What is a multi-store e-commerce platform?

A multi-store e-commerce platform allows you to easily control several different websites or brands, as well as create new specific sites and brands. More and more distributors and manufacturers prefer to provide their products at one singular place to improve overall shopping experience significantly.Typically such platforms have something in common – like a similar theme or a similar target audience – but it is not really a requirement, either. One extremely popular example of this is Amazon – they’re selling an incredibly wide variety of products across hundreds of different audience groups and industries. 

Nowadays using multi-store e-commerce platforms is practically recommended for your B2B marketing purposes, since everyone wants a single convenient place to buy several products at once – sometimes even disregarding the manufacturing origins of those products.

Updated: June 22, 2020 | Ilse Lauwens, Marketing Director 

Features

The multi-store e-commerce platform, when used, can provide different sets of benefits to different parts of the “selling” process as a whole, like clients, store owners, companies and their stores, distributors, franchises, or even administrative staff. As an example, here are the key benefits of multi-store e-commerce for clients, store owners and administrative staff:

Clients

  • Simple and convenient ordering across different vendors and suppliers – thanks to a variety of features like quick orders, punch card, re-ordering, ordering several units at once, and so on
  • Automatic catalog filtering to make sure that your staff only orders specific company-approved items from specific brands
  • Client-branding for stores with high-priority high-profile customers

Store owners

  • Support for both B2B and B2C
  • SEO customization to allow store owners to select preferred meta description and/or keywords
  • 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 marketplace and other software including ERP, CRM and numerous custom modules
  • Ability to provide sellers with stores within your own store, they can have their own catalog content, prices and other characteristics, and their positive aspects would also be reflected on you as a store owner
  • Customized shopping carts and proprietary checkout procedures to differentiate each of the stores
  • Government regulation compliance when it comes to clients’ payment data storage (PCI DSS)

Administrative staff

  • Custom themes for each store
  • 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 platform allows your clients, suppliers and other business associates to get numerous benefits like branding, information tracking, 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.

Security

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. That’s why multi-store e-commerce platforms have numerous features and services targeting security enhancement, amongst all things. 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 of the system in general allows easier access to the content from any device.

Integration

Managing good customer experience is one of the key points of stores in general, and most of the time, a single store would be able to do exactly that within his assortment of products. But when it comes to multi-store e-commerce platforms – the number of possible problems increases with the number of stores included. That is why both seamless integration and advanced marketplace software are the key points of multi-store e-commerce in general.

One interesting point about customer experience and integration is that a lot of times creating a variety of complex catalogs and offering a lot of products doesn’t just give you money – all those efforts are creating a customer experience that is more positive than before. Going just a bit further into creating better customer experience other than expanding customer’s choice of products may become an excellent SEO-positive content that’ll drive even more traffic to your specific store.

The choice

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 platform, 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.

We are a fast-growing business, so we need a platform that would not only allow us to expand but also keep up with the ever-growing needs and demands of our sales strategies. Virto Commerce definitely ticks those boxes being easily scalable and extremely flexible. By switching to this solution, we are adopting technologies that will allow us to add new channels easily and customize the product catalog for each of them while keeping track of the overall sales and assortment.