What is a multi-store e-commerce platform?

Updated: February 20, 2020 | Ilse Lauwens, Marketing Director

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 greatly improve overall shopping experience.Typically such platforms have something in common - like a similar theme or a similar target audience - but it’s 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.
Using multi-store e-commerce nowadays is practically recommended for your B2B marketing purposes, since typically everyone wants a single convenient place to buy several products at once - sometimes even disregarding the manufacturing origins of those products.
Features
Multi-store e-commerce platform, when used, is able to 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 easier product organization in catalogues
  • Various useful features coming from an integration between 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 be also reflected on you as a store owner
  • Customized shopping carts and proprietary checkout procedures for the purpose of differentiating 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 management
  • Using the same product in several different stores
Of course, there’s 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 is within a single database, filled with orders and customer information. On the other hand, both distributors and franchises get an 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 is some data constantly moving between stores means it has 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, and the specific design of the system in general to allow easier access to the content from any device.
Integration
Managing a 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’s 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 a good 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 the multi-store e-commerce as a trend. Creating and managing multiple stores within one platform, delivering 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.

Multi-store ecommerce case studies from Virto Commerce

  • Retail equipment
    Objective: B2C/B2B Online Store
    Providing maximum scalability and centralizationfor expanding business internationally.
  • B2B Gifts
    Objective: Platform
    Consolidate various system using single platform to manage gift certificates for largest companies in the world. Provides both B2C and B2B solutions.
  • Retail lighting
    Objective: B2C Online Store
    Create value through growth in profits by expanding the existing stores.
  • Retail blinds
    Objective: B2C/B2B Online Store
    Flexible solution with maximum customization for the online window-treatment website.