It's easy to imagine the benefits of having multiple ecommerce websites
- if one ecommerce website can drive a hundred sales a day, then a trio of ecommerce websites should theoretically be able to drive three
hundred sales, right?
However, setting up a multi-site ecommerce solution is both expensive and time-consuming, so before you get started, you need to be absolutely sure that it's the right choice for you. Here are a few different ways in which multiple ecommerce websites can benefit a business - do they apply to yours?
1. Target multiple audiences
Some products are suitable for many different audiences. There are lots of disparate groups who might be interested in purchasing drinking accessories, for example; you've got university students, hen parties, stag parties, nightclub/bar owners, and goodness knows who else. This is great news if you specialise in drinking accessories, because it means you've got loads of potential customers to sell to!
However, this can pose a problem when it comes to your ecommerce website. If you're simultaneously trying to market your business to all of the groups listed above (and probably several others besides), you won't look like a particularly appealing choice to any of them - instead, the hen parties will probably go to a website that deals specifically in hen party accessories, the bar owners will go to a trade website for industry professionals, and so forth.
Setting up multiple ecommerce websites is a fantastic way to tackle this problem. If you've got three completely separate websites stocking the same products, this allows you to target three completely separate audiences. You can make one pink and glamorous to appeal to the hen night market; the second can look slick and professional, so as to rope in the nightclub owners; and the third could be used to highlight your biggest discounts, which is sure to please those thirsty students!
Of course, that's not the only benefit to a multi-pronged approach...
2. Compete for different keywords
Search engine bots are a lot like the customers mentioned above: they'll be more interested in your website if it's specifically targeted at the market you're aiming to conquer. For example, that generic drinking accessories website of yours will probably never rank for terms like 'hen party shot glasses' or 'wholesale pint glasses', because these things form only a small part of your overall offering. Unless you're Amazon or someone similarly huge, you'll generally find it very difficult to compete for keywords that are only tangentially related to your business.
You'll find it a lot easier to rank for those keywords if you've got an entire website dedicated to each set; just as the hen party planners of the world are more likely to click on a website that's specifically designed for them, Google are far more likely to show your website to those party planners if you look like a hen party specialist.
3. Focus your product ranges
If you're one of those companies that sells all sorts of different products, squeezing your entire range onto a single website can be a serious headache. If you've got the budget, it may be much easier to spread your stock over several ecommerce websites rather than trying to cram it all into one place.
As a bonus, this will make it much easier to label each website when it comes to marketing yourself. If everything's neatly divided up, you'll be able to say...
"This one's a flooring website, and this one's a wallpaper website, and this one sells furniture!"
"This is a website that sells...um...stuff for decorating your home with."
Fewer product ranges per site equals stronger overall focus, and focus is key if you want to make a big impression on potential customers.
4. Multiply your social media reach
If you have several different ecommerce websites then you also have the ability to create several different brands, and this in turn gives you the scope to set up several different accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and the other big social platforms. The benefits of this are reasonably obvious: you can accrue multiple sets of followers from multiple demographics and interact with them in multiple different ways!
One of the best ways to make the most of having multiple brands on social media is to establish a distinctive voice for each one. For example, if one of your ecommerce websites sells gadgets and techy stuff, you can adopt a 'geeky' persona for that brand, weighing in on the latest tech news and pop culture gossip on Twitter whilst also sharing your own products. Then, if you're selling those same tech products in a slightly more professional capacity (e.g. to businesses) on a second ecommerce website, you can set up another Twitter account for that site and use a more formal tone to speak with your customers in the industry.
5. Make money via an affiliate system
If you want to get really ambitious, there's another fantastic way to profit via multiple ecommerce websites that we haven't yet touched on. We at Designer Websites have helped several clients to set up 'affiliate' systems - this means that we create a white label
ecommerce website for that customer, who then sells that website design to clients of their own. Each client (or 'affiliate') can brand and customise their own website in any way they please, but they're all selling the same products, and all of the affiliate sites are built upon the same original code.
Here's the upshot of all this: you can drive more sales for your business by allowing others to market and sell your goods via ecommerce websites of their own. Your affiliates will be happy because they're getting a cut of the money you make, and you'll be happy because your sales are going through the roof and other people are doing all the legwork for you!
If you have a large product range, multiple target audiences, and/or the desire to set up an affiliate marketing system, then a multi-site ecommerce solution may well be a great choice for your business. Click here to get a quote for your project, or visit our Multi-Site Ecommerce page for more information and some examples of our previous work in this area.