One of the early questions that comes up when you’re considering adding wholesale to your existing e-commerce store is whether or not to split your website in two.
It’s something I’ve seen people do both ways and I’ve personally learned a lot about the reasons behind both viewpoints.
Should you split your site or not when it comes to adding wholesale?
Why You Shouldn’t Split Your Site
My suggestion is that 95% of the time, it’s a bad move.
Today I wanted to take a few minutes to explain my reasoning of why so that anyone researching this and trying to decide what to do might have a better understanding of the ins and outs of the decision of whether or not to split your wholesale into another site.
Here are 5 reasons why splitting your site is a bad idea.
1. Split Traffic
Imagine that you had to restart your whole operation today. All the way back down to zero visitors.
That’s essentially what you’d be doing if you were to split your store in two.
A new site, even if it is sitting on a sub-domain is completely new in the eyes of search engines and also your customers.
Splitting the traffic across two sites means that your wholesale site is essentially starting again AND you’re diverting potentially useful traffic away from your retail site.
It’s smarter to leverage the existing footprint of your retail e-commerce store and just add wholesale to it.
2. Management Of Product Listings
If you split your site, and you sell your products to wholesale customers as well, then you’re essentially doubling up on the management of those products.
It’s easy to make a mistake with a product listing on one site. Having two sites to maintain product listings on means twice the headache.
What you’re better off doing is using role-specific content shortcodes (like our Wholesale Prices Premium plugin supports) to show or hide content from certain groups of users.
So if you need to show specific content to wholesale customers only, using these shortcodes, it will hide it from retail customers.
That means you get the best of both worlds. One single product listing for that product, plus specific content shown to only the people that it concerns.
3. Inventory Management
Inventory management across multiple sites is an administrator’s headache.
When you split your site, you’re essentially having two e-commerce systems (two WooCommerce installations) which means you have to maintain the inventory numbers in both installs.
WooCommerce has a very robust inventory management system in-built so if you’re using that, keeping your site as one for wholesale and retail makes sense.
4. Missed Leads Opportunity
A massive percentage of wholesale customers come from being retail customers first.
People that know and love your brand and want to become wholesale customers of yours will come because you run a great retail operation.
Seeing that you have a cohesive and supportive wholesale section to your site means to the customer that it feels like one operation.
You could be missing out on a huge opportunity for more leads that come directly from your retail site.
Leverage all the hard work that you have put into your retail site and bolt on wholesale to your store rather than re-build an entirely new store just for wholesale.
5. Overheads Of Maintaining Two Sites
Lastly, and probably the most important of all 5 reasons are the overheads.
Maintaining two sites means a LOT of extra overhead such as:
- Hosting – hosting costs for a busy store can run into the thousands per year already. Doubling up on that is an expense that you can easily avoid.
- Graphic Design & Web Development – you’ll need to design that second store. Which means web designers, developers and more to set it up.
- Ongoing Development Costs – Two stores means twice the amount to maintain the code to ensure things are up to date, secure and performing well.
- Administration – Even if you’re doing it yourself or have a small team, with two sites you are doubling the amount of administration overhead. These are costs that are easily avoided.
- Support – Two sites means two sites to support customers on. Customer support to help people that are confused about one thing or another is unavoidable. What is avoidable is having to help people navigate two sites.
I hope this has given you a few things to think about (5 hopefully!) when it comes to implementing wholesale on your e-commerce store.
Adding wholesale to your existing retail e-commerce store doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact, it’s what we do every day, we help folks solve the 3 big issues they face when adding wholesale to their stores.