backend alterations often need technical expertise. The platform also limits control over crucial features such as SEO or checkout pages, and building specific front-end functionalities can be restrictive.
Platform lock-in – Committing to Shopify Plus (and B2B) means committing to the entire ecosystem, limiting the ability to migrate easily or gain further control. This design decision makes brands somewhat dependent on Shopify's roadmap and updates.
Content management limitations – While Shopify Plus has content management capabilities, they aren't as robust or feature-rich as other dedicated systems or platforms like Salesforce.
Patagonia, Nike, ASOS
In 2018, Salesforce acquired CloudCraze to boost its B2B commerce capabilities. Post-acquisition, the functionalities and features of CloudCraze were incorporated into what Salesforce now calls "Salesforce B2B Commerce," which continues to serve the B2B market with enhanced capabilities and integration with the broader Salesforce ecosystem.
As a robust enterprise-level ecommerce platform built for B2B selling, Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers wholesale businesses capabilities to sell online. In the following sections, we look more closely at the different features of the platform focused on B2B selling.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is designed for the unique needs of companies managing complex B2B wholesale operations:
Advanced promotions – Salesforce Commerce Cloud allows businesses to design promotions with volume discounts and customer-specific pricing tailored to business buyers.
Strong B2B offering - fully customizable (but not fashion-focused)
Contract management – The platform facilitates the creation of customized agreements with customers, detailing pricing, terms, and duration.
Unified commerce platform – Salesforce Commerce Cloud provides a comprehensive solution for managing B2B, B2C, D2C, and wholesale operations.
Scalability – The enterprise-grade architecture of the platform ensures seamless business growth without disruptions.
Agility – The platform allows for swift modifications to sites, channels, promotions, and catalogs as market demands change.
Personalization – Salesforce Commerce Cloud customizes offerings based on individual account attributes and behaviors.
Integration capabilities – Businesses can seamlessly integrate with systems like ERP and CPQ, along with procurement systems through cXML and OCI standards.
Analytics and reporting – Comprehensive insights into wholesale operations are provided, highlighting opportunities, strategies, and key performance metrics.
Account-based selling – Salesforce Commerce Cloud supports detailed business customer profile management with features such as credit limits and tiered pricing.
Role-based access – The platform ensures tailored data and function access according to user roles, catering to different professional needs.
Self-service capabilities – Business buyers can manage their accounts, track orders, and reorder without complications.
Salesforce B2B Commerce supports reorders. Built on Salesforce’s Lightning Web Runtime (LWR), a frontend-development tool by Salesforce, Reorder Portal is a dedicated template that allows brands to easily build a streamlined B2B Commerce portal. Buyers can use it to reorder products easily. Embed this experience in sales and service engagements to boost self-service orders. A Sales admin can invite customers to the portal from an Account page or during the Quote to Order generation process as recommended by Einstein Next Best Action. Here are the main features of the portal:
The Salesforce B2B Commerce platform allows buyers to view previous orders, adjust quantities, initiate new orders, and monitor order statuses through a streamlined UI.
Sales and service integration
The platform facilitates increased self-service options, potentially reducing the demand on sales and service teams.
Engagement at appropriate instances
The platform offers a feature where buyers might be directed to the reorder site, influenced by the Einstein Next Best Action suggestions.
Development with minimal coding
The platform comes equipped with pre-configured layouts and a selection of components, streamlining the development process.
Salesforce B2B guided selling helps businesses choose the right products for their needs. Since B2B products are often bulky and complicated, guided selling simplifies the process.
Salesforce B2B Commerce allows brands to create prompts that ask sales reps about the types of products they want when they’re adding products to a quote. Salesforce CPQ reviews their answers and shows the Add Products page with a list of products that match their responses. Salesforce B2B Commerce calls this process “guided selling.”
This prevents businesses from purchasing products that are too complex or create unnecessary hassles.
Business account management – Enables the creation of buyers specifically for B2B stores by activating the business account and adding relevant contacts as customer users.
Person account integration – Allows the creation of individual buyer accounts that can access stores associated with their buyer group.
Buyer group consolidation – Offers the ability to add multiple accounts under a single buyer group, ensuring shared access to specific stores, price books, and entitlements.
B2B store and buyer group association – Each store comes with a default buyer group. The products and their prices that a buyer can see are contingent on the buyer group’s associated price books and entitlement policies.
Address management – Permits setting default billing and shipping addresses for buyer accounts.
External account access for buyers – Buyers can be granted permission to purchase on behalf of, or manage, external accounts. Buyers with the "Buyer Manager" role can even oversee other buyers in external accounts, including password resets and cart viewing.
Bulk buyer account activation – Salesforce provides tools like Data Loader, Flow Builder, and the Object API to mass-enable accounts as buyer accounts.
Salesforce B2B offers a versatile platform for tailoring buyer experiences, particularly concerning group setups, entitlements, and price assignments. Based on business objectives, consider the following strategies:
Aim – Encourage buyer engagement and loyalty.
Mechanism – Categorize buyers into distinct tiers, with each successive tier offering broader product access or deeper discounts.
Setup – Each tier should have a unique entitlement policy, price book, and buyer group.
Aim – Achieve maximum profitability.
Mechanism – Establish a distinct price book for each buyer, allowing for individualized pricing.
Setup – Create a single buyer group and entitlement policy for all buyers. Individual buyers then get assigned a specific price book and buyer group. This is particularly beneficial for different pricing tiers or groups.
Aim – Direct customers towards specific products.
Mechanism – Control product visibility based on each buyer's contractual agreement.
Setup – For every product group, set up a dedicated buyer group and entitlement policy. Link each buyer to the appropriate buyer groups that represent the products they're allowed to access. Note – A single account can be part of up to 20 different buyer groups.
These strategies help businesses optimize their B2B store experiences, ensuring tailored product visibility and pricing for diverse buyer categories.
PIM systems help centralize, organize and optimize product information like descriptions, images, videos, specs, etc. This product content can then be distributed to various channels like ecommerce stores, apps, catalogs, etc. Salesforce B2B Commerce does not come with a built-in product information management (PIM) system. However, it can be integrated with third-party PIMs to manage product data. Leading PIM vendors like Akeneo, Plytix and Salsify offer connectors and integrations with Salesforce B2B Commerce to bring PIM capabilities.
B2C Commerce includes Order Management Lite by default, and Salesforce B2B Commerce integration allows full order life cycle capabilities. Moreover, with Omnichannel Inventory and Distributed Order Management, companies gain real-time inventory visibility across all stores and fulfillment centers.
Salesforce B2B offers strong native support for invoicing and billing. B2B Commerce and the Salesforce Billing package work together after some preliminary setup. To ensure interoperability, product records should contain specific values for fields required by Salesforce Billing.
For wholesale companies aiming to expand their digital commerce channels, Salesforce Commerce Cloud provides an enterprise-level B2B platform to meet their unique needs. With the right implementation partner, wholesalers can leverage Commerce Cloud to gain efficiency, insights, and agility across their business.
However, while Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a robust solution, there are some limitations to consider:
Complex setup – Implementing B2B features like account-based selling requires technical configuration expertise.
Higher cost – Salesforce Commerce Cloud is one of the pricier solutions for medium to large wholesalers.
Limited built-in CRM – You may need to purchase Salesforce Sales or Service Cloud for full CRM capabilities.
Customization challenges – While customizable, modifying Commerce Cloud from its out-of-the-box state gets complex.
Customization - through the AppExchange marketplace, Salesforce offers only a limited range of modules and integrations with third parties. Due to the smaller ecosystem and restrictions around integrations, advanced customization and integrations are likely to cost more than on Shopify Plus.
Salesforce is quite open about B2B Commerce pricing – and it’s expensive. For brands selling B2B Salesforce Commerce Cloud has three pricing tiers based on orders per month:
Starter (basic online selling) – $4 per order
Growth (multiple storefronts, multichannel orders, single-view of customers) – $6 per order
Plus (full digital transformation) – $8 per order
For D2C Commerce, there is a single plan priced at – 1% of GMV. Additional costs apply for various add-ons like Order Management, POS, Content Management, and premium support plans.
Ralph Lauren, The North Face, Sephora
Running on Centra, you gain a digital wholesale module to help your brand stand out and grow fast without design and technological limitations. You can freely integrate the platform with other IT systems, eliminating the manual labor of transferring data between different systems.
Also, Centra makes it easier to leverage the personalized digital marketing techniques and merchandising freedom known from B2C ecommerce, further boosting your wholesale channel.
As its main advantage, Centra gives original brands the possibility to handle B2B wholesale and B2C direct-to-consumer modules in one neat package – and robust support for omnichannel.
Centra aims to simplify B2B wholesale implementation and, with its headless architecture, allows brands to avoid complex, specialized installations and modifications.
Centra offers all the B2B features most lifestyle brands would be looking for, such as:
Powerful discounting engine
Strong B2B digital showroom offering
Customer groups (for sharing of discounts, pricing, restrictions / eligibility etc)
Price lists (that can be shared or customer-specific)
Tiered pricing / volume pricing (as well as customer-specific adaptations)
Advanced discount management
Credit limits, payment terms, etc.
Customer group and customer-level product availability
Purchasing roles / levels
Advanced shipment management
Customizable buyer, agent, and rep views and logins
Shoppable digital lookbooks
Individual and tiered pricing
Advanced product configuration
Flexible delivery options
Quotations and purchasing workflows
Omnichannel order fulfillment
Control over orders on existing and future inventory with corresponding delivery windows
Let’s now dive deeper into specific features and functionality of Centra in the sections below.
Centra makes it easy for brands to digitize their wholesale by offering an out-of-the-box, buyer-friendly and intuitive Showroom module allowing retailers to place preorders, reorders and orders on stock.
Brands can invite retailers globally to visit their digital showroom, browse online lookbooks and place orders. With Centra’s real-time, collaborative showroom environment, brands can work on multiple orders with multiple buyers simultaneously. Centra’s Showroom supports the business logic of wholesale, personalized pricing, campaigns and more.
A key advantage of Centra is that it allows lifestyle brands to handle B2B wholesale and direct-to-consumer ecommerce seamlessly from a single platform. The wholesale and DTC modules can coexist, enabling brands to sell through both channels efficiently.
Out of the box, Centra comes with a lightweight, advanced PIM geared to handle complex fashion and lifestyle products – no extra apps and integrations needed.
Centra serves as your centralized order management system helping you get your orders shipped out with minimum lead times and reduced working capital needs to boost your profits. Centra helps you optimize fulfillment across multiple channels, including wholesale and direct-to-consumer, from a single admin panel. You can handle complex scenarios such as split orders, backorders, and multi-channel inventory. You can also use built-in ERP for inventory replenishment, keep accurate inventory levels, and automate key processes.
Centra includes an out-of-the-box supplier management system that integrates seamlessly with the stock management system. This integration enables the creation of "Stock/Link" or "Link" delivery windows, where the stock levels of products are directly linked to incoming deliveries that are confirmed by suppliers but not yet physically received into the warehouse. Through this connection between suppliers and inventory, Centra provides visibility into upcoming deliveries and helps ensure stock levels reflect both on-hand inventory and incoming shipments.
Running on Centra, brands can take orders on incoming stock before it arrives to the warehouse, minimizing working capital needs. Centra helps you remove errors and control all orders on existing and future inventory with corresponding delivery windows. The platform makes it easier to aggregate demand, create forecasts and place orders at suppliers with minimal overstock risk.
Fashion and lifestyle brands often have more complex, larger catalogs with lots of SKUs for different sizes and colors. Centra offers a bulk uploader, which makes those complicated catalogs a lot simpler. Centra’s multilayer variant handling makes it easy for brands to manage both color variants and sizes, as well as user-defined attributes like in a full-scale PIM.
Centra integrates well with PIM systems such as InRiver, making the platform your complete digital wholesale control room. With all data available in real-time, you can use Centra’s APIs to integrate with various third-party BI tools.
Centra stores all data in one place, allowing you to create extensive reports or move data into any BI solution of choice. You can use Centra’s back end to integrate with other IT systems, eliminating the manual labor of transferring data between them.
Maximize B2B order value through volume-based and threshold discounts or promote sales.
Centra supports rule-based per-account discounts and campaigns, enabling each wholesale account to buy the right products at the right times.
Base price lists: Standard price list selected for an Account (per delivery window)
Pre-negotiated discounts: Account-specific percentage discounts off the selected price list
Off-price campaigns: Powerful but simple tool for creating campaigns on selected products
Advanced discounts: Rule-based “if-this-then-that” pricing engine to surgically create any other type of pricing logic and vouchers
Order/item bargaining: Sellers can allow wholesale partners to make offers per item or order and override default pricing
Centra lets you define different prices for the same products in different delivery windows to adjust to fashion trends, and manage excess inventory and production capacity. Products can be offered in multiple delivery windows: immediate delivery with the "At once" option, or within a specified promotional period like "Sale." Additionally, exclusivity can be added for select segments, e.g. "Premium." For example, a white t-shirt might be available for immediate purchase in regular stock, while also listed for preorder with unlimited availability, allowing brands to cater to diverse customer needs efficiently and better manage their stock levels.
With Centra, you can generate reports tailored to the fashion industry, such as sales by size, color, and attributes from the size chart, in addition to general sales reports. Centra highlights best-selling collections and the items within them, even detailing sizes that are particularly popular. Other B2B platform vendors don't offer the feature to build certain fashion-specific reports like “best-selling items within a collection.”
Centra’s omnichannel reporting capabilities help better understand current fashion trends and shopper preferences, allowing brands to tailor the offering across all sales channels – both offline and online.
You can group and organize products into categories to enhance the shopping experience. With collection-based merchandising, you can strategically display and promote these collections throughout your store.
Centra supports any number of shipping and payment service providers, allowing brands to use the best-converting payment method in shipping options for buyers.
Centra is a headless software-as-a-service platform delivered from the cloud. It takes security very seriously by frequently penetration testing and sharing the reports.
The platform is monitored 24/7 to deliver 99.9%+ uptime, also during peak seasons, Black Friday, limited drops and flash sales. Centra is also always up to date to ensure the best performance – and new features and functionalities every second week.
Here are some potential drawbacks to consider with Centra as a B2B ecommerce platform:
Smaller market presence – Centra is a newer, less established platform compared to solutions like Salesforce Commerce Cloud or Shopify Plus.
Smaller partner ecosystem – Being a newer platform, Centra currently has a smaller network of solution partners and developers compared to longtime players.
With both DTC and B2B modules built in and many features offered out of the box, Centra significantly reduces the long-term cost of maintaining the platform and ensuring its good performance in peak sale periods. With Centra, there are no hidden costs, and any fees for third-party integrations needed to run the business are not paid to Centra. Brands can pick a free OMS, but would need to pay for 3rd party front end agency.
It's crucial to consider all aspects of costs when comparing TCO between platforms, including plugins, third-party consultants, and FX fees. Centra has transparent pricing without hidden transaction or exchange fees.
Centra has native core features for fashion and lifestyle brands, so you won't need to pay extra and manage countless add-ons to achieve core non-customer-facing functionality.
As a headless platform, Centra gives you the freedom to create the best possible customer experience. You will instead spend your resources together with front-end agencies on creating a great and distinct brand and customer experience.
Read more on ecommerce platform TCO in another post on the Centra blog.
Eton, Nudie Jeans, Paul Smith, ByMalina, Xlash and Holzweiler.
Centra unlocks marketing opportunities and lets brands leverage the personalized digital marketing techniques known from B2C ecommerce to boost the wholesale channel.
The Centra back end dashboard with all important ecommerce KPIs
Centra's industry-specific functionalities, user-centric design, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness make it a compelling choice for businesses in the fashion sector when compared against Salesforce B2B Commerce.
User experience – While Salesforce B2B Commerce is an advanced, complex platform designed with a broad array of functionalities, it may require support from IT experts. Centra, on the other hand, is crafted specifically for original fashion brands. Its user-friendly interface streamlines tasks, ensuring that businesses don't get overwhelmed by a plethora of options.
Flexibility and integrations – Centra champions flexibility, offering a wide range of integration possibilities with third-party solutions. Salesforce B2B Commerce can sometimes be perceived as a more locked-in solution, potentially limiting adaptability for unique business needs.
Industry specialization – Centra stands out with its fashion-centric approach. This focus provides specialized tools tailored for the fashion industry, such as support for sizing, visual merchandising, and influencer collaborations. This kind of niche specialization may not be as pronounced in a platform like Salesforce B2B Commerce.
Fashion-specific B2B buyer journey – Centra's B2B buyer process is distinctly designed keeping the fashion industry in mind. Features that support preorders, reorders and delivery windows cater specifically to the needs of fashion brands and their customers, giving Centra an edge in this domain.
Order management system (OMS) built in – While many platforms offer order management as a separate module or integration, Centra includes this crucial functionality as part of its core offering, streamlining operations and potentially reducing additional costs. Centra’s order management is suited for managing the lifecycle of each new fashion collection released, from preorders, reorders to end-of-season and clearance sales.
Developer-friendly environment – Centra provides businesses with a development and QA environment. This can be vital for businesses aiming to test changes, updates, or new integrations in a secure and controlled environment before they go live.
Cost – In terms of pricing, Centra generally offers a more competitive rate when compared to Salesforce B2B Commerce. See Centra’s TCO breakdown in a detailed blog post here.
Shopify’s B2B payments are reminiscent of direct-to-consumer (DTC) setups. While it does encompass most standard B2B mechanisms, it lacks in certain areas that might be very useful for fashion brands wanting to scale internationally.
Businesses prioritizing intricate B2B functionalities might find Shopify's ordering mechanism a bit restrictive.
Invoicing – When compared to platforms like Centra, Shopify's invoicing process appears less seamless. This applies not just to the creation of invoices but also from the perspective of both buyers and admins.
Dependency on draft orders – A notable aspect of B2B transactions on Shopify is its reliance on draft orders, especially for transactions that aren't card-based. Draft orders allow businesses to set up orders that can be later converted to active ones, but this could add an additional step in the transaction process.
Lack of preordering – Unlike Centra, Shopify's B2B platform does not natively support preordering (it does support reorders though). This can limit businesses that rely on forecasting demand or launching products before they are readily available.
Lack of collaborative ordering – For businesses that operate with multiple stakeholders influencing purchase decisions, Shopify lacks a collaborative ordering feature, potentially causing inefficiencies or communication gaps.
Lack of price negotiation options – In the traditional B2B landscape, price negotiations play a pivotal role. Shopify's B2B platform does not have a built-in mechanism for this, potentially making bulk order discounts or customized pricing discussions more manual.
Lack of “save collection” feature – B2B clients often revisit specific collections or products. Unlike Centra, Shopify does not allow these customers to save collections for later, which can lengthen the reordering process.
Delivery windows and size localization – Centra provides more advanced order and inventory management capabilities versus Shopify Plus. A key example is Centra's delivery window functionality which enables linking incoming supplier deliveries to stock levels for more accurate visibility.
Size variants localization – Centra enables creating size variants with localization - so sizes like S, M, L can be translated and adjusted for different markets. Shopify Plus requires creating each size as a separate product variant, which is less flexible. Centra reduces overhead by consolidating sizes into a single product.
No hidden costs – While Shopify Plus offers a wide range of features, many advanced capabilities require installing paid third-party apps and plugins. The fees for these add-ons can quickly scale based on order volumes and other factors. So while Shopify Plus may offer the ability to achieve complex functions, the overall solution cost can grow substantially. Centra includes more robust order, inventory, and supplier management functions as native features of the platform. This reduces potential for hidden costs down the line if business needs change or scale.
There is healthy competition between the different options, although one hasn’t emerged as the end-all, be-all solution. There are a few key things to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform for wholesale:
What kind of products do you sell? Are they physical goods, digital products or a mix of both? Are you selling complex fashion products?
Who will be buying your products? Do you have B2B or B2C customers, or both?
How much can you afford to spend on an ecommerce platform? For a detailed breakdown of TCO across the leading ecommerce platforms, go to another post on our blog.
To determine which is right for them, brands and their showrooms should review the main players and choose one and invest in building it out with visual and informational content, diverting the money they spent setting up appealing physical showrooms.
A fashion label must consider which platform will be simplest and most intuitive for its main retailers, and what will best fit the category or product – whether for a collection of showroom brands or a single brand.
Centra sets itself apart from rivals by concentrating exclusively on fashion ecommerce, including both B2C and wholesale modules on one platform – and robust support for omnichannel. Coupled with the platform's top-notch customer service, performance, and scalability, Centra presents a powerful option for fashion companies looking to rapidly expand their business with a quick time to market.
Global fashion brands choose Centra as the only platform that fully understands the needs and complex business logic of fashion commerce.
Join the vanguard of original brands that have grown fast and conquered new markets without limitations. Trust Centra’s impressive portfolio of brands like Nudie Jeans, Holzweiler, Sandqvist, Eton and Ideal of Sweden – some of whom have been on the platform from the very beginning.