Multi-Site Shopping Carts and the Supply Chain

Multi-site shopping carts allow product retailers to create multiple web sites for multiple customer segments using one database and one code base. Once the first web site is built, and the product master records are inserted into the database, creating additional e-commerce web sites is a snap.

The ability to easily and efficiently create multiple web sites from a single database and a single code base is a boon for product retailers. Product retailers can now easily create additional web sites catering to new customer segments, offering content and services specific to the segment, removing extraneous information that is of little or no value to the segment.

(please read the featured article Micro-Retailing and Multi-Site Shopping Carts for more detail about multi-site retailing and customer segmentation)

Maintaining multiple web sites, however, can have an impact on the supply chain. For instance, many shopping carts are integrated with a back end inventory / warehousing system. As customer orders are approved the orders flow to the back end system(s). For a company that operates multiple shopping carts this can spell trouble. If a company operates three shopping carts, and each shopping cart possesses its own database and its own code base, then there are three integration points to the back end system(s). That's three integration points to maintain, fix, and upgrade.

A better scenario is three shopping carts and one integration point. If the shopping carts leverage the same database and the same code base, then the back end system(s) all integrate with the shared code base (or with the shared database). Bug fixes, maintenance, and upgrade costs are cut by two-thirds. The system is easier to operate, bug fixes and upgrades happen faster, and there are fewer points of failure.

The NextLevelShopper Multi-Site Shopping Cart supports an unlimited number of web sites using a single code base and a single database. This means that product retailers can cheaply and efficiently add web sites with just marginal increases in web site administration costs. New web sites share the business data already created for the first web site, so data administration costs are kept to a minimum. Also, new web sites share the same code base, so system administration costs are kept to a minimum. Finally, because all web sites share the same database and code base, there is only one point of integration with the back end system(s).

The NextLevelShopper Multi-Site Shopping Cart retains the simplicity of single point integration, but allows retailers to create and maintain a (theoretically) unlimited number of shopping carts. The supply chain is therefore not further complicated, and for many companies, simplified.

If you'd like to learn more about how micro-sites, micro-retailing, and multi-site retailing can help your business, we would love to hear from you. Please fill out this contact form and the owner and lead developer of NextLevelObjects will contact you ASAP.

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