Home Virto Commerce blog Multi-Store Ecommerce Platform Explained — Definition, Examples, Pros&Cons
Multi-Store Ecommerce Platform Explained — Definition, Examples, Pros&Cons

Multi-Store Ecommerce Platform Explained — Definition, Examples, Pros&Cons

Selling online is thrilling, but how about growing bigger? Every business wants it! In reality, scaling can be challenging. And one of the first challenges you encounter is engaging new audiences. You need to open new stores (or websites) to attract new clients, just like in a brick-and-mortar eCommerce. A multi-store ecommerce can help you put it all together and make the scaling easier. In this blog, we’ve gathered some knowledge on what ecommerce multi-store websites are and how you can build your first multi-storefront website. 

What Is a Multi-Store Ecommerce

As the new stores appear, you have more things to control and manage. Building them on separate eCommerce platforms means, basically, running three separate eCommerce projects. You need to find a way of linking them all to the same management systems (warehouse, accounting, etc.) and catalogs and track every little change to keep them consistent. Missing any detail may lead to mistakes, revenue loss, and loyalty issues. Could be great to run all your web stores as one.

A multi-store eCommerce offers to create all your storefronts on the same eCommerce platform. This means your buyers get separate web stores, while you can control everything via one admin server. It is cheaper, easier, and gives you more flexibility in further scaling.

The difference between the standard e commerce platform and a multi-store ecommerce platform

Multi-store eCommerce platform and stores based on different platforms

Multi-store eCommerce platforms offer more than just the creation of Multiple Storefronts for different brands. With such eCommerce solutions like Virto, you can build localized stores for various regions and even create multi-vendor marketplaces. Moreover, Virto Commerce uses atomic design when building multiple store websites, which allows you to upgrade any part of your store seamlessly.

What Are Multiple Storefronts?

The key point of a multi-store ecommerce project is to attract more buyers (either from new territories or for the new brands). This means just creating separate websites is not enough. To make your sales work, each web store should look like a separate unique storefront. Multiple storefronts allow you to reach essential eCommerce goals:

  • Personalize your sales deeply to attract and retain buyers.
  • Comply with specific laws and regulations.
  • Localize all your customer experience correctly: use correct language, currency, and cultural peculiarities. 

Ecommerce Multi-Store Examples

Making personal storefronts for each customer segment makes the client experience deeper, enhances your sales, and lets you grow faster. Multiple retail companies use personalization to reach their sales goals. Here are two examples of how the biggest eCommerce players use this instrument for their sales.

Nestlé eCommerce websites

Nestlé doesn’t only use multi-store opportunities to offer different brands like Nescafé and Nespresso to different audiences. They also use different storefronts for each country they are present in. 

How Nestlé uses multi-store eCommerce for different regions

How Nestlé uses multi-store eCommerce for various regions

L’Oréal multiple storefronts

L’Oréal, in turn, uses the same eCommerce platform to build separate brands and offer their resellers an opportunity to create a new website on the same platform for more consistency, easier warehouse management, and fast analytics. 

How L’Oréal uses multi-store eCommerce for different brands

How L’Oréal uses multi-store eCommerce for different brands 

Multi-Store Ecommerce Features and Benefits

When used, the multi-store e-commerce platform can provide different sets of benefits to different parts of the “selling” process. We can name some of these segments:

  • Clients 
  • Store owners 
  • Companies and their stores 
  • Distributors 
  • Franchises 
  • Administrative staff. 

Let’s look at all of these segments closer.


Here’s what your clients will get once you start your multi-store eCommerce campaign:

  • Simple and convenient ordering across different vendors and suppliers – thanks to a variety of features like quick orders, punch cards, re-ordering, ordering several units at once, and so on. 
  • Automatic catalog filtering to order specific company-approved items from specific brands. 
  • Client-branding for high-priority high-profile customers.

Store owners

Store owners have some reasons to launch their multiple storefronts:

  • Support for both B2B and B2C. 
  • SEO customization that allows selecting preferred meta description and/or keywords for multiple store websites. 
  • Complete access to all kinds of customer data, including registration date, order history, wish lists, and more. 
  • Custom product configuration and navigation, including page templates for more effortless product organization in catalogs. 
  • Various useful features coming from integration between a B2C or B2B marketplace and other software, including ERP, CRM, and numerous custom modules. 
  • Ability to provide sellers with stores within your own store (Amazon  does this!). They can have their own catalog content, prices, and other characteristics, and their positive aspects would also be reflected in you as a store owner. 
  • Government regulation compliance when it comes to client payment data storage (PCI DSS). 
  • Customized Multi-Storefront shopping carts and proprietary checkout procedures.

Multiple stores shopping cart

The key benefit of a multi-storefront shopping cart for store owners is that they can manage all stores at once from the central working place.

For clients, it’s an opportunity to log in to all your Stores with the same credentials and keep what they have in one shopping cart for multiple sites. All this is possible due to a single database linked to every storefront.

For clients, it’s an opportunity to log in to all your Stores with the same credentials and keep what they have in one shopping cart for multiple sites. All this is possible due to a single database linked to every storefront.

Administrative staff

Other staff also benefit from multi-storefront integrations: 

  • Each store can be customized 
  • Expansion up to the global level due to the extended scalability 
  • Providing better customer support, especially when it comes to support-heavy operations 
  • General maintenance streamlining to help with the management 
  • Using the same product in several different stores 

Of course, there are more parts of the process, and these are just a fraction of the benefits that you get after choosing to use a multi-store e-commerce platform. Using the right ecommerce solution out of many B2B commerce platforms allows your clients, suppliers, and other business associates to get numerous benefits like branding, information tracking, and improving your customer experience in general – and all of that within a single database, filled with orders and customer information. On the other hand, both distributors and franchises get extended control capabilities, like approving both prices and products on different levels. 

Multi-Store Ecommerce Сons

Running multiple storefronts on the same platform is great, but you still can have some challenges to resolve. Here they are, and some ideas on how to win through them easier:

  • Extension issues. Your storefronts are not the same, so upgrading one of them, you should consider others, as they might not support new capabilities. But if you choose an API-native platform that uses an atomic web design, you have nothing to worry about. For example, Virto allows upgrading all your Storefronts seamlessly, step by step, as every part of your eCommerce works like a separate module. 
  • SEO issues. As most of the businesses running multiple storefronts sell same-category products, it becomes challenging to draw SEO traffic for all of your websites the same efficiently. Some platforms offer additional SEO features that allow to differentiate your stores and optimize them for search engines. 
  • Challenging payment structure. Building a multi-regional eCommerce store, you have to pay great attention to currency use, accounting, and local tax laws and regulations. To avoid any issues, find a trusted local solution that can integrate with the system or request your eCommerce platform vendor to build the specific payment module. 
  • Customer data transfer. To ensure you handle data correctly, find detailed info on which data management regulations are applicable for the chosen region.

Ecommerce Multistore Security 

Most multi-store eCommerce developers pay much attention to safety as such stores deal with a huge amount of data, handle many orders simultaneously, and run the payments. Multi-store e-commerce platforms themselves have numerous features and services targeting security enhancement, amongst all things. They offer PCI Compliance, privacy features, data encryption, and more.

Typically, multi-store e-commerce means inevitable data sharing between stores. The fact that there are data constantly moving between stores means those have to be well protected. This also includes the ability of the system as a whole to acquire payments through several different payment gateways supported on the system level. The system’s specific design, in general, allows easier access to the content from any device.

These are the risks to address working on your eCommerce project safety:

  • Cyber attacks 
  • Payment safety 
  • Fake store clones and Phishing

Here’s what you can do:

  • Encrypt your data 
  • Ensure no fake websites exist, and let buyers know about possible threats 
  • Teach all departments about fishing and how to protect from cyber attacks 
  • Ensure your SSL certificate is up-to-date

Multi-store eCommerce integrations 

Almost always, multi-store eCommerce solutions integrate with third-party solutions the owner already has, like CRMs, ERPs, and more. That is why both seamless integration and advanced marketplace software are the key points of multi-store e-commerce in general.

Usually, the vendor connects existing databases and resources to the new system via API. When any other third-party solution is needed, API allows upgrading the system with no interruption.

Typical software multi-store ecommerce solutions integrate with

Ecommerce software general integration options

Choosing a multistore eCommerce solution 

Choosing the right developer or vendor would allow you to fully embrace all of the benefits of multi-store e-commerce as a trend. By creating and managing multiple stores within one trustworthy platform, like Virto eCommerce, you can deliver your customers the best experience possible at each of your stores — all of that goes a long way in making your multi-store e-commerce as successful as possible.

Here are some ideas on how to ensure the solution and vendor fit you:

  1. Analyze your budget. Ask a vendor if the multi-shop solution is delivered OOTB or if you need to purchase every module. 
  2. Ensure the platform is built on open-source code. This will allow you to manage all the upgrades and changes easier. 
  3. Brainstorm the features you are going to need, and ask a vendor if all of these features can be added. Check if they can be integrated separately in case you need them later. 
  4. If you need to build several brand web stores, create a plan on their storefronts and ask your vendor about SEO opportunities. If this is going to be a multi-regional project, ensure the solution can be localized and supports the currencies you need. 
  5. Request a demo and see the platform with your own eyes: the solution should be easy to manage but functional and stable.

Multi-Store eCommerce vendors

The most popular companies ready to offer you an OOTB multi-store eCommerce solution:

  • Virto Commerce. An open-code API-native platform that supports eCommerce systems of any level: from startups to enterprises. 
  • Bigcommerce. A cloud-based eCommerce solution for retailers. 
  • Magento. PHP-based development platform for eCommerce businesses. 
  • Shopify. An affordable solution for beginners. 
  • StoreHippo. A SaaS-based solution for eCommerce

How Virto Commerce Can Help You to Create Multi-Store Solutions

Virto Commerce storefront example

Virto Commerce storefront

Virto Commerce multi-store eCommerce platform is the perfect candidate to consider as a vendor for building multiple eCommerce storefronts or marketplaces. Here is what Virto offers to eCommerce businesses that aim to scale:

  • Online marketplaces tailored to meet the requirements of a particular market. 
  • Easy management of all catalogs, checkouts, and orders of the system. 
  • API integrations and smart search engines. 
  • Specific scenarios for pricing and marketing to get deeper personalization and more.

Here is what our clients say about us: 

Here at Bosch Thermotechnik, we were looking for a 100% customizable .NET platform with superior support options. We had an objective of launching a marketplace that will function smoothly in 25 countries. Eventually, by choosing Virto Commerce we successfully launched the website, our clientele has become more engaged, and we have increased the turnover.

See our other success stories or reach out to our team for a personal demo or a deeper consultation. 

Schedule a quick demo

Mary Gabrielyan
Mary Gabrielyan
Mary is an B2B marketer and ecommerce enthusiast with more than a decade of experience in media and marketing. She loves covering B2B marketing, user journey , and B2B customer experience related topics.
Jan 31 • 10 min
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