How to Successfully Manage Multiple Stores on Shopify
December 18, 2019
Large ecommerce brands often have more than one website in order to cater to different markets. Running multiple websites and managing product data and inventory across all of them can become complicated — quickly.
In this guide, we’re going to show you how to manage multiple Shopify stores and provide you with the tools to make your multi-store setup easy to handle.
Why You Should Consider Building Multiple Shopify Stores
There are a number of reasons why ecommerce businesses should consider building and running multiple Shopify stores. Here are three scenarios where having multiple stores would be beneficial:
1. You're Selling Internationally
If you’re looking to expand your ecommerce business to sell internationally, you’ll need to take into account how shopping habits, attitudes, needs and problems differ among consumers from different countries.
By having a separate Shopify store for each country, you'll make it easier to optimize your website and offering for each specific audience. You’ll also be able to display each website in your target market’s native language, as well as show your product prices in your customers’ native currency.
2. You're Targeting Different Customer Segments
If you sell a varied assortment of products in your Shopify store, you may want to create multiple stores to cater to each of your customer segments more effectively. For example, a clothing brand that sells both men’s and women’s clothing might want to create separate stores for men and women.
3. You're Creating an Outlet
You might want to offer a deep discount on some of your inventory in order to get rid of stock. Instead of launching the discount on your main website — and potentially risking devaluing your brand in the eyes of your main target audience —you can create a separate outlet store where you sell your products at deeply discounted prices.
Plenty of clothing and footwear brands have outlet stores, including Tommy Hilfiger, J.Crew and Reebok. Retailers like Nordstrom also take advantage of outlet stores to cater to the price-sensitive segment of their audience.
Common Challenges With Managing Multiple Shopify Stores
While running multiple Shopify stores for your business has its benefits, it also comes with a number of challenges:
Adding new products to your catalog: If you only sell a few different products, managing your product catalog isn’t difficult. However, if you regularly add new products to your catalog (e.g., at monthly or quarterly intervals), it can become challenging to do so over a number of different stores.
Managing inventory: Perhaps the biggest issue most businesses with multiple stores run into is managing inventory accurately and effectively. This is especially true if all the inventory is stored in the same warehouse.
Processing orders: Orders for each website need to be processed separately. This can get extremely complicated when it comes to fulfillment and return processing.
Systems integration: Integrating the other systems you use (such as an ERP or POS) becomes increasingly difficult with each new store you create.
Best Practices for Managing Multiple Shopify Stores
Managing multiple stores can be difficult. However, it isn’t impossible.
Here's what you should keep in mind when dealing with multiple stores.
Optimize Each Store Individually
If you’re using multiple stores to target different international markets or sell to different customer segments, you’ll need to optimize each store individually to make its content and offers relevant to the intended audience.
This might involve targeting local keywords, promoting country-specific offers and deals, using a different site design or URL structure, and creating locally relevant content for your website visitors.
Implement Real-Time Inventory Updates
If you want to manage your inventory accurately across multiple stores, you should consider implementing real-time inventory updates. This will prevent overselling and a number of other fulfillment nightmares that can make you lose money, ruin your brand’s reputation and create angry customers.
A real-time inventory management system can help improve your customers’ shopping experience significantly by ensuring you always have enough product in stock. You'll want to centralize your inventory management so you’re able to keep track of your inventory regardless of which store sells a particular product.
Centralize Your Order Management
Keeping track of all the orders that come through your stores can be difficult. This is where a centralized order management system can help.
By centralizing your order management, you’ll have an easier time fulfilling and keeping track of orders and returns.
Here’s what you should look for in an order management system:
Inventory syncing in regular intervals
Automation rules for distributing inventory across different stores and sales channels
Order aggregation and distribution to fulfillment nodes
Order fulfillment from one or multiple nodes and syncing to the main source
Use a Product Information Management (PIM) system
If you have multiple Shopify stores, there’s a good chance your product information is structured differently in each of them.
Product information management can become very difficult and time-consuming for businesses that run multiple stores. This can result in messy and inaccurate data.
A product information management (PIM) system can help you avoid this by centralizing all your product data. This, in turn, enables you to standardize all your data, clean it and keep it up to date on all your stores.
A PIM system tracks all the information that’s managed by your business and distributes it across all your channels effectively, ultimately resulting in unified information that’s updated in real time.
Create a Unified Customer Support System
Keeping track of customer support tickets across multiple stores can be very complicated. This is especially true if you need to localize your customer support to cater to international customers.
A unified customer support system allows you to keep all your customer queries and order information in one central inbox from which your customer support team can deal with all the issues quickly and effectively.
Implementing such a system will help you avoid confusion among your customer support team members and result in an improved customer experience, which, in turn, will lead to increased customer retention.
Best Shopify Apps for Managing Multiple Stores
These six Shopify apps can help you manage multiple stores.
nChannel is a cloud-based software that allows you to integrate all your systems, including ERP, POS and 3PL. It completely eliminates manual data entry and enables you to increase operational efficiency by preventing data errors and reducing the time it takes to process data.
nChannel can help ecommerce businesses automate order fulfillment, product catalog management, inventory synchronization and supply chain management. The software can scale to handle large volumes of data and adapt easily to the requirements of enterprise ecommerce businesses.
nChannel also offers 24/7 customer support, which can assist you with any issues you encounter while using the software.
2. Stitch Labs
Stitch Labs is a multi-channel operations management solution for retail brands. It provides ecommerce businesses with centralized, real-time insight into their inventory, an order management system and accurate inventory financials.
The software integrates seamlessly with a number of best-in-class tools, ensuring that you’ll have everything you need to manage and grow your business. It plays along nicely with marketplace solutions, POS systems, accounting software, 3PLs, warehouse management systems, and shipping and fulfillment solutions.
Stitch Labs also offers hands-on consultative services and provides access to exclusive events.
Veeqo is an omnichannel retail platform that helps ecommerce businesses handle multichannel inventory, manage orders and take care of shipping. It provides brands with a centralized view of all their orders across sales channels, and enables them to automate their shipping processes and analyze their business performance with ease.
The software integrates with a large number of marketplaces, shipping solutions, 3PLs, POS systems, accounting and helpdesk solutions, as well as marketing tools.
Veeqo’s pricing starts at $195/month.
Skubana is a software solution that allows you to unify your operations by connecting and importing orders from all your sales channels, as well as synchronizing inventory across stores, warehouses, 3PLs and distribution centers. It enables you to automate rate-shopping, order splitting and routing, and stock reordering, thus helping you prevent overselling, unhappy customers and market suspension.
Skubana can help you uncover seasonal trends and create sales forecasts that will allow you to stay on top of inventory and ensure that you’ll have enough stock to meet demand. The software integrates with marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Walmart, as well as a number of shipping providers, including DHL, FedEx and UPS.
Skubana doesn't offer fixed pricing, but plans typically start around a few hundred dollars a month.
Rewind Backups is an app that helps you perform secure automated backups of your Shopify stores to ensure all your data is safe. It enables you to undo unwanted changes with ease and ensure peace of mind by letting you know your data is retrievable at any moment.
Performing backups manually can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if you run multiple stores. This is why an app like Rewind Backups is crucial for multi-store ecommerce businesses.
Rewind Backups can back up every type of data connected to your store, including products and product images; customers and inventory; orders and collections; pages, blogs and blog posts; themes and theme files; store policies; locations; shipping zones; menu navigation; saved searches; and gift cards.
With Rewind Backups, all data is encrypted and can be restored within minutes. You can also choose only to restore an individual item or a group of items.
The app offers a free seven-day trial, and a free plan for stores generating up to 20 orders/month. Paid plans start at $9/month.
Replay is a Shopify app that helps you easily create multiple stores by duplicating your existing store. It allows you to instantly copy products, collections, themes, pages and blogs, thus relieving you from having to perform time-consuming manual data imports and exports.
The app offers two different plans:
Pay-as-you-go: Instead of paying a monthly fee, Replay allows you to pay $0.10 for every item copied with a minimum of $0.50. This is very affordable if you need to do a one-time duplication of a store.
Unlimited: For those who need to copy data between stores regularly, there’s an unlimited plan that costs $59/month per store.
Build Shopify pages that convert.
Create professional-quality pages for your ecommerce store with a powerful drag and drop page builder for Shopify designed with ecommerce teams and agencies in mind.
Boris Mustapic is a writer and content marketing specialist with a decade of experience in the digital marketing industry. Having built his own successful ecommerce business, he likes to share his knowledge with ecommerce enthusiasts. Apart from writing about marketing and ecommerce, Boris also enjoys a good book and a glass of red wine.