The Jujube Tree Nursery was becoming an established business, and being an all-round plant-nut in general (!), I was motivated to expand into other rarer and unusual plants — not only edibles like jujubes, but ornamentals as well. I chose the names Urban Heirlooms for the edibles and Garden Clippings for the ornamentals.
It soon became apparent that there would be some overlap between the two sites. For example, a coffee tree can be both an edible and an ornamental. As could a pot of lemongrass with its gorgeous draping foliage! Similarly the Air-Pot® containers we sell, which I swear by, are products common to both sites.
The thought of duplicating products and posts across two sites was horrific! Never mind needing to log into one site to adjust the stock quantities of an item actually sold on the other site.
The obvious and only choice for me was to take full advantage of the ability of OpenCart to run multiple stores in the one installation. (Much like how b2evolution can also run multiple domains and websites in the one installation.) This way you only need enter a product once, or write a blog post once, and set whichever store(s) you want each to display on. You also have complete control over how each site looks — while my two stores have an identical theme, it is very much possible to have each store display a completely different look.
And while both my stores have an identical theme partly for branding and partly because of the natural overlap each has with the other, I still needed each to be slightly individual. Each has a very similar, but still different home page for example, with a slideshow and banners in identical positions, but with content unique to each. Similarly, the footer and product pages of each store are very much alike, but altered slightly so as to display each store’s unique email address.
And all updates are done through a single login too, no matter how many different stores and domains you have!
OpenCart’s ability to run multiple stores in a single installation proved invaluable here. I still needed to spend as much time building each store as if I had built each as a separate installation, but being able to work on both stores in the one spot alone was worth the price of admission! And without question so much more time will be saved down the track as both sites grow.
Please get in touch if you’d like a similar set up for your own needs, or even if you’re just after a single OpenCart store — it is very easy to add future stores at any time, and we can supply the web hosting prowess that makes this easier again. We run our own web hosting company with full control over our own servers, unlike many others that are actually reliant on third-parties and the pitfalls that can entail.
For example, yes, it is very straightforward to set up multiple stores in the one installation (though a touch fiddly and time-consuming to make everything perfect). However, not all hosting companies make available the ability to create subdomains and addon domains that make this possible in the first place. If your hosting company does not allow the creation of subdomains and addons then you will not be able to run more than one store per OpenCart installation.