What is Multi-Site / Multi-Store Retailing?


Multi-site and multi-store are synonymous terms

Multi-Site Retailing Multi-Site Retailing is when a merchant operates multiple web stores using one database and one code base. The code base is typically a content management system, or for a shopping cart, an e-commerce engine.

There are several benefits to an e-commerce engine that allows businesses to simultaneously operate multiple web stores. In a nutshell it comes down to higher revenues and lower costs.

In a multi-store retailing environment, the retailer has only one database and only one code base to maintain, regardless of how many web sites they're operating. Even for companies that host shopping carts, this brings down the cost of maintenance. In traditional environments, multiple web sites mean multiple copies of databases and multiple copies of executable code. Having to maintain these duplicate copies with bug fixes, patches, and enhancements is an inconvenience. The far bigger problem is maintaining duplicate business data. Vendor, customer, product, warehouse, shipping, accounting, and other data have to be maintained for each web site. Making simple changes to a product record becomes a hassle, requiring the development and implementation of new business processes to insure database accuracy across web sites. Inevitably, training and administrative costs go up while system accuracy and customer service goes down.

On the revenue side, multi-site retailing allows merchants to create specialized web sites that meet the specific needs of a customer segment. Using a multi-site e-commerce engine, a merchant can develop web sites tailored to particular customer demographics, different customer interests, different product lines, or even different technologies (a web site for hand held devices versus a web site for large LCD's). Product, vendor, and customer information is shared in one database across all web sites, making maintenance a snap. The merchandiser can now spend more time on their customers and less time on web site administration.

NextLevelObjects believes that web sites will become more specialized over time. Specialization is a by-product of a merchandiser's desire to connect with their customers. As specialization occurs, it will be important to keep costs in check. NextLevelShopper solves this problem by allowing merchants to create a (theoretically) unlimited number of web sites while maintaining one code base and one database.