Multiple storefronts under a single brand identity
As the world becomes globalized and a majority of consumers turn online for their shopping, online merchants have no option but to expand. More often than not, this involves operating multiple storefronts under a single brand identity. The problem is, setting up and managing multiple storefronts presents its own set of challenges. For many online sellers, the idea can sound too daunting and overwhelming. Even so, the big question is, does it have to be intimidating? Definitely not! Do not allow the fear of the unknown prevent you from achieving your goals of expansion. This post outlines the best practices to consider and also the challenges you might encounter and how to overcome them.
The importance of a unified view/back end
1. Master Product information and Data in a PIM
There is a high likelihood that product indexing and information is structured in different ways across all of your stores and with no doubt this takes a lot of time and work. If not handled in the right way, product indexing can become a problem across all of your stores. Product information will end up being inaccurate and messy making it hard to leverage third-party applications in your advantage.
To avoid this, online sellers should master and centralize their product information and data. This way, it is easier to standardize and clean it in preparation to post it in your different online stores.
2. Update the Inventory in Real-time
Considering that your stores might be serving people in different geographical and time zones, it is important for inventory updates to be in real-time on every touch point. This comes in handy more so when selling the same products in different stores. With real-time inventory updates, your customer base gets notifications in respect to their time and it also prevents you from overselling or underselling a product.
The idealist way to achieve this is consolidating and centralizing how and where you manage your inventory. This makes it possible to keep track of the inventory regardless of what each store is selling and where the region it is serving. By doing so, you save yourself from having to explain to customers that you can’t ship them their order because an item is out stock.
Best Practices for Managing Multiple online stores
Though it might be tricky or trying managing multiple online stores under a single brand, the uncertainty associated with it should not stop your expansion efforts. These practices will put you in a better position to set up and manage your multi-store.
1. Centralize Order Management
Order management can be a big challenge when dealing with different stores representing the same brand. However, by centralizing orders it is easy to fulfill across all of your stores. To achieve, this, keep returns, fulfilments, customer care and drop shipping procedures consistent across each of your stores.
The idealist way is integrating order data using a centralized system which has the capacity to manage orders across all of your stores. A multichannel management platform will come in handy in your efforts to centralize and consolidate order management.
2. Optimize Each Site respectively
If your store deals with different products and targets different audiences, it is important for the product description, indexing, and store design to imbue and incorporate all those aspects and differences. Most importantly, use the language that your target consumers are using and by so doing, you will be able to identify the keywords they are using to look for products in your category. To achieve this,use A/B testing software to evaluate variations of design and copy to establish what converts and what doesn’t.
3. Consider using a Multichannel Management Software
If you look closely, most of the practices we have discussed above boils down to centralizing sales data may it be the inventory, your orders, customer data or your products. By centralizing this data, it becomes possible and easy to manage all of your stores using the same process.
Speaking of which, multichannel management systems like Omnichannel are precisely designed for merchants with multiple stores. And regardless of where the data is coming from or where it is going, such a platform manages its flow so that you gain full control of your stores. By implementing such a platform, it is possible to scale up your brand to multiple stores plus more sales channels including brick and mortar stores.
What to Do Next
Setting up and running multiple stores on e-commerce platforms like Shopify might be a daunting and intimidating endeavor but most people can do it. If done the right way, merchants can expand their businesses and open new ways to boost revenue. If you would like to take your plans further and dive into the realm of multiple stores under a single brand, consult professionals like Creative971 with the expertise and knowledge on integrating your online store with systems like Omnichannel, ERP or POS.
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At Creative971, we keep our Shopify knowledge and training up-to-date in order to offer our clients quick, beautiful and user-friendly e-commerce sites. To discover how optimized your Shopify store is, or to get started on a shiny new site today, get in touch.