Whatever you decide to produce or to sell, a service or a product, the first question you will face with is “How to organize a store?” It goes without saying that nowadays online shops are much easier and cheaper to open than a real shop with monthly rent and electricity bills, fire safety rules and other legal restrictions. Everyone goes shopping online, so the best e-commercial start-up is to build a webstore.
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All that deals with selling your proper products. And what about reselling? There’re only 24 hours in a day, and a single person cannot produce a lot. Perhaps, you’d earn much more by reselling the products and services produced by others. Careful selection of vendors – for example, by product quality, design or brand – and attractive and customer-friendly e-store design would draw customers to your online shop. In this case a simple shopping cart program won’t be enough – you’ll need a complete multi-store ecommerce solution. In fact, you’ll become an owner and a manager of an online shopping center where each of your vendors will rent a part.
Let’s take a quick look at essential features of full-scale multi-shop software:
- a single webstore for each of numerous independent sellers: Your online marketplace will have a unique access and design for all vendor accounts.
- unlimited number of vendors: When starting, this may seem excessive. But let’s imagine your web marketplace in 2, 5 or even 10 years. How many vendors will sell their goods on your platform? No one knows. So, it’s much more reasonable to choose a solution which allows you to add as many independent vendor accounts as you need.
- products of various vendors in a single order: A customer always prefers a simple and quick shopping process, so it’s important to facilitate the procedure. No matter how many products of how many vendors he orders at a time, they all should be in the same shopping cart and paid together in one payment.
- specific shipping methods for each vendor: This is a very important feature, especially when shipping prices and time are calculated in real time according to shipment company and destination country. Customers would choose a shipment option at checkout for every item of the order.
- separate administration panel for each vendor: Unification of items in a single order and payment doesn’t mean unification of vendor accounts. On the contrary, each vendor should have a separate area and tools to manage his own settings and products, without disturbing other vendors’ activity.
- payment processing: In a full-scale multiple store shopping cart vendors doesn’t need to look for their part of order payment every time, as far as all payments are processed by root store administrator who manually distributes the funds among vendors. In fact, the money comes to the merchant account of root shop owner, and then is transferred to appropriate vendors according to order history.
- vendor payouts records: As a php multi-vendor shopping cart administrator, you should track and record all vendor payouts separately for each vendor for bookkeeping purposes. A comprehensive solution will provide you all necessary tools to keep your accounting records in perfect order.
- multiple statistics tools: You’ll certainly need some visiting statistics for better understanding of strong and weak points of your online shop. It’s an essential tool to schedule seasonal sales, promos, festive events, private sales or other marketing activities.
- root administration tools: User-friendly tools for general management of your web marketplace enables you, among others, to add or remove vendors, change design patterns, add display languages, change general conditions and shipment modes.
Selling platform for vendorsPerhaps you’ve already tried your proper online shop and now have decided to expand your business and to propose a selling platform for different vendors. In this case, you’ll need to choose the most suitable multi-vendor solution and transfer your current webstore to a new platform. Most developers provide smooth transfer to their software.
If you doubt about the choice, contact the developer to get a free demo version of multi-vendor software, or download it directly from his website and install on your PC. In most cases a demo version has limited functionality. Most developers also offer a free demo period from one to four weeks. During this trial period you would be able to use the complete solution with all functionalities. If the product suits you, you’ll just pay it at the end of the trial period; otherwise, you’ll remove it and continue your hunt for the best multi-store ecommerce solution.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn the opinions of other users of the same software – scan forums, blogs and special online magazines. All web marketplace beginners start with the same questions and tasks, all of them look for complete and user-friendly selling platforms. So, take advantages of their experience and don’t repeat their mistakes.
Who dares wins, says the proverb. Be persistent, enterprising and innovative, try different solutions, promote your online marketplace everywhere, and you’ll win the battle.
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