Every business selling online needs to decide how many online stores it needs; the answer is not that straightforward.
There are multiple dimensions to consider.
Store per country A business can create a separate online store for each major country it operates in For example, the fashion brand – Esprit has separate stores for all major countries – Span, Germany, and the UK. Each store has a different content, assortment, and promotions. But it may not be cost-efficient to maintain a separate shop for smaller markets. So ESPRIT created a .eu site for smaller countries like Slovenia.
Stores & Brands
Having multiple brands adds another dimension to consider – implement a single online store for all brands or a different store per brand and maybe per country.
For example, Gap owns Gap, Old Navi, and Banana Republic brands and has implemented a single store for all of them.
While Inditex, which has eight commercial brands (Zara, Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home, and Uterqüe), went another way with their implementation and has created a separate online property per brand. On the other hand, the travel site Booking.com implemented the single-site approach, serving customers from any country and allowing them to select their language and currency.
Selling B2C & B2B
Now, let’s discuss multi-store setup options for companies that sell to other businesses and consumers. If business logic and brand positioning are very different, you must implement two different stores.
However, in some cases, it is possible to create one great site to fulfill both purposes. It might be challenging, but there are many advantages if you can make it work.
Separate store for a large customer
Some B2B merchants create a separate store for each large customer. For example, BuyITDirect is a company that sells electronics primarily to B2B customers. Besides the generic site, it created a dedicated website for several large clients – Hema and Netflix.
Stores for a Special Occasion
A business can create a store for a special occasion, for example, a Flash sale.