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Opening 1 vs 3 online stores?

2 different clothing products. Combine in 1 store or have seperate stores?

2:00 pm on Dec 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There are 4 styles of ladies clothing that I can source and sell online. Not sure if I should combine them into 1 store, or keep them in 4 separate stores.

As separate stores, they would each have their own theme. Themes are good. I fell mixing all these together in 1 store will seem random and create or horrible mish-mash of contrasting styles.

But in SEO terms, having 4 separate stores means diluting some SEO benefits across 4 sites, rather than have all SEO benefits pooled. By this I mean incoming links, etc. Not to mention losing some potential cross selling (a hippie with some ugly hippie pants in her cart also adding a S&M costume is not likely, but she may like one of the bikinis).

Not to mention more headache of managing 4 separate stores, rather than 1. Extra hosting costs, updating 4 sites, etc.

What do you guys think? Pros and cons? Tell me what to do. Mulling over this alone is driving me freaking nuts.

[edited by: lorax at 2:01 pm (utc) on Dec. 13, 2009]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

10:12 pm on Dec 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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But there are SEO benefits of having 4 seperate stores, and you can cross link them. Also, there's no reason for added costs when it comes to hosting. You can host them all under the same plan, though for SEO reasons this might not be ideal. Good luck on your decision.
4:08 am on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I agree with TimmyMagic that you should consider the SEO benefits of four separate websites. He does allude to one importnat thing...if they are all hosted on the same server, the search engines are smart enough to see through that. If you get cheap hosting somehwere, and an easy to use CMS to handle your products, you should be able to manage them all with little effort more than a single one. One key is to use the same merchant provider for them all so that you only pay the fees for one site. I suppose you could potentially also pass all orders into one centralized checkout (a little bit trickier on the programming side) which would give you centralized billing and fulfillment. All that said, people like to have choices. Unless your product lines are so dramatically different that they could confuse or offend customers...why not let them decide what they want to buy all on one site. There probably are sunbathing, closet s&m, hippies out there somewhere...what a niche market you can fill!
5:56 am on Dec 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies guys.

Still not sure. Looking at popular sites, you see tonnes of stores with everything, like nordstroms, jc penny, etc. But they were already physical chain stores.

You do see a lot of successful niche stores, which aren't physical chain stores. So maybe that is the way to go.

I think the SEO benefits of cross linking stores would be small. A few reciprocal back links. Might help when the sites are young, but later on, hopefully the few self back links would be just drops in the massive bucket of MILLIONS of satisfied customers linking to my stores in their blogs. Hahaha.

It might be beneficial to have specific stores, just for the marketability of specificness. Makes you appear to be the expert in the field of your site.

But as you said, techtheatre, the benefit of upselling different kinds of products is nothing to sneeze at. Imagine I did just one store all the products and 5% of customers end up adding products that could have been in a separate store. Nothing to sneeze at.

I am still mulling over this one.


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