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Merchant Love 💙 How Nimbus Dental Launched B2B Autoship with Shopify

If you sell to wholesale customers, you’ve probably been told that B2B subscription orders aren’t possible on Shopify, and that the requirements for B2B are just too different to work with Autoship. You may have been told that you’re better off managing recurring B2B deliveries manually rather than spending a ridiculous amount of money to automate.

Nimbus Dental found a way to make it work with Shopify Plus, Riess Group, and the Autoship Cloud app powered by QPilot. This case study explains how Nimbus did it, and how you can too.

Nimbus Dental (https://nimbusdental.com) is the creator of the MICROFINE® toothbrush and floss that use a two-level bristle technology that gives you the “best brush you will ever use”.

Known by dentists and customers as the “Nimby Brush” Nimbus toothbrushes are sold and delivered all over the world.

When Nimbus was looking for a way to scale its growing B2B e-commerce sales, their team looked to Shopify to launch their new online store. However, a new store launch combined with subscriptions for B2B looked daunting because of the complexity of their requirements. They needed an online store and subscription solution that was flexible and could be implemented in a way that matched their business.

That’s why Nimbus ultimately chose Riess Group as their agency to launch their Shopify Store and to integrate with QPilot to launch their B2B Autoship Subscription program. QPilot is the most flexible subscription platform for D2C and B2B repeat deliveries and the platform that powers Autoship Cloud for Shopify and WooCommerce.

In this case study, we’ll examine a few of the most important requirements for B2B eCommerce and B2B Autoship Subscriptions. Then we’ll highlight the subscription experience Nimbus Dental enabled for their B2B Autoship customers, from working with Riess Group, Shopify Plus, and the Autoship Cloud’s hosted service, QPilot

Getting to Know B2B Sellers and B2B Autoship Subscription Needs

There is no denying that B2B buyers have different needs than typical D2C customers. There are differences in how they order, how those orders are transacted, and what B2B buyers expect as part of their purchase experience.

B2B orders involve relatively larger order quantities (relative to D2C orders) and rely on services that help them plan deliveries to businesses and wholesale customers who frequently repurchase similar products.

B2B Orders:

  • Include Large Item Quantities and are Large in Order Size (relative to D2C)
  • Use Business Shipping Rates and Commercial & Freight Shipping Methods for Deliveries
  • Are Ultimately Processed by an OMS or ERP System (even if the order originates in a Shopping Cart)

B2B Sellers require the ability to personalize transactions for each customer account and often rely on tools that help with sales enablement: building quotes, verifying the accuracy of orders, and communicating desired changes to upcoming purchases.

B2B Sales Enablement Includes Support For:

  • Customer Account Approval (B2B purchasers need to be registered + approved as customers, and are required to login into their account before making purchases from the online store)
  • Pricing Flexibility: Quantity-Based or Category-Based Pricing (Pricing Lists or Discounting Rules)
  • Order Approval / Order Review Processes (Orders must be approved prior to fulfillment)

B2B Online Stores must offer customization as well as multiple sales-enablement tools that integrate with other business systems.

B2B Online Stores Include Support For:

  • Flexible Pricing Models that can be customized for each Account, Product, and Order
  • Different Order Management Processes and Payment Models
  • Integrations with shipping solutions that can handle a variety of delivery methods depending on the size and destination of the order

For B2B Autoship or B2B Subscriptions, the customizations & processes that are implemented for the online store and other integrated systems to support flexible pricing, order processes, and business shipping methods must also be supported with recurring orders. While self-servicing changes to upcoming purchases is an important capability of B2B Autoship, it’s just as important that salespeople are equipped with tools to support their Autoship customers directly.

B2B Autoship Requires Flexibility:

  • Subscription orders must be able to be “Approved” when they renew before they can be fulfilled & shipped
  • Payment options may vary with some payments being charged to an approved account, credit card payments authorized prior to order fulfillment and then captured at the time of shipment, or orders being invoiced and paid at a later date (term payments).
  • Subscribers will need to be charged different pricing depending on different factors including their customer account, the quantity of each item purchased, and more.

Ultimately, a B2B Autoship program requires subscription management that is flexible & customizable, and able to be integrated with their Shopping Cart, Shipping Services, and OMS+ERP Systems to work successfully.

When implemented well, B2B Subscriptions deliver extremely high value to both the Seller and the Customer:

  • Planning inventory and procurement is more predictable
  • Customers get self-service tools to make changes to upcoming orders that require much less time to communicate & approve
  • Less time is needed to plan accurate deliveries, process orders, and receive payments from Autoship customers
  • Salespeople have a powerful recurring order channel with which to upsell & increase recurring order value and reward their loyal Autoship Subscribers.

Launching a B2B Storefront with Shopify Plus

Nimbus worked with Shopify Agency Riess Group to launch their online store with Shopify Plus. “Plus” is an enterprise upgrade to Shopify that unlocks more storefront functionality and options for customization than what the core Shopify plans offer.

Plus is also the version of Shopify that includes important B2B features like customizable product catalogs and pricing lists, quantity rules, vaulted payments, and payment terms. You can learn more about B2B features on Shopify here.

Without Shopify Plus, Nimbus would not have been able to use Shopify for their B2B Subscription portal. There are too many restrictions related to pricing and vaulting payments.

After launching their Shopify Storefront and leveraging the B2B features of Shopify Plus, Nimbus was able to set their sites on launching their B2B Autoship program so that their business purchases could be scheduled and automated with their Shopify store.

Launching a B2B Autoship Program with QPilot and Shopify Plus

Nimbus had several key requirements that were able to be met by QPilot, the hosted service and team powering Autoship Cloud:

  1. Subscription order management
    • QPilot is a complete platform that enables any order to be queued to process at a future date. QPilot is able to be integrated with Shopify via its Autoship Cloud app or via the QPilot API.
    • In Nimbus’s case, their Shopify Plus store needed to work with QPilot’s API so that Autoship Orders could be created as Draft Orders on Shopify that could then be reviewed & approved just like their existing B2B order management process.
  2. Payment flexibility and invoicing
    • QPilot is able to process subscription order payments via Shopify Subscriptions or by other integrations when Shopify Subscriptions are not required.
    • In Nimbus’s case, most Autoship Orders are invoiced to each B2B Customer’s account and not processed with a credit card or digital payment.
  3. Custom Subscriber portal experience in My Account
    • QPilot is a flexible platform and API that powers custom Subscriber portals & experiences.
    • Nimbus had a specific Subscriber portal experience in mind that offered the flexibility for B2B Autoship customers to make changes to upcoming orders, and also integrate with the custom B2B account and pricing logic that was set up in their Shopify Store.

Other important features of QPilot that Nimbus was able to use after its Autoship launch included:

  • Real-time inventory sync
  • SKU-level product forecasts to plan inventory and stay in stock for scheduled Autoship orders
  • Configurable subscription order processing rules to account for dispatch & fulfillment lead times
  • Real-time shipping rate automation to ensure changes to Autoship orders could update shipping & delivery costs
  • Automated customer notifications to alert Autoship customers of upcoming renewal orders
  • Klaviyo integration
  • Customer and Churn metrics to track the performance of new Autoship Customers and retention

The Implementation: Integrate the Shopify Plus Store Directly with QPilot

Ultimately, Nimbus integrated their Shopify Plus Store directly with QPilot to get the best of both worlds: Shopify’s B2B features for account management, pricing rules, order management, and payment terms along with QPilot’s flexible subscription order management platform.

These are some of the ways Nimbus has transformed how their customers can make B2B Autoship orders on repeat with QPilot:

Subscription order creation

Autoship Orders can be created by approved B2B customers via the online store during checkout, created from a previous order, or created by a Nimbus sales rep directly on QPilot for a new or existing B2B customer account.

Subscription order management & B2B Autoship customer portal

Each Autoship Order is able to be viewed and managed by Nimbus’s team via QPilot’s Merchant Center or by their B2B Customers when they login to their customer account on Nimbus’s Shopify Store.

Processing Autoship orders as Draft Orders on Shopify

When Autoship orders are processed, QPilot creates them as Draft Orders on their Shopify Store which can then be reviewed and approved for fulfillment.

Result: B2B Autoship That Creates Draft Orders on Shopify and a Subscriber Portal that Makes Autoship Orders Easy to Change

At the start of 2024, Nimbus was able to follow the launch of their Shopify B2B storefront with the launch of their B2B subscription channel.

Thanks to the combined expertise of Nimbus’s team, Riess Group, and QPilot, Nimbus was able to implement B2B pricing, payments, and order management as a Subscription program by integrating their Shopify Plus store directly with QPilot and developing a simple and flexible Subscriber Portal.

It’s super easy for subscribers to make changes to their upcoming Autoship orders via Nimbus’s online subscriber portal. However, Nimbus requires that all changes to upcoming orders be reviewed and approved, so Nimbus leveraged QPilot’s integration capabilities (including webhooks and event notification) to automatically message the subscriber’s sales rep after a change is made to an upcoming order. This way Nimbus can review the change to approve it or have the subscriber’s sales rep respond to them directly.


Looking to launch B2B Autoship for your Shopify Store?

Head over to our contact form and we’ll follow up to schedule a demo with you, or send us an email with your questions!


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