A whopping 80% of eCommerce companies saw their revenue grow after implementing personalization. But personalizing the shopping experience for multiple markets or segments can be complex. Fortunately, modern multi-store eCommerce software is making this once-difficult undertaking significantly easier.
With multi-store eCommerce, you can quickly build multiple shops targeting a specific market or audience, all powered by a single back end. It’s fundamental for internationalization and other growth initiatives while increasing your profitability – and it's easier than ever.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can benefit from multi-store eCommerce and how you can create and implement it in your business strategy.
What Are the Benefits of Multi-Site eCommerce?
At its core, multi-store eCommerce means that you have multiple shops that are all powered by one centralized database. Multi-store lets you sell B2C, and B2B, internationally for different target audiences with various storefronts and a streamlined workflow. That can help your business grow and prosper in the ever-changing landscape of online commerce while leveraging your resources more efficiently.
But why should you use multiple shops?
As any marketer will tell you, segmentation is key. Multi-store eCommerce takes segmentation directly to your online shops. Businesses are seeing the advantages of creating websites that cater to each of their target groups. For example, a clothing manufacturer could create a menswear shop that is branded and explicitly marketed for men and a women’s store that targets women. Or even a unisex shop as unisex products are more often part of fashion collections. Another example: A multi-brand business showcases its single brands with a dedicated D2C approach in addition to offering a holistic shopping platform.
Targeted websites can make it easier for customers to find what they want while also allowing you to create targeted campaigns, pricing structures, and increasing brand loyalty for multiple markets.
Launch new countries
Multiple websites can also help you expand your business to different markets. Selling your products directly in dedicated country shops will give your customers a better experience – which leads to better sales for you. In addition, you can take advantage of more efficient and automated workflows because you can access all your products through one global, centralized data pool.
One of the most basic yet important customer expectations you should consider is making your target audience feel at home. Offering preferred payment methods like invoice or cash on delivery, country-specific shipping options, local-language content and customer service will gain your audience's trust. Providing them with an experience they know and feel comfortable with will positively impact your conversion. Tailored multi-shop management will empower you to be on par with local competitors, offering localized experiences your customers will love. You’ll only be able to reach the full potential of your internationalization with consistent localization.
Why Use Multi-Site Commerce?
Without multi-site commerce, the effort required to run multiple webshops would be immense. You would need to configure each shop individually and maintain separate databases with product descriptions, pricing, product images, merchants, inventory, and more. Tracking all your inventory across shops and making your stock available globally for all your sales points is hardly possible. On top of that, you would have separate reports for each website, making it difficult to get a comprehensive view of your KPIs.
With a multi-store system, you can manage the various shops and your product database from a single back end. That makes it easier to scale and organize individual shops by distributing tasks and responsibilities. Ready for more exciting features?
Quickly adjust your assortment, sorting logic, and pricing model for different regions or shops, and accelerate market launches and internationalization.
Create bonuses and promotions for specific shops or regions based on culturally important dates or holidays.
Set product data quality rules you can apply to all shops and decrease the workload of handling data quality manually for each shop separately.
Customize product information for different target groups and markets, or choose universal settings for all of your shops.
Customize configurations for different front ends or devices.
Share category trees for your multiple shops, or individualize them.
Provide your customers with universal user accounts across shops if needed.
Have different company IDs in the background if legal requirements make it necessary.
Leverage your tracking across all shops, whether for inventory, sales, or campaigns.
With the right multi-site software, you can even use different warehouses or merchants for different countries, which can make your logistics far less complex.
Multi-site management also saves development costs. Because everything is managed from one central platform, you can rapidly create new shops without the need of additional developer efforts. Some commerce platforms even offer copy and customize options – there is simply no easier or faster way to create multiple websites.
Furthermore, once integrated into the platform, you can use third-party tools for all your shops. You can also easily experiment with different setups – when you add new functionalities or make changes to your shops.
How to Implement Multi-Site Management
So, now that you know why multi-store is a good idea, let’s talk about how to take the plunge and implement multi-store eCommerce for your business. Here is how to get started in four steps.
#1 Understand the Technical Requirements
The first step is to consider how your website will be structured, how shops will share data, and how to set up shop-specific configurations. Some shop systems will require the effort to develop and add each shop separately. But there are also vendors offering built-in multi-shop management ready to use and enabling creating new shops flexibly with a click. Ask yourself what you need: a unique solution that only makes sense for your case or a solution that empowers you to customize the market default with minimal effort.
#2 Develop a Master Inventory Database
This is the core of your multi-store eCommerce platform. All your product data should be centralized and shared across your different shops for easy management and lean processes. You will need to decide how you want to manage this data and which information needs to be included. It’s not necessary to develop your own system just because your products have many variants or because you want to include additional information, e.g., material composition or sustainability certification. A flexible, easily adaptable PIM will allow you to add and remove product criteria, define quality guidelines for them, and integrate them in automatic workflows.
In a best-case scenario, you can then use smart filter logic to create assortments for any of your shops by simply applying some simple rules, e.g., including certain brands, product families, or removing other items that don’t match the brand’s regional strategy.
#3 Plan Your Storefronts
Before you build a dedicated shop for a region or target group, you’ll need to do market research. Your UX should be targeted and relevant to each store, creating a tailored experience that resonates with your target audience.
Don’t forget: Develop a go-to-market strategy for each new market and also adjust your SEO approach according to the new structure. SEO for each shop should be approached differently. You will need to localize content, target different keywords, and optimize your website for each shop. Some shop systems already offer built-in translation capabilities to accelerate the localization process needed for each of your international shops.
#4 Monitor and Evaluate Results
Finally, it's crucial to monitor the performance of your multi-store eCommerce platform and make changes as needed. You’ll need a platform that enables easy onboarding of comprehensive reporting tools, so you can evaluate your sales, conversion rates, traffic levels, and customer satisfaction across all shops and channels.
The Challenges of Multi-Site Implementation and How to Overcome Them
Multi-store eCommerce can be a complex undertaking, but the rewards are significant. Let’s talk about some challenges you may face during implementation and how to overcome them.
Lack of Resources
One of the most obvious hurdles you might encounter as you grow your business into a multi-store brand is scarce resources. We are not just talking about money here, but time and manpower as well.
Providing the developer resources you need to effectively scale a multi-shop system could easily become your biggest challenge. Many cloud-native solutions already offer extended support, e.g., for maintenance, further developments of core systems, and monitoring. That by itself will already allow you to shift resources to where they are needed to distinguish yourself from the competition, for instance, with unique front ends.
Furthermore, empowering shop managers and other roles to single-handedly set up and adjust shops if needed, will further speed up your processes and ensure that your new shops are not just another liability. Help your shop management team to proactively create efficient processes for easy assortment selection, quick product data refinement, and consistent data quality – in any language. Ready to use multi-shop features will help you achieve that.
Complex Product Data Management
As the number of stores and products grows, daily tasks can become complex unless your platform offers automated workflows. Having flexibly configurable product data helps you to speed up your management processes, as it becomes easier to update all your products simultaneously.
Look for a PIM system that lets you:
Manage different types of product data flexibly.
Run individual and bulk updates alike.
Create customized reports.
Create rules for automated product allocation or accelerated product refinement and task management.
Your day-to-day eCommerce tasks rely on a range of systems working seamlessly together, and the keyword here is “composability”. A composable eCommerce platform will let you easily customize the tools that power your business, from your CMS to your ERP software and POS system.
With multi-store eCommerce, you only need to configure the back-end integrations once, and the systems will work with all your different storefronts and channels if needed.
Finding the best marketing channels for each shop can be a complex task. Nonetheless, it is an important investment in the future of your business.
Make sure that your multi-store eCommerce platform enables a data-driven approach you need to make the best decisions for your business.
Look for flexible tool onboarding for:
Omnichannel marketing and insights
A multi-site eCommerce platform can help you take your business to the next level. It allows you to expand your reach, better manage your resources, and improve your business’ overall performance. By helping you to coordinate your business across different countries and target audiences using a single back end, multi-store software makes the once daunting task of internationalization far more manageable.