If you have a single store and are looking to expand, whether that means introducing new products and brands or reaching into unexplored locations, then you will likely come across the idea of multi-store ecommerce.
Multi-store ecommerce is a platform used to launch multiple web stores or store views to expand internationally, separate brands or participate in niche, multi-segment targeting. It can transform a business by providing a centralized database for all your ecommerce information, branding and marketing strategies.
However, before deciding on a multi-store platform or opening up multiple storefronts, you need to understand the benefits and downsides of multi-store ecommerce and why it could be just the thing your business needs.
Why Multi-Store Ecommerce?
For any business interested in long-term growth, the time will inevitably come when you find yourself maintaining multiple storefronts. This is a potentially overwhelming stage, with the complexities of store management, branding and disparate marketing strategies.
By using a multi-store ecommerce platform, you can take advantage of a system that simplifies much of the aforementioned complexities. With all the data you need into a single database of information, you can give your brand better visibility, traffic, SEO and ultimately, conversions.
Multi-Store Ecommerce Business and Customer Benefits
The benefits of multi-storefront ecommerce software are almost immediate and can benefit both your customers and your business. Some of the ecommerce features include:
Create storefronts for brands.
For larger companies that operate multiple brands, a multi-site approach can allow them to create separate stores around each individual brand — all through a single platform.
By doing so, they are able to leverage the individual successes and recognition tied to each brand while using a backend that is easily accessible and integrated.
Expand into international markets.
With multiple ecommerce stores, businesses can add and customize each to display unique content depending on the nation they’re located in, even if they use a single brand.
This content can range from adding different languages to relabeling currencies — providing a welcoming, localized touch and increasing the likelihood of international conversion.
Run niche ecommerce websites.
Through niche marketing, store owners can target unique markets that reside in a particular location, have a specific demographic or display an individual preference for the customer experience.
Instead of reprioritizing your entire store or brand to match, companies can add another storefront — easing the path and adding opportunity without extraneous costs.
Maintain all stores from a central database.
Perhaps the primary benefit of multi-storefront ecommerce is that it involves centralizing all of your stores from a single source.
Instead of having to oversee or handle all of your storefronts from separate, disparate solutions, through centralization, you can make changes, updates and add content to any of your stores without any integration hassles.
Manage multiple business models.
Businesses that operate multiple business models — whether B2B ecommerce or otherwise — typically have to manage different online stores for each client under a single admin, potentially leading to issues with integration or differences in pricing, availability and customer support.
With multi-storefront ecommerce, companies can integrate multiple, often quite different, business models through a single platform.
White label websites.
For businesses that participate in white labeling, a multiple storefront approach could be an easy fit.
Through this setup, manufacturers and distributors can use multiple stores to promote products under different names or labels.
Set unique pricing.
Setting unique pricing is another benefit of multi-store ecommerce sites that cater to businesses operating multiple business models.
Depending on the customer type, businesses can implement different pricing, payment gateway and unique inventory on each sub-store that they provide — all through a single solution.
Multi-Storefront Ecommerce Downsides to Consider
Creating, developing and maintaining multiple storefronts can be challenging for any business, as they must deal with various issues related to individual stores and the broader collective. Some of these issues include:
Lots of data to manage.
With multiple inventories, customer databases and ordering systems, the tasks involved in managing data can prove to be challenging for any business.
Even with the added functionality of a multi-store ecommerce platform, understanding all the data coming in can be confusing and, ultimately, time-consuming.
Requires a complex marketing strategy.
When operating multiple sites and storefronts, any broad marketing strategies will likely become complex to manage.
This is especially true for vendors using the same brand across different sites, who must maintain brand consistency across stores and portals, such as laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
Can need additional resources.
Businesses may have to devote a significant amount of resources to help prevent any issues, data backlogs and marketing mishaps.
However, for small companies, that may prove to be challenging in and of itself. Spreading resources across multiple stores can use valuable money, time and manpower.
How to Manage Multiple Stores From One Platform
Businesses should ensure that they treat the development and management of multiple stores as if each one was the only one they had in operation, providing them with the care and dedication needed. To formulate a strategy to accomplish this, some steps to consider include:
Utilize a PIM.
By establishing a production information management (PIM) system, your business can keep track of content and marketing tools across your stores in a simplified way.
A PIM can collect, manage and distribute product information across channels, from your ecommerce storefront to social sales channels, marketplaces and even advertising networks.
Optimize your content.
Businesses must ensure that their ecommerce content is optimized for multiple channels, ensuring that there is no duplicate content or inconsistent messaging.
By having a maintained style guide across your different stores, you can also make sure that your branding is maintained and that none of your information is competing against itself.
Implement a headless CMS.
Establishing a headless content management system (CMS) can ensure that your content will be consistent across all your storefronts and any devices used by potential customers.
A headless CMS makes life easier for businesses by letting them build separate frontends for each channel that displays content to enhance the user experience.
Centralize inventory and order management.
Through the use of a multi-store commerce platform, businesses can centralize both their inventory management and order management systems.
Using this system's full capabilities, you can house multiple sites and brands under a single platform, allowing you to view all information related to them in an individual interface.
Additionally, the platform can help ensure that all your orders are centralized, removing the hassle of individual work orders and fulfillment options.
BigCommerce’s Multi-Storefront Offering
With BigCommerce, managing multiple storefronts has never been easier. Seamlessly create unique storefronts for each facet of your business, all managed through one BigCommerce dashboard.
Our multi-storefront platform enables efficiency while reducing operational costs and complexities — helping you build an unbeatable experience for every customer.
Plans for Every Stage of Growth
Explore BigCommerce plans and pricing.
The Final Word
As your business grows and you gain control of additional stores, the added complexity could cause many potential headaches. There’s good news, however, as a multi-store ecommerce solution is designed with one primary focus in mind: simplify your life and centralize your data.
Through the use of this model, you can gain better growth opportunities and enhance your targeted marketing strategies, expand intentionally without much of the hassle and grow your brand into a cross-channel success story.