You may have reached the point in your E-commerce storefront that you have multiple inventory locations. So what is the best solution? Let’s look at some typical needs for a Multi Source Inventory type storefront:
- Ability to enter inventory warehouses with their addresses
- Each location might needs its own domain name or sub-domain
- Location managers should be able to get emails of their orders
- Location managers should be able to edit and view their orders but not see orders for all stores / locations
- Each location may need to have separate pricing
- It should be possible for the storefront to be tied to one or multiple inventory locations
- It should be possible to fulfill / ship an order based on the distance to the customer address based using Google Maps or a similar API to measure that distance
As a note about our conclusions here we develop for both Magento 2 and WooCommerce, both platforms have their pluses and minuses. We aren’t trying to push one platform over the other, we love them both. We had a client that needed a Multi Location and Multi Store with Multiple Domain type setup for their Rental franchise business. We did some research and here are the results.
At first since they were a smaller business we thought it would just be easier and faster to set them up on WooCommerce since usually WooCommerce builds are quicker and less expensive. But after looking at it further it wasn’t quite so straightforward.
|Each location can have separate pricing||Plugin $|
|Ability to enter inventory warehouses with their addresses||Plugin $|
|Each location might needs its own domain name or sub-domain|
|It should be possible for the storefront to be tied to one or multiple inventory locations|
|It should be possible to fulfill / ship an order based on the distance to the customer address||Plugin $|
|Location managers should be able to get emails of their orders||Plugin $|
|Location managers should be able to edit and view their orders but not see orders for all stores / locations||Plugin $||Plugin $|
WooCommerce Multi Location Inventory and Multi Store
The main issues here is that to do a Multi Location and Multi Store you would need to rely upon what is called a WordPress Multisite network. But… WordPress Multisite was never met to handle a multi site network for WooCommerce. That is where some plugins come in. In addition you will need to use plugins to handle the Multi Location Inventory section. But…these plugins only handle parts of the problem, not everything. Some don’t for example work with product bundles, some don’t handle different pricing per store, etc.
A big problem here is that the Multi Location plugins are mostly built for ONE WordPress website. They are not meant to be able to solve this part of the use case: It should be possible for the storefront to be tied to one or multiple inventory locations
Potential Plugins That Solve Some Parts:
Multi Location Inventory
Syncing Products and Content Between Multisite
https://wordpress.org/plugins/ns-cloner-site-copier/ copies multisite sites all data and pages $298 for pro though one time copy, not sync
https://www.welaunch.io/en/product/wordpress-multisite-sync/ syncs posts, products $29
https://woomultistore.com/ $199 sync products, also feature sync orders to one store
https://codecanyon.net/item/woocommerce-multisite-duplicator/14576575 copy product data
- Duplicate settings across all sites may be time consuming, like checkout custom fields
- Users would be separate would have to sync or use plugin to copy users
- Orders will be separate per store, no central store for order management needs plugin only woomultistore seems to support this
- Would also have to potentially duplicate pages, could also be time consuming
- Updating product data may also be time consuming, we really only want to update the price and stock
- Import/Export could be very difficult
Magento 2 Multi Location Inventory and Multi Store
As shown in the table above, the advantage to using Magento 2 in this scenario is that it’s been built to handle this without using extensions or plugins. Most everything is taken care of using the Multi Source Inventory system built-in since version 2.3.x, and yes even in the free community version of Magento 2.
So there is one extra plugin / extension needed to handle the case of: Location managers should be able to edit and view their orders but not see orders for all stores / locations. For that we’ll try using Amasty’s Admin Permissions extension.
- While the CMS editor is now a lot better, it is not as easy to use as the one on WordPress. Regarding this subject the free SEO plugins for WordPress are much better than anything in Magento 2
- Magento 2 is much more slow and difficult to develop for than WordPress, but it does have a more modern framework allowing things like plugins (for class methods, not plugins as in extensions), built-in graphql for many areas, elasticsearch, etc.
For most stores we would recommend using Magento 2 if you are going to use Multi Location Inventory and Multi Stores. Even if you are just using Multi Location Inventory without having separate domains, this would be our recommendation.