Creating Condition-specific Sub-Stores for your Website, made Easy?

Sub-stores of a Store

Managing an online store is no longer the same. With so many big players with deep pockets, the ecommerce is witnessing a virtual war to win over the customers. From simple stores to complex ecommerce setups like online marketplaces and multi-store ecommerce, business owners are trying every trick of the trade to win over their customers.

After all, nothing works for your business like a happy customer, Right?

But how can you make your customer feel special and unique?

Almost every other online store is using the same survival trick, deep discounts and competitive marketing to create a brand value for their store. But is that enough?

How long can you keep on the Discount game? Is it all that the tech-savvy buyers demand?

NO!

The new generation of online shoppers is looking for something else. They desire personalization, value-added services, unlimited choices and the best experience.

Hence, the Multi-store ecommerce has a definite edge when it comes to giving a better and more personalized offering to your clients. It means you are creating a network of stores that offer distinct services to your customer based on their preference, choice or location.

But how does a multi-store architecture helps your online business?

A multi-store ecommerce solution provides a wholesome platform for Enterprise-level firms to reach out to their earmarked segment and close more deals through, targeting. The business growth achieved because of it is the result of all the advantages of a multi-store platform.

The Architecture and flow involved…..

Multi-Store ecommerce is a mixed store system, which involves centralized stores and decentralized stores operating under the same brand. Under this system, sub-stores are set up in different classifications according to the needs of the brand. Sub-stores are maintained individually while the central store acts as a unified platform. Such Sub-stores are managed and controlled by the central store itself or various admins can also be assigned to individual substore. Inventory is managed centrally but assigned to each sub store based on the specific setup of the sub-store

The multi-store model helps you to capitalise on having multiple stores under your brand’s control, thus giving it greater distinctness, higher traffic and conversions. To put it, you have not one but numerous ecommerce enterprises all advertising your brand and giving you a better online presence.

Having a Multi-store ecommerce website can make your brand name very alluring and can open the gates to many opportunities.

Some advantages of having sub-stores are as follows.

Large ecommerce websites with multiple sections can be difficult to navigate, and the majority of customers aren’t there to browse. They know exactly what they want and would prefer to find the right product page as quickly as possible. Businesses often classify product categories into smaller, more specific stores. It helps the buyers rush the shopping process by visiting a store that only sells the types of products for which they’re looking.

Publishing products across multiple stores can make shopping easier for customers if they can check all those products in a single cart. The use of one single cart for all of the sub-stores makes mobile shopping even more convenient. Mobile shoppers can place orders with the single tap of a button because of this. This reduces the cart abandonment in multi-store ecommerce.

Many ecommerce platforms allow seamless integrations with tools like CRM systems or ERPs to achieve a constant stream of consumer data to a company’s sales, Marketing and customer service units. It provides up-to-date reports for all existing accounts, including any problems or disputes that may arise. No data or entry is ever neglected or skipped over due to data errors, missing information or poor communication between departments.

As mentioned in the last point, integrating tools like CRM/ERP into multi-store ecommerce delivers customer information to business owners in an efficient way. It becomes possible to track the activities of new and existing customers, the performance of various promotions, what strategies work best for conversion etc. Using this information, marketing teams can then connect to buyers with personalized discounts, promotions or referral offers. Customers get rewarded for their loyalty, and businesses enjoy increased ROI from marketing campaigns.

Multi-store ecommerce platforms can also be used to create stores focussing on specific regions rather than customer groups. A store may be built to cater to a particular geographical location or to reach out to the global market. With features like Multilingual and Multi-currency, businesses can quickly bring their products to an international audience. Regional stores create a personal association between the brand and global customers.

How to build a Multiple Stores for Your Online Business?

Many ecommerce platforms in the market provide multi-store ecommerce functionality to enable businesses to focus on their consumer base. There are 2 ways these platforms help you achieve a successful multi-store model.

  1. They have native multi-store set up to get you started.
  2. They support third-party integrations that enable the multi-store feature in your online store.

Glancing on the surface, the difference between these 2 methods wouldn’t seem like a big deal.

Don’t think that it doesn’t matter whether the multi-store feature is native or not.

Because it does!!!

If the ecommerce platform that you are using has integrated multi-store support, it’s well and good, but if it depends on plugins and apps to do so, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Using apps and plugins (like in Shopify and Shopify Plus) for a major feature like multi-store can add a lot of costs to your operations.
  • You need to do proper homework before choosing the right app, so it may take some time.
  • Using too many plugins can cause your website to slow down.
  • They may also cause unforeseen issues like compatibility problems, security issues, etc.

To give you an idea, the following is a brief example to summarize what is the difference between using platforms with multi-store integrated and platforms using plugins for the same.

Let’s take the case of creating a location-based sub-store in Shopify (using Shopify Apps), and compare it with StoreHippo (integrated multi-store feature) for doing the same.

How would creating a location-based sub-store in Shopify and Shopify plus would look like?

Now everyone knows about the main original Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify plans. If you are looking to create location-based multi-store in original Shopify platform, then you have the provision of adding multiple locations of your extending stores. The number of locations differs with the plan you choose.

The maximum number of locations that you can have depending on your Shopify plan:

  • Shopify Lite — 3
  • Basic Shopify — 4
  • Shopify — 5
  • Advanced Shopify — 8
  • Shopify Plus — 20 (Contact Plus Support if you need more than 20 locations.)

That’s the easy part. It’s available right there in the ‘Settings’ with your subscription. All you can do here is manage inventory and track them to their specific locations. That’s the surface-level multi-store management you get without using any plugin or developing your own.

What if you want to more? What if you want your substores to have specific differentiation? You need plugins like Shopify apps and ERP integrations. Even in Shopify Plus, you have to think of several workarounds to set up a proper multi-store operation. These workarounds can be tricky.

  • For starters, your store needs to be established and already have suitable ERP integrations for lower overhead costs. o take an example, several users, who house base product information in their ERP (for example title, SKU, MPN, core categories, etc.). It means that actual products are created in the ERP and assigning of said products to stores is handled outside of the platform. It’s helpful but there’s more to it.
  • You also need a good PIM (Product Information Manager) to manage all of your product data at different levels within the PIM and then feed it into the relevant store. You can also use syncing apps to sync up product data across various stores.
  • Another workaround can be using scripts to roll changes applied to one store out to others. But that would involve getting your hands into coding using Ruby and it might be too difficult for non-tech users.

Using these workarounds may involve overheads like maintaining ERPs and Shopify apps, integrations, managing promotions, merchandising at the store level, business intelligence tools, shipping rules, tax set-up, etc.

So after taking care of all these elements, only then you can run a successful international multi-store business on Shopify or Shopify Plus. Too complicated, right?

Now let’s take a look at StoreHippo where the ‘Multi-Store’ feature is native.

What it takes to create a location-based sub-store in StoreHippo would look like?

Well, it’s easier than the mess that you have to endure in Shopify or Shopify Plus. StoreHippo provides native ‘Multi-Store’ support with additional integrated ‘Store Variants’ settings. So if you are trying to create location-based sub store in StoreHippo, all you have to do is map products to sub-store, customise ‘Store Variants’ settings to make the sub-store available to a particular location of your choice.

These stores can be managed at one simple admin panel. Other than location-based settings, there are a plethora of services that are available right at your admin without any third party app or ERP involvement. Some additional native multi-store services provided in StoreHippo are-

  • Store-specific product management.
  • Store-specific pricing.
  • Store-specific discounts.
  • Store-specific currency and language settings.
  • Store-specific payment gateways.
  • Store-specific delivery partners.
  • Store-specific design themes.
  • Creating sub-store Groups.

There is also no limit in the number of sub stores you can create. You also have the option of using unlimited admins in your sub-stores. There is absolutely no need of any external app or ERP integration to get all this done. Even data once entered at a field gets updated and synced automatically across all sub-stores. Not even the best free Shopify apps can give you the seamlessness that you experience here.

Conclusion

So you can easily see the difference in experience while achieving the objective using both platforms. Depending on plugins and external integrations can get confusing and tedious. On the contrary, using a platform which acts as a turnkey solution to your requirements, can be beneficial and productive.

Do your research, spend time on these platforms so that you can experience the difference yourself. Sign up for their trial versions, create your own demo store. Find out yourself.

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Abhishek Aggarwal

He is an ecommerce expert with 7+ years of experience.With hands-on experience of handling B2B and B2C ecommerce projects