Running multiple online stores can be daunting. Simple tasks like order and inventory management can quickly become overwhelming when you're working with different platforms and integrations.
But here's the good news: multi-store ecommerce platforms like Magento and WooCommerce can help you operate multiple stores without juggling different platforms and tools.
Curious to learn how? Read the rest of our guide to find out.
We'll explain everything you need to know about multi-store ecommerce platforms, including what makes a good multi-store platform and the top five platforms on the market. We'll also share a step-wise process for choosing a multi-store platform so you can pick the best one.
If you're in a rush, here are the top five multi-store ecommerce platforms:
- WooCommerce — best for small businesses.
- Magento — best for small, medium, and large businesses with extensive catalogs.
- Shopify Plus — best for direct-to-consumer brands.
- BigCommerce — best for omnichannel businesses.
- OpenCart — best for small businesses that run affiliate programs.
Keep reading to learn why we chose them and if they're a good fit for your business.
Get ready to grow your business with the best multi-store ecommerce platforms
Multi-store ecommerce platforms give you complete control over your storefronts, inventory, orders, and customer data — all from one convenient place. That's important when your business grows, and you need to serve more customers across different locations.
Before we talk about the top five multi-store ecommerce platforms, let's explore the factors that contribute to a good multi-store platform.
What makes a good multi-store ecommerce platform?
The best multi-store ecommerce platforms typically provide features like inventory management, integrated payment gateways, and built-in marketing tools. Here are 10 features to consider in a multi-store ecommerce platform:
- User-friendly interface: Intuitive front and back end interfaces streamline store management and provide customers with a pleasant buying experience.
- Inventory management tools: Inventory management tools simplify tracking stock levels, updating product information, and handling order fulfillment.
- Performance: Fast and reliable performance ensures your online stores load quickly and can handle traffic surges without slowing down or crashing.
- Customizability: Design and functionality customization tools help you personalize the online shopping experience.
- Payment gateway integrations: Integrated payment gateways provide customers with a secure checkout experience.
- Capacity to scale: Scalability is vital for handling increasing products, customers, and transactions without sacrificing performance.
- Marketing, promotions, and SEO features: Newsletter support, product page metadata customization, and discounts are crucial for driving traffic and increasing revenue.
- Internationalization features: Multilingual and multi-currency support are necessary for localizing the shopping experience for your international customers.
- Integration capabilities: Integrations with third-party services and tools can help streamline your operations.
- Security measures: Security features like two-factor authentication and user role management protect your online store and customer data from unwanted access.
The 5 best multi-store ecommerce platforms
Now that you understand how to choose a multi-store ecommerce platform, let's explore the top five options on the market and the reasons to choose them.
WooCommerce is an open-source solution that allows you to set up multiple stores with WordPress. You can build stores with independent catalogs using WooCommerce and WordPress Multisite or use a third-party plugin to create multiple stores with a shared catalog.
WooCommerce is highly extensible and lets you customize every part of your online store using plugins. It also supports multiple currencies, languages, and payment options by default, making it one of the best free multi-store ecommerce platforms on the market.
Best multi-store ecommerce platform for: Small businesses that need a cost-effective ecommerce solution and those with existing WordPress websites.
Key WooCommerce features for multi-store ecommerce:
- Intuitive user interface.
- Internationalization support.
- Flexible shipping and tax configuration.
- 140 region-specific payment gateways.
- Massive ecosystem of themes and plugins.
WooCommerce price: Free to download and use. Managed WooCommerce hosting plans start from $15.83 per month when paid annually.
Magento is an open source ecommerce platform that supports multiple websites and store views by default. It empowers you to streamline your operations by managing inventory, customers, and order fulfillment from a single database.
Magento is the perfect solution for building multi-store websites because it is highly scalable and customizable. Whether you're selling a few hundred products or tens of thousands, Magento will provide your customers with a fast and responsive shopping experience.
Best multi-store ecommerce platform for: Small, medium, and large businesses with extensive catalogs and advanced customization needs.
Key Magento features for multi-store ecommerce:
- Multi-source inventory management.
- Multi-currency and multilingual support.
- Powerful marketing and promotional tools.
- Multiple payment and shipping options.
- Customizable modular architecture with robust API support.
Magento price: Magento Open Source is free to download and use. Managed Magento hosting plans start from $62 per month before discounts.
3. Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus is an excellent multi-store ecommerce solution for building multiple sites without worrying about hosting, security, and performance. It's incredibly user-friendly and allows you to manage up to nine free stores besides your main store.
Based on your contract, Shopify also lets you buy additional stores for $250 per month per store or a revenue share across all stores. But the best part is that Shopify Plus supports unlimited stores under a single brand, allowing you to add multiple stores effortlessly.
Best multi-store ecommerce platform for: Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that need a user-friendly and scalable ecommerce platform.
Key Shopify Plus features for multi-store ecommerce:
- Supports unlimited stores.
- Integrates with major ERP, CRM, and third-party applications.
- B2B ecommerce and wholesale channel access.
- Fully customizable checkout.
- 24/7 priority support.
Shopify Plus price: Shopify Plus pricing starts from $2,000 per month and is calculated based on your annual turnover.
BigCommerce provides all the tools you need to run multiple online stores without any technical skills. With a few clicks, you can create separate stores for different product categories, brands, audiences, or regions.
BigCommerce's hosting infrastructure is robust and scalable, enabling your store to handle large traffic volumes easily. Its drag-and-drop editor lets you design unique, personalized shopping experiences across multiple stores without touching code.
Best multi-store ecommerce platform for: Omnichannel B2B and B2C businesses that need a fully managed ecommerce platform.
Key BigCommerce features for multi-store ecommerce:
- Unified store management.
- Open API architecture.
- Support 100+ currencies by default.
- Custom pricing support with price lists and customer groups.
- Powerful reporting tools.
BigCommerce price: Free 15-day trial. Paid plans start from $39 per month for up to 3 stores and $30 per month for every additional store.
OpenCart is an open source platform that gives you a centralized dashboard to manage products, customers, and orders across multiple stores. It lets you create separate storefronts for different brands, product lines, or target markets, each with a unique design.
OpenCart offers useful features like integrated order management, customer reviews, and analytics, which can help you track sales and make data-driven decisions. It's also highly customizable, making it perfect for ecommerce localization.
Best multi-store ecommerce platform for: Small businesses and DTC brands that need a lightweight ecommerce platform with affiliate marketing tools.
Key OpenCart features for multi-store ecommerce:
- Customized design, catalog, content, and payment for each store.
- Centralized store management.
- Multilingual and multi-currency support.
- Store-wise analytics and reporting.
- Affiliate marketing module with custom tracking codes.
OpenCart price: Free to download and use. OpenCart Cloud plans start from $59 per month.
How to choose the right multi-store ecommerce platform for your business
Here's a simple four-step process to help you find the perfect multi-store ecommerce platform.
1. Consider your tech resources
Start by assessing your technical skills and resources. If you're not tech-savvy or lack the expertise to manage complex software, you'll need a solution that lets you set up multiple stores without dealing with much code, like WooCommerce or BigCommerce.
2. Consider your needs
Consider why you need multiple stores to understand which features to look for. For example, if you want a dedicated B2B channel, you'll need a platform with B2B features. Similarly, you'll need multi-currency and multilingual support if you want to offer localization.
3. Consider your budget
Multi-store platforms have costs like monthly subscriptions, hosting, or transaction fees. Determine a budget and look for affordable platforms that offer the features you require to get the best return on your investment.
4. Consider your products
Consider the size of your catalog and the type of products you sell before choosing a multi-store ecommerce platform. For instance, if you have a large catalog with different product types like digital, physical, and bundled products, you'll need a platform like Magento or OpenCart.
Start growing your business with the right multi-store ecommerce platform today
We've explained what makes a good multi-store ecommerce platform and shared the top five choices on the market. Now, it's your turn to choose.
Shopify Plus and BigCommerce are excellent multi-store ecommerce platforms that handle hosting and performance optimization. While they don't offer much control, they're great for small businesses with simple needs.
However, if you want a feature-rich and customizable multi-store ecommerce platform, consider WooCommerce, Magento, or OpenCart. They give you complete control over your online store and are incredibly scalable.
Plus, when you host your website with a managed hosting provider like Nexcess, you get a SaaS-like ownership experience without restrictions or a hefty price tag. Browse our managed hosting plans to learn how.