Micro-Retailing and Multi-Site, Multi-Store Shopping Carts


Multi-site and multi-store are synonymous terms

Micro-retailing is all about creating web sites that serve specific customer segments. Marketing professionals have known for years that the better you know the needs, preferences, and nuances of a particular customer segment, the better you can communicate with them. Speaking the language of the customer builds confidence, credibility, and trust, which leads to sales.

The internet creates a powerful medium for communicating with a customer segment. If you understand the needs, preferences, and nuances of a segment, it is very easy to communicate with them. Initial investment costs are low and the content can be changed frequently, even whimsically.

The problem for retailers is that retailers sell products. For every product a retailer sells they must maintain a photograph, a product name, a product description, category information, brand information, pricing information, and various other pieces of data. This information typically resides in a product master record. The product master record typically resides in a table that, in turn, resides in a database.

The problem with products is:
  • Changing product data is anything but whimsical. It has to be done carefully, by someone who knows what they're doing. Done incorrectly and products end up with wrong prices, are put in the wrong categories, and are associated with the wrong photographs. This creates havoc for the business and its customers.
  • Now multiply the above problem by 100, or a 1000, or by 10,000, because that's how many products reside in a database.
While other businesses have the luxury of changing internet content on a dime, the product retailer has no such luxury. Changing product data is an important and time consuming process, even when you're talking about just a few products.

So, can multi-site / multi-store shopping carts help the product retailer? Can multi-site shopping carts allow the retailer to support multiple web sites and therefore multiple customer segments? The answer is yes, if the shopping cart allows the retailer to create new web sites without having to duplicate their product master records. Better still is the shopping cart that doesn't require the retailer to duplicate the shopping cart engine for every new web site.

The reality is very few shopping carts do this. NextLevelObjects, on the other hand, offers a shopping cart that does do this.

A shopping cart engine that allows a retailer to create multiple web sites without ever duplicating product, customer, order, or any other business data is a powerful tool for the retailer. Why? Because the retailer can create multiple web sites, catering to multiple customer segments, quickly and easily. Each web site shares the same product and business data. There is no increase in data maintenance costs. There is no increase in system administration costs. The only cost is the cost of designing the new web site, and that cost is usually nominal.

Multi-site (or multi-store) retailing might be called 'micro-retailing'. Micro means small. The question is what 'small' refers to. Should the web site be small? Perhaps. More importantly, it's the customer segment that should be small. Micro-retailing puts the emphasis on the customer segment, not on the web site. By putting the emphasis on the customer segment, we create a web site that caters exclusively to a customer segment. The customer segment leads, the web site follows.

Once a product retailer is free to create multiple web sites, all kinds of opportunities open up. The most obvious of which is to create new web sites that cater to important customer segments.

Product retailers can now write content that unabashedly targets a specific type of consumer. Link headings can be fearlessly written to not only entice customers, but also search engines. Paragraphs can be laser-beam targeted, leaving no doubt as to how a particular type of consumer can benefit from a product.

Search engines will love the site. There will be few other sites that can offer the depth and specificity of content for a particular keyword(s). Product Retailers creating customer specific micro-sites (again, 'micro' focusing on the customer segment) will find their rankings going up on the search engine results page. More links will come to the site because the site has depth and authority.

Not only will the site get more visitors, but conversion rates will increase. Why? Because the site targets a very specific population, and that population comes for a purpose. When they arrive at the site they'll find exactly what they're looking for. Content is crisp, clear, easy to find, and written in a language that can't be misunderstood.

Product retailers who create micro-sites will find it easier to use web optimization tools (optimization tools allow site owners to experiment with different designs and different content to see what creates the highest conversion rates). Optimization experiments can be based on a particular customer segment, vastly reducing the number of experiments that yield a positive result.

If you'd like to learn more about how multi-site retailing, micro-sites and micro-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 call you ASAP.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.