Retail vs wholesale orders

Conventionally, retail orders are those sold directly to an end customer while wholesale orders are sold to another business for reselling.

In Brightpearl, the difference between the two kinds of orders is in the way they are processed.

Retail orders

Features of retail orders

  1. Sold directly to the customer
    Retail orders (business-to-customer or B2C orders) are orders sold directly to an end customer. They are not intended to be resold.
  2. Sales channels include manual sales, in person and eCommerce sales, including online marketplaces
    Retail orders can be placed in a variety of different ways. Typically they will be placed on eCommerce channels (both online stores and online marketplaces), a POS till, or over the phone.
  3. A high volume of sales, with low quantities of items per sale
    Retail sales will be more numerous than wholesale sales, but will contain fewer items in fewer quantities.
  4. Typically paid upfront (or prior to dispatch)
    Retail sales will typically be paid before the items are dispatched, either at the point of sale or shortly before dispatch.
  5. Items sold at a higher price than wholesale orders
    The price of items on retail sales tend to be higher than on wholesale orders for the same products, as wholesalers tend to get a volume discount.

Typical workflow for retail orders

  1. The customer is created (if not a repeat customer)
    Before the order can be created, a customer record must exist for the order. Retail orders are more likely to be placed by new customers, so a customer record will have to be created.
    If the order is placed on an eCommerce channel, the customer will be created automatically. POS orders will generally be placed against an anonymous customer record. Orders placed over the telephone or via email will need a customer record to be created manually.
  2. The order is created
    Once the customer exists, the order can be created, including all items and shipping.
    eCommerce and POS orders will be created automatically, while orders placed through other channels will need to be created manually.
  3. Payment is taken
    Payment is normally taken at the point the order is placed, or before the items are dispatched. For manual orders, this may need to be done using Brightpearl Payments, or outside of Brightpearl through another payment gateway and the order marked as paid afterwards.
  4. The order is fulfilled, packed and shipped
    Once the order is paid it is normally fulfilled, and the goods note is processed through to completion.
  5. The order is invoiced
    Finally, once the order is paid and shipped, it can be invoiced.
    This is normally done as an end of day process or using the Automation app.
    Invoicing is necessary in order to post the correct accounting for the order.


A quick demo demonstrating how a telephone order for a retail customer may be processed. An order will be created then fulfilled, before the warehouse picks, packs and ships it. Finally it will be invoiced.

Wholesale orders

Features of wholesale orders

  1. Sold to another business (a distributor or reseller) to be resold again
    Retail orders (business-to-business or B2B orders) are orders sold to another business with the intention to be resold.
  2. Sales channels are often manual or through online stores, but not marketplaces
    Wholesale orders are typically placed manually, through email order forms or on the phone, or through a business's website. There are wholesale online marketplaces, but these are less common.
  3. A low volume of sales, but with a high quantity of items per sale
    Wholesale orders are less numerous than retail sales, but each sale will contain much higher quantities than a typical retail order.
  4. Credit terms are typically offered, and items will be paid for after being dispatched
    Orders are usually not paid upfront. Several orders may be placed and paid for all together.
  5. Items offered at a lower price than retail orders
    Due to the quantities involved, items on wholesale orders may be priced lower per item than they would be on a retail order. There are often minimum order quantities to make use of those discounts.

Typical workflow for wholesale orders

  1. The customer is located in the system (if not a new customer)
    Before the order can be created, a customer record must exist for the order. Wholesale orders orders are more likely to be placed by existing customers (though of course new customers will need a customer record). 
  2. A quote is created and sent to customer
    Wholesale customers will often ask for a quote to be sent, especially if the order is not a repeat order. Learn more about quotes here.
  3. The quote is approved
    Once the quote has been approved by the customer, it can be locked in Brightpearl so no further edits can be made. Processing of the order can now begin.
  4. The order is fulfilled, packed and shipped
    Wholesale orders are normally fulfilled first. The goods note is processed through to completion.
  5. The order is invoiced with credit terms
    Once the order has been shipped, it is then invoiced, and the invoice is sent to the customer. The customer will have credit terms indicating when payment is due.
  6. Allocate payment once the order is paid
    When payment comes in, allocate the payment to the order, either directly on the order or using the payment allocation screen (if multiple orders for the same customer are being paid at once).


A quick demo looking at a wholesale customer and creating an order for them. The order is fulfilled, shipped and invoiced, then payment is recorded against two open invoices.

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