The economics of multi-site shopping carts (cont.)

In the last post I discussed how on-line shopping carts make it difficult for internet retailers to service multiple customer segments.  The problem with today’s shopping carts is that they force the internet retailer to create a new product master file for every new web site/shopping cart they create.  In this post I’m going to discuss how internet retailers can get around this problem.

As discussed earlier, the economics of the web make it easy to create customized web sites for niche market segments.  Disk space, bandwidth, and processing speed are abundant.  Furthermore, web site templates, including shopping cart templates, can be acquired relatively inexpensively.  The real problem is the architecture of the shopping cart engine.  It is the architecture of the engine that limits internet retailers to only one shopping cart web site per product master file.

A new type of shopping cart engine is beginning to hit the scene.  This engine contains the architecture that allows internet retailers to support multiple shopping cart websites using just one product master file.  This architecture is new and is only beginning to be tested.  However, for those internet retailers that are willing to be on the front line, multi-site shopping carts are an efficient and economical way to support multiple customer segments.

Highly specialized web sites are sometimes referred to as ’micro sites’.  Micro sites cater to small niche market segments.  Multi-site multi-store shopping carts allow internet retailers to create a theoretically unlimited number of micro-sites using one shopping cart engine, one database, and one product master file.

For internet retailers this changes the economics of operating many shopping cart driven web sites.  With the advent of multi-site shopping carts the biggest obstacle to servicing multiple customer segments over the internet is removed.  Internet retailers can now add additional shopping cart web sites at nominal marginal costs thereby economically servicing all their important customer segments.

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