Agosh Baranwal | Jul 27, 2021 12:00:00 AM |

How to successfully start a Multi-store eCommerce platform?

Let’s start with the basics - a Multi-Store Ecommerce Platform is a chain of connected online stores for better and faster conversions based on the requirements of its owner(s). A multi-store is used to launch several eCommerce websites. This could be done for several reasons, for example, to provide brand separation, international expansion, or multi-segment targeting. This model allows purchasing a single license of eCommerce software and running one codebase while managing multiple stores in the same admin panel. 

A multi-store eCommerce platform allows you to create sub-stores within your store, all of which are controlled from a central dashboard. You can assign different products, slides, and banners to a particular sub-store using the same dashboard. This platform can be used for multiple practical cases, let’s check out some of them here:

  • Your customers can switch between the sub-stores to browse the different categories of products. 
  • Separate stores based on location - You can define one store for each of the cities, country or area that you are catering to. 
  • Separate sub-stores for different sellers/vendors selling on your website. 
  • Different sub-stores for different categories of products 
  • You can have separate sub-stores for kids, fashion and electronics categories.   


What are some features of a Multi-store?

Multi-store solution specifics reside in the implementation process and back-office admin experience to improve the cost-effectiveness and ease the management of several storefronts. As for digital storefront experience, it demands customer-centricity and reliance on eCommerce customer experience best practices.


Some notable features include:

  • Single admin, multiple storefronts
  • Unique storefront for diverse product lines
  • Centralized inventory and customer data
  • Higher ROI with targeted marketing


What are the requirements to set up a Multi-store platform?

It is implied that the potential of multi-stores are synonymous with their requirements, but we beg to differ. A one-time investment of time and efforts can never be compared with the results you reap and directly and indirectly. We have listed a few necessities to set up a multi-store, these are basic but important checkpoints to cover if you want to make your business successful:

  • Ecommerce software to support multiple storefronts
  • Multisite hosting
  • Multi-domain SSL certificate
  • Design templates to accommodate sub-store
  • Multi-currency and multi-language support
  • Branding flexibility for websites and stores
  • Role-based permissions for store-specific admin users
  • A halfling attribute or a sitemap for Google ranking of multiple localized versions of website pages

You can easily get the latter half of this list via an ecommerce service provider like Abicart


Marketing your multi-store platform

Branding a multi-store is not easy, but it definitely gets interesting considering how creative you can get with different opportunities in hand. You can always rely on rule-based product promotions. E-coupons come in very handy in such cases. One important thing to keep in mind would be smart customer segmentation and streamlining your marketing approach to narrow your target market. Remember to focus on multi-lingual content marketing if your stores are spread geographically. Upsell and cross-sell can come in handy if you can handle them well. Last but not least, email marketing is something that we strongly recommend to multi-store owners because of its potential and diversity of use.


How to ensure the success of your multi-store


Now, this is a tricky one. Success of any business primarily depends upon the value you are creating/ planning to create. You need to also ensure that you are fuelling your venture with the right tools to ensure its smooth operation. Here we have a list that you can use as your personal checklist. If your multi-store flaunts at least 8 out of these 10 points, you can expect good results:
  1. International payment gateways
  2. Custom shipping rules
  3. Support for different delivery scenarios: store-to-door or click-and-collect delivery, standard or express delivery
  4. Real-time tax and shipping calculation
  5. Multi-lingual customer support with proper staffing and an efficient customer support tool. 
  6. An internal knowledge base with accumulated and localized materials to facilitate onboarding of new agents, speed up case resolution.
  7. A publicly available multi-lingual knowledge base to provide proactive customer support.
  8. Customizable queue rules to route customers’ requests to agents based on the language.
  9. Separate Google Analytics accounts for each store view, as the national context affects digital user behavior.
  10. Design template modifications for country-specific stores to reflect cultural peculiarities and trends in design.

Parting Thoughts

The multi-store system works so that you have a top-level (think a warehouse for products, payment methods, delivery methods, customers, etc.) and then one or more sub-stores. The top-level is not shown to the customer, only the sub-stores are shown to the outside. 

You can set a sub-store to use all or parts of the range. The same applies to payment methods and delivery methods. Sub-stores can choose to use all or some. You choose this freely in each sub-store.

A multi-store system is built for a company that will have several stores. This can be confused with having several companies with different stores for each company - this is not an ideal case to use multi-store systems. We hope this guide will help you in starting your Multi-store platform. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. If you need help with how to start a multi-store easily with Abicart, checkout this link below.

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Headings: Tips, How to start