My family has been operating a wholesale manufacturing business for the past few years, and has been in the retail space even longer doing stuff like Etsy as an ecommerce outlet for small quantities.

Whenever we receive a wholesale order, we’ve always taken it by hand or by email from a sales rep of wherever we wholesale to. I have been wanting to look into getting a website created that would allow our wholesale customers to be able to place and pay for their order online, alleviating the need for us to have to handwrite/note down orders over the phone or transcribe them from an email that’s not following a standard format; as well as not have to chase down accounts for payments being sent out late.

It would be convenient to be able to offer retail and wholesale on the same website, and simply separate their pricing by giving wholesale accounts special permissions to view their exclusive wholesale price. I can imagine that this is a more advanced feature, and would be fine not having this and instead only offering wholesale for the time being.

I’ve heard mixed things about using Shopify vs WooCommerce, and was wondering if people had any insight to sway me one way or the other, or towards another platform I may not know about. From my understanding, Shopify is typically easier to set up earlier on, simpler to host the website, but also a fair bit more expensive than WooCommerce. WooCommerce on the other hand looks to be more difficult for a beginner to setup, has much more flexibility with a larger selection of free and paid plugins, and slightly more tedious to get a good webhost set up on.

Any advice or tips on the matter would be greatly appreciated, as well as any links to plugins you may know of that would be useful on a given platform.

Thank you all in advance!

TL;DR: Existing wholesale manufacturing business wants to offer an ecommerce platform to take wholesale orders, what platforms and/or plugins are recommended?