Mary Yasensky Delivery Manager

    Multistore Ecommerce: Software Platforms, Challenges, Custom Approach

    Multistore Ecommerce platforms are software solutions designed to facilitate the creation and management of multiple storefronts and store views, all from a single codebase and administrative interface.

    This approach can open up new opportunities, enabling businesses to penetrate different regions with customized localizations, experiment with pricing structures, or introduce sub-brands aimed at distinct market segments and customer demographics. 

    However, navigating this model isn’t without its complications. In this article, we’ll explore:

    • The obstacles encountered by multistore proprietors and strategies to overcome them
    • A review of the 3 most popular multistore out-of-the box platforms available
    • Essential features to look for when selecting a multistore platform
    • When a custom development makes sense over ready-made solution

    Challenges and solutions of multistore Ecommerce platforms

    Without the appropriate multistore Ecommerce platform, maintaining several online storefronts can swiftly morph into a daunting juggling act. Let’s delve into some of the principal hurdles you might encounter, and explore how the correct approach can help mitigate these challenges.

    Multistore challenges to look out for

    Operating multiple online stores comes with a unique set of challenges: be it managing inventory across different databases, setting up analytics correctly, or developing and maintaining multiple storefronts:

    1. Inventory management: improper inventory management across multiple storefronts may drain resources and result in human errors, which impacts customer experience. 
    1. Data analysis and reporting: every storefront requires a separate instance of analytics software. Without a well-organized system, the data may become disorganized and difficult to read, and may not be used to the full extent.
    1. High development costs: creating and maintaining separate database instances for each online store is complex, expensive and results in repeating data unless properly managed and monitored.
    1. Slower expansion: supporting multiple currencies and languages requires additional human resources. This increases operational costs and, potentially, slows down business growth.

    Solving the challenges for multiple store owners

    By selecting a platform explicitly built for multi-store Ecommerce companies, you can solve these challenges. Here’s how:

    1. Centralized inventory management: a single admin panel allows to easily manage stock across all stores, eliminating stockouts and errors.
    1. Integrated analytics and reporting: provides a unified view of data from all stores, aiding in informed decision-making.
    1. Unified backend: significantly reduces development costs associated with managing separate backends for each store.
    1.  Multi-Currency and multi-language support: helps to expand business reach and cater to international customers with support for multiple currencies and languages.

    Popular multistore solutions on the market

    You can create a multistore solution using popular Ecommerce platforms. Here are 3 popular ones, which account for over 24% of the software platforms market share in this vertical:

    Commerce GPT

    Salesforce Commerce Cloud

    Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a cloud-based, unified commerce solution designed for B2C and B2B companies. With features like storefront association and Experience Cloud sites, it allows to manage inventory across multiple websites and control buyer access to certain stores.

    • Price: on request
    • Who is it for: medium to large Ecommerce companies

    Shopify Plus

    Shopify Plus is a fully hosted, cloud-based Ecommerce platform aimed at high volume merchants and large businesses. With over 6.5 million customers, Shopify is one of the largest Ecommerce platforms out there. To manage multiple storefronts, it provides a headless commerce service that can efficiently feed data to any number of frontends. However, keep in mind that their setup will likely require developer involvement. 

    • Price: on request 
    • Who is it for: medium to large Ecommerce companies


    Squarespace is an all-in-one platform primarily known for its website builder and modern templates. It’s a good fit for small businesses or startups, especially because it’s affordable and design-oriented. But, its Ecommerce capabilities, while decent, are not as advanced as those offered by Salesforce and Shopify Plus. It loses in conversion optimization features, bulk inventory management and indeed, doesn’t handle multiple storefronts quite as well.

    • Price: from $23/mo
    • Who is it for: small Ecommerce companies and startups

    Advantages of custom development 

    While today’s out-of-the-box solutions offer robust features for multi-store owners, no platform will perfectly fit your business needs, as they’re not designed specifically for your operations. This could result in having to navigate certain limitations, and if a vital feature is absent, adding it could be impossible or highly costly.

    This is not the case when you opt for custom development. This approach lets you plan ahead, research unique challenges and create a product tailored to your specifications.

    While custom development requires a higher initial investment, it can be more cost-effective in the long run.

    custom development

    Consider the case where a client asked us to develop a car service marketplace catering to three types of audiences, encompassing both B2B and B2C.

    We quickly recognized that the app would necessitate an array of features. 

    Corporate clients

    Our strategy, built around extensive market research and early-stage customer development, helped us pinpoint key features upfront. For instance, we discovered that corporate managers valued the ability to register corporate clients and control their access to service centers.

    To assist them in their tasks, we designed a feature similar to a built-in CRM, and it was well-received. 

    Looking to create a custom multistore platform?

    Consider partnering with Surf for your development needs. We are committed to turning your vision into reality while optimizing expenses, courtesy of our agile methodology, high level of development transparency, and streamlined process.

    Let’s design and code your multistore platform together!

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