A few weeks ago, we presented an article aimed at teaching the value of opening a second 3dcart store. We talked about our amazing cloning options, the benefits of extended brand identity, and we also provided a few tips on how to maximize visibility and sales.
In today’s post, we're going to walk you through the store cloning process while also outlining a detailed action plan designed to help you get the most out of your multi-store, 3dcart experience.
Website cloning involves creating a copy of your existing 3dcart store. This process is useful to those who want to start a new online store -- similar to their existing one -- without having to recreate product libraries, customization options, etc…
Starting at just $99, 3dcart’s experts can either clone the entirety of your existing store or simply its design. If you choose the clone-everything option, you will have all aspects of your first store copied into the second. It will then be up to you to choose a new template, rewrite Web copy, delete unnecessary inventory, rename selected products, work on SEO, create social media extensions and integrate new features.
If you chose to clone the design of your original store only, you will carry over the skeleton while leaving things like inventory and customer data untouched.
For those looking to create an extension of their brand, the clone-everything option is the best way to go. If you’re looking to create a new brand altogether, we recommend the design-only option.
Don’t expect to have your second 3dcart store up and running in a matter of days. Even if you’ve selected the clone-everything option, there will still be a significant amount of work that must be done to ensure website optimization and distinction. Below you will find a list of tasks that will help you stay organized and on point.
- Revamp inventory – Immediately after cloning your 3dcart store, start revamping your copied product library to include only the items you want to sell in Store B. For example, if you sell fashion accessories in your original store but want to sell sunglasses only in your new store, simply delete the products you don’t need.
- Rename products – Continuing to work off the sunglasses example, if you sell black Ray-Ban Wayfarer’s in both stores, you will need to rename that product in Store B. In other words, if Store A names that particular pair of sunglasses “Black Ray-Ban Wayfarers,” Store B should name the same product something like “Stylish Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses in Black.” Renaming products will eliminate the need of having to reshoot product photos while ensuring Google will not dub your content as duplicate when it crawls your site.
- Choose a new template – 3dcart offers a wide selection of premium templates that have all been optimized to work flawlessly with the most recent version of our shopping cart software, v6.0. After cloning your store and revamping your product library, then it’s time to select a new template. When all things are said and done, your new store should have a unique feel and identity, one that’s separate but tied to your original brand.
- Customization – Customization involves tailoring your store to meet the unique needs of your business and should always be completed with user experience in mind. For example, make sure your new online store is easy to navigate, and this may involve altering your existing header, footer and categories list. When your new store’s roadmap has been defined, then it will be time to implement and optimize enhanced ecommerce features.
- Features – Each premium template offered by 3dcart now has a homepage slider feature. This allows e-store owners to showcase products, promotions and company messages on the homepage of their website in stunning fashion. This is a must-have addition for all online store owners, and when building out your second site, be sure to utilize the new features offered by 3dcart so you can continue to get the most out of your ecommerce experience.
- Web copy – Search engines -- like Google – penalize websites with duplicate content, and this can kill your ecommerce ventures faster than you can ask “What happened?” When working on website copy for your second store, make it unique and completely separate from Store A, especially if you sell some of the same products in Store B. Take your time with this, and consider using product videos as an alternative to written descriptions.
- Sync your inventory – The Multiple Stores Inventory Sync plugin will allow to keep real-time inventory across all of your stores. One store will work as the Master Store housing centralized inventory. Additional stores will be considered Child Stores that subscribe to the Master Store’s product library. Any changes applied to the stock of your products in the Master Store will propagate automatically to all of your Child Stores, and as orders are received in Child Stores, a real-time update will notify the Master Store so it can deduct corresponding inventory.
- Fine tune – If you accept online payments via PayPal in Store A, you will need to re-enter your merchant credentials in Store B. The same is true for your selected shipping carrier(s) and any other third party application you may be using. This will ensure both stores operate under the same accounts. In addition to reestablishing preset payment and shipping credentials, now’s the time to fine tune all other aspects of your website including, but not limited to, call-to-action buttons, special deals and promotions, newsletter sign-up fields, company email campaigns, social media extensions, etc…
Now that you’ve cloned your store, chose a new template, revamped your product library, rewrote merchandise descriptions, optimized your website, included a wealth of enhanced ecommerce features and fine-tuned the details, then it’s time for some marketing. Like it or not, this includes the creation of social media profiles uniquely tied to your second 3dcart store.
Even if you already have social media extensions for Store A, you will need to create unique profiles for Store B. There’s no getting around this. The big four for ecommerce merchants are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, and all of them are must-haves when looking to effectively market your brand(s).
Once you’ve created social extensions for Store B, it will then be time to start advertising. You can do this through PPC, sponsored posts, newsletters, blogs, etc… Email marketing is also a great way to attract your existing army of loyal shoppers to your subsidiary brand.
Shortly after launching your second store, send a newsletter to your existing clients to let them know it’s up and running. Be sure to provide a working link to your site along with URLs to its various social media profiles. It's also a good idea to create a purchasing incentive inside the newsletter. For example, offer loyal shoppers a 30% Off code that they can use as first-time buyers in your new store. This will help drive traffic to your store immediately after its open.
When creating a second ecommerce website, keep its identity separate yet tied to the first. The idea is to extend your brand’s visibility by selling some of the same products in both stores. When selecting which products to sell, play to a niche market. If you sell fashion accessories in Store A, accessories that include designer sunglasses, than consider selling only designer sunglasses in Store B.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your business. Our job is to arm you with the tools needed to be successful in a competitive market, and in the world of ecommerce, we think two is always better than one.
As a part of a special promotional offer, 3dcart is prepared to give merchants a 10% discount on monthly subscription packages to those interested in opening a second store. So not only will you be saving money, once your new store is up and running, you’ll also stand to make a lot more of it.
If you would like more information about 3dcart cloning, click here.
Thanks for reading everyone, and feel free to post your questions/comments in the field below.