With the wide assortment of merchandise being offered on Magento online store, web merchants are demanding an efficient management system that provides customers with great shopping experience and helps store owners with store administrating. Fortunately, online entrepreneurs do not take much trouble over it, since one of the most advantageous and powerful features this shopping caters for is Magento multi-store.
This is a real godsend for online retailers, who can manage several stores within one Magento installation. Correspondingly, all the stores, business owners set up, are being controlled within single administration area, avoiding the requirement to log into various web site installations in order to arrange the content.
If you want to implement Magento multi-store functionality, you should be aware of website notion, differentiate websites from stores and store views, since these are components of complex multiple store hierarchy.
What Is Magento Website?
As it has been already mentioned, to run multiple stores in Magento, you have to develop hierarchical system of websites, stores and store views. Magento website is the top-most component in Magento that homes stores and the last, in their turn, collect store views. In such a way, website comprises, at least one store, which has at least one store view.
Websites allow web merchants to create completely separate sites with different product catalogs, that do not share cart, currencies or shipping methods. Each website actually sells different products. For example, you plan to sell furniture, electronics and wine/drinks. These are different-type products, and naturally, they should be represented on independent websites. Respectively, there can be created three websites, that share one database and are available under different domains (subdomains), selling correspondingly furniture, electronic devices and drinks.
If there comes the necessity, you can divide websites into several stores, for example, furniture website can be divided into stores selling medical furniture, office furniture and house furniture, each of them having their own catalog structure and storefront.
Store views are responsible for the language, in which Magento store is represented. You can add several store views and make your store accessible in several languages.
How to Manage Websites with Store Manager for Magento?
Store Manager application responds to present-day business requirements and encompasses solid functionality that helps you successfully arrange your multi-store retailing.
Stores, disposed on separate Magento installations and using different databases requires separate connections to be installed. Once you need to manage certain store, you have to switch connection and implement necessary changes or input data required. Store Manager for Magento Professional Edition allows to add unlimited number of connections and manage as many stores as you need.
If your Magento stores share the same database and are located on the same installation, you can create one connection. All the entities (websites, stores and store views) will be available in drop-down, accessible above category section. Correspondingly, you can switch to website or store simply choosing it from the drop-down menu. Categories and products inherent to selected store will be displayed in Store Manager, so that you can proceed with necessary data management operations.
At times you might need to sell the same products at several Magento websites and, accordingly, these merchandise should be assigned to them. Websites can be easily assigned to products via product lower grid or massively via corresponding functionality, available on product toolbar.
There is also the possibility to massively append products to specific store view(s), choosing it (them) on corresponding step of Store Manager import wizard.
With Magento multi-store functional capability you will never be limited to one store or one Magento website. You are free to develop multiple stores, sell different products and expand your eCommerce coverage.
Read related article, providing thorough explanation of Magento website, Magento store and store view notions - Magento websites/stores/store views