For decades, brick-and-mortar businesses have opened multiple stores. It starts with one location, then, as a business grows, expands to multiple storefronts, either in the same area or across regions.
If you own an online storefront, you probably have everything in one place. But there are times when it makes more sense to open multiple stores. You might have different divisions of your business, for instance, or you may simply want to segment your audiences, especially if you sell internationally.
Shopify won’t let you franchise under the same account, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set up multiple shops on the site. You’ll just need to create a new login for each shop, upload your items, and let your customers know you’re open for business. You can alternatively set up your shops as subdomains to operate under one main domain. We’ll look at the details of setting up each type, as well as how to switch between shops as gracefully as possible.
The Problem With Multiple Shopify Accounts
Setting up multiple Shopify accounts can be as tricky as operating multiple brick-and-mortar stores. You’ll need to either set up separate accounts or create one or more subdomains under a master domain on the site. Think of this as purchasing multiple storefronts for a local franchise and preparing to move in.
But once you’ve purchased your storefronts, you’ll need to get them up and running. You’ll need to stock those virtual shelves and prepare to track your inventory and ship products after they’ve been purchased.
As with multiple brick-and-mortar locations, you’ll need to make some very important decisions about how you’ll manage your multiple shops. Will you streamline your inventory or keep everything separate? Depending on the crossover between your shops, one might make more sense for you than another.
If you opt for separate accounts, the biggest pain point you’ll face is in switching between logins. Shopify doesn’t make this easy. You’ll have to log out and back in again every time you need to make a switch. This can make setting everything up under one domain more appealing, but there are downsides to that, as well.
Luckily, there are tools that can give you the support you need as you set your business up. With the right solutions, you can move easily between accounts and track everything in a way that works best for you.
Managing Multiple Shopify Accounts
The first thing you’ll need to do as you’re planning your store is to decide between multiple accounts or subdomains.
With multiple accounts, each store has a different username and password. You’ll log out of one, then log into another. This is a better option if you’re selling completely diverse products to separate audiences. You might run a bookstore on one account, for instance, and sell homemade jewelry on another.
With subdomains, you set up secondary shops under your main Shopify domain. To do this, go to Settings and Domains and add your new stores under the main one. You can set up separate stores under the main name and even split out your target countries this way. For instance, Betsy’s Crafts would be BetsysCrafts.com, but if you did separate shops it could be BetsysCrafts.com/blankets and BetsysCrafts.com/jewelry. For international, the country code will kick off the domain address, so for Canada, your URL would go from BetsysCrafts.com to Ca.BetsysCrafts.com.
How to Create a Second Shopify Account
Setting up a Shopify account is as simple as logging out of your existing account, then clicking Get started after New to Shopify? on the login screen.
But before you do all that, take a step back. There’s more to setting up a Shopify account than a username and password. Shopify has a checklist designed to walk you through the steps of preparing to open a new store on the platform.
Among the things you’ll need to do for your second account is come up with a name and check to make sure it’s available. You’ll also need to check into whether you’re required to get a business license in your state.
Once you have a Shopify account, you’ll have to log out and back in again to move between accounts. An alternative is to use an app to make it easier. More on that below.
How to Create Shopify Subdomains
If you purchased your domain through Shopify, you can add subdomains under that domain through the OpenSRS interface. You should have received instructions for doing this when you purchased your domain.
But if you’re using a third-party domain with Shopify, things get a little more complicated. First, you’ll need to connect your domain to Shopify, which you can do automatically or manually. Once that’s done, you’ll have to manually input the information into your domain provider’s website. Instructions on doing that are detailed here.
How to Manage Multiple Shopify Accounts Using an App
One of the easiest ways to manage multiple shops is to use Shift to toggle between Shopify accounts. With Shift, you download the app and, in a few simple steps, add an icon for each login in the toolbar.
To make identifying each account easier, make sure you assign every icon a color and name that help you keep them apart. Once it’s all set up, you can move between your Shopify accounts without logging out or in.
The best thing about Shift, though, is all the apps it supports. You can seat Shopify in your Shift toolbar alongside all your other favorite apps, including Gmail, Google Docs, Trello, and Zoom. If you have multiple logins with those apps, you can set up icons for each login to toggle between those, as well.
Manage Multiple Shopify Store Inventories
Setting up your shops is only one part of the process, though. You’ll have to find a way to manage all your products, tracking stock as it enters and exits your business. You’ll also need payment processing and bookkeeping services.
Managing inventory for multiple online stores requires the right tools, too. Shopify has an app store stocked with various add-ons to supercharge your business. One of the most popular is Stock Sync, a tool that imports your inventory from sources like Excel and Google and populates your Shopify store with the products. Once set up, Stock Sync automatically tracks your inventory across all connected stores, ensuring that when a product is purchased in one place, it’s removed from your store. It even connects to vendor sites.
Another great tool for managing multiple Shopify stores is ShipHero. This app helps track the status of your items, letting you know what needs to be shipped, what’s already gone out, and what’s arrived at its destination.
Shopify Fact and Fiction
Q: Does it take a long time to set up a Shopify store?
A: Fiction. You can set up an account and start adding items right away. If you already have an inventory list in an Excel spreadsheet, you can even import all the items to populate your shop. If your business is still growing, you can continue to add to the items for sale as you bring them into your inventory.
Q: Will my Shopify store look like all the others on the site?
A: Fiction. There are thousands of Shopify themes out there, and you can even hire a developer to make your own. At the very least, you can add your logo and photograph your products in a way that projects your personal brand.
Q: Can I find a large customer base on Shopify?
A: Fact. Shopify boasts more than 100 million registered users spread out across the globe. That means in addition to sending traffic from your own website and advertising your offerings, you can acces customers who might not have found you outside of Shopify.
Q: Can I do all my selling on Shopify?
A: Fact. Some people don’t realize that Shopify is more than a marketplace. It can serve as your entire store. You can even use Shopify Lite and keep your products on your own website. There are multiple plans, plus a 14-day trial that lets you try out the platform for free.
Q: Can I accept international currencies?
A: Fact and fiction. The answer to this question is mixed. If you use Shopify payments, you can accept payments through Shopify in multiple currencies. With Shopify payments set up, your customers can pay by credit card or through third-party payment apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal.
Manage Multiple Shopify Accounts with Ease
Multiple Shopify stores can be a great way to diversify your product offerings, creating different branding for each area of your business. Whether you decide to set your store up with separate accounts or use subdomains, the right tools can help you manage everything. Shift can help you access each Shopify account with a click of a mouse button, whether you have one account or five.