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Best Storefront Setup Features & Functions

Discovering Your Marketplace Features & Function Needs, Planning For Future Business Growth
Define What You Need Today, Plan for What You Need Tomorrow

Essential Storefront Setup Features & Considerations

In this section of our eCommerce marketplace guide, we will be diving into what a storefront is, the benefits of having one, and the different facets to consider before and during implementation.

Vendor Customizations & Configurations

Sub-Domains & Vendor Empowerment

Most storefronts will be configured in a specific subdomain or their own unique domain where they can have more control of the content within their storefront. In many cases this sort of control makes it possible to have different levels of membership with unique rules or content associated with it.

Another thing to consider is how much branding and customization the user can do. Specifically, it may make a lot of sense for each of the sites to have their own logo, their own color theme and styling on them. If that's the case, then you will want to consider how the user can customize those pieces. Do you want them to just be able to configure a few key branding colors? Do you want them to be able to completely configure the HTML or CSS of the header and the footer? Perhaps you want them to have more robust customizations allowing them to have their own content management system within their storefront.

In addition, a lot of times marketplace owners will look to set up a storefront for each of their customers. They may want to have a customer specific storefront so that the customer gets a specific set of content presented to them, specific branding that matches the company with their logo, branding, color scheme and more. It might even have a single sign-on and enable easy access for the internal team.

Building For Search Engines

Storefront Search Engine Optimization

There are quite a few pieces that you might want to consider long-term if you're building your marketplace with organic SEO in mind. Having a subdirectory model is going to be helpful to drive more search engine indexing to the primary domain.

For example, if your marketplace is www.marketplace.com and if you're using /storefront-1 to /storefront-3, those are sub directories that can each house a specific storefront. As far as search engines are concerned, even though they might appear to a user to be significantly different sites, search engines are typically going to consider those sub directories to be part of the main www.marketplace.com site. From a content perspective, if you set up a subdomain such as Store1.marketplace.com, store2.marketplace.com, store3.marketplace.com, etc., search engines are going to see each as a separate site. Although they are all part of the same top-level domain, the actual website itself on each subdomain is considered a separate website from a content, indexing, and domain authority perspective. As such, you want to consider how you're configuring those subdomains and how to optimize them for search engine optimization.

Primary vs Subdomains

Storefront Domain Achitecture

A benefit of setting up a specific subdomain or a primary domain, is that allows you to manage the end users experience so that they have their own custom domains and can point their primary business website at those custom domains. This enables them to utilize their existing domain, traffic, etc. for their business by tying that content on that specific domain to their business URL. By doing so, they can take advantage of their existing SEO value for each of the different storefronts.

By creating such a unique and custom experience for each vendor, you may want to charge a premium to enable that as a monthly fee. You can create a tailored subscription model for each storefront owner based on a region volume or sales passing through the system. By creating different levels of governance during the storefront setup, you would reduce overhead by enabling the user to manage their own domains versus setting up subdirectory or subdomain.

There are a lot of opportunities within the URL perspective to maximize your marketplaces objectives. Configuring the marketplace around specific objectives and getting the content matching the content to the primary domain or enabling end users to have their own form of content management.

Defining Storefront Governance

Vendor Rules & Standards

You'll always want to consider how easy it is for users to find and navigate specific storefronts. If they have a poorly created subdirectory, it might be confusing for folks to navigate and find where a custom domain matches a business might be. When properly implemented, you can create a user-friendly experience by encapsulating each marketplace within its own storefront. If most of your marketplace is meant to be within the overall marketplace and it's not meant to be branded and customized, then you may want to go with something really simple like a filtered subdirectory.

It’s also important to consider the branding on the storefronts and to what extent you want the storefront administrators to be able to modify the storefront. In regard to things like logos and the general styling branding colors, etc., it's pretty simple to set up everything so that each storefront has the ability to manage that content individually.

Allowing vendors and the sellers to have their own store helps them market and distribute their content in the way that best suits their business needs. Setting up a storefront that folks can leverage that and match their branding is helpful and relatively simple to do, so that's something that you can determine to what extent you want them to be able to manage things very often.

Soltuions for Every Platform

Storefront Features Customizations

We have clients who will be able to get 80 to 90% of their markets needs for their own website with just 5 to 10 customizable pages of content that they can manage as a storefront. As the storefront owner they can configure the URLs and set up a dynamic menu that is easy to manage. They can manage the catalog with all of that storefronts’ or sellers’ products in it through their vendor dashboard and manage their actual storefront branding and some of the content within the CMS.

In addition to that, there are also some major advantages to setting up a storefront so that it can be exposed externally. You can incorporate the components of the storefront into an external system like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, or any other content management systems, so that the storefront can be embedded easily. This is advantageous because if we enable folks to drop in their components from their storefront and your marketplace system, they can then link back to the primary market place rapidly by allowing them to drop in a simple search, cart, or checkout and a nice catalog into their existing content management system.

Imagine that they already have a website, but they don't have a catalog nor cart or checkout, you're basically giving them small embeddable components that they can put into their site via their vendor or seller dashboard. They or their webmaster can take these and implement these features on their site, extending the storefront beyond the base level of what would be initially available within your marketplace application.

How can Clarity Help

Clarity Storefront Experts

There are a lot of different ways that the storefront can be customized, managed, and extended as you're considering your upcoming marketplace project or your upgrade to your existing marketplace project, etc. We encourage you to think far down the road about where you’re heading and let your team know that you're working on the development of your marketplace application. During this planning stage, it is key to know which configurations make the most sense for the market and who you’ll be working with and which you need to explore more. Thankfully, we have put together more detailed information on each of these topics that you can look into and provided more resources below. We look forward to chatting with you soon about your upcoming marketplace project.

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