osCommerce Multistores

The term multistore refers to a scenario where multiple websites sell all or part of a product catalog.  What else they share is up to the business operation. 
1. Multistores
A true multistore is where more than one site shares the same osCommerce Admin but sells a discrete/separate product set.  No one site sells it all.  In essence it is a series of niche sites built around what is essentially a break up of your catalog at the top level category. 
2 .  Ministores
A ministore setup is where you have your  main site selling all products then niche sites selling a subset of these products.  Both sites share the same osCommerce Admin and, in that, the same product catalog.  You can control what is sold on what store down to product level. 
3. Affiliates Stores
The easiest way to tackle an affiliate store is via a Ministore set up.  You can provide a store to an affiliate so it runs under their domain as a sub-domain or simply store folder .  The affiliate does nothing.  You control the site including its content and handle its orders.  You simply pay the Affiliate their commission at the end of each month based on an Affiliate Sales report that both parties can view at any time.
Things you need to consider in all scenarios are:

  • Pricing – do all stores sell at the same price? 
  • Sales – can all stores access the same specials, discounts and coupons?
  • Information – do they share the same information pages or have discrete pages for each store?
  • Advertising – do they share the same banners or have discrete banners for each stores?
  • Payment methods – are all payment methods offered on all stores?
  • Shipping methods – are all shipping methods offered on all stores?
  • Customers – are they shared across sites?
  • Orders – who processes them?
  • Reports – what reports can be seen at store level?

Then of course there is design. How to provide a custom design without changing the core site code?
And the final thing you need to consider is SEO. Can all stores be indexed? If so, how will the SEO work?
Bottom line, there is no off the shelf solution for multistore implementation.  However ozEworks has Store Module that is a good starting point for any development.  If you are interested in an osCommerce Multistore setup then contact us to discuss your needs in greater detail.