Shopping malls are blessings in life. All you gotta do is drive in and find every possible commodity under one roof. Shopping malls save you the trouble of hopping and jumping to multiple places to tick all the items off your shop list.
Imagine having this provision online! You visit a website and find a variety of products all in one place. Products ranging from clothing to electronics and gadgetry can all be added to the same shopping cart, purchased and delivered at your doorstep. Let’s explore the online shopping mall in detail and fish out the features that can be included into a online shopping mall to use it to it’s maximum possible potential.
What is an Online Shopping Mall?
An online shopping mall is essentially a group of eCommerce websites being handled on a single WordPress installation. Here, the parent site website which is a multi site functions as a mall whereas the sub sites function as individual stores.
How will an Online Shopping Mall Work?
To understand the functioning of an online shopping mall it is important to understand the users involved in the system and how they interact with each other
Users in an Online Shopping Mall
1. Mall Owner
The mall owner is the multi site admin. He/She provides vendors with a feature to create stores in the mall. The mall owner also charges the vendor for store creation and the payment is taken as a subscription fee.
2. Store Owner
The store owner who can also be called a vendor is the one who wants to create a store online. In order to create a store he will have to subscribe to a particular plan based on which he’ll make timely payments to the mall owner. In actuality the stores created in the multisite are individual eCommerce websites.
The customer is the end user who will visit the online mall to shop for products. The customer can shop for products from various shops and add it to the same cart to make the payment process shorter and simpler.
User Interaction in Online shopping Mall
- A user who wants to create a store in the mall will have to register using the online application process. Once registered this user will convert it a store owner.
- Once a user has registered for a store the mall owner will provide the user with details of the store created.
- Using details provided by the mall owner, the store owner can set up the store by adding products to the shop page.
- Customer can now search for products on the shop page of the online shopping based on his requirement.
- A list of products is displayed to the customer based on the search that has been made.
- When the customer selects a particular product from the list that has been displayed through the search result he will now be taken to the sub site to which the product belongs.
Creating An Online Shopping Mall
Online shopping malls on WordPress are created using the multisite feature. It will be a hub for multiple sub sites.
Step 1: The mall owner sets up the multisite and provides vendors with an option to register for a store (a sub-site) using an online registration form. Use form builder plugins like Gravity Forms or Ninja Forms to create the registration form and capture data.
Step 2: A vendor looking to set up a store on the multisite site mall would contact the mall owner via the registration form and provide him with the vrious details of the store.
Step 3: Once the mall owner has the data entered in the registration form, he would then set up a subsite for the store vendor and provide him with the proper credentials. The store owner will be charged with either a one time payment to be a part of the multisite mall or maybe a monthly membership plan. WooCommerce Subscriptions is an ideal plugin for this scenario.
Step 4: The mall owner would then need to populate the newly created sub site with all the essential plugins, settings and content (if any). The list for the most basic plugins required for a functional online store is short; all you need is an ecommerce plugin like WooCommerce integrated with the right payment gateway plugin to carry out monetary trasactions. He/She can choose to either do it all manually, or write an application that automates this process everytime a vendor requests to set up a store in the mall.
Step 5: Once the set up and installations are done with, the vendor can log in with his credentials and add the final touches to the online store that he can call his own. There could be options to choosean appropriate theme, customize the branding of the subsite to match the needs of the vendor, like uploading a logo, changing the color schemes and the works.
Benefits of an Online Shopping Mall
- For those who view an online shopping mall as just another eCommerce store then it’s time to rethink that statement. An online shopping mall is has many benefits. And what’s more the benefits are spread across all the users who interact with the system.
- Maintaining an online shopping mall is a significant business opportunity for mall owners. This opportunity comes with small investments and does not have much maintenance work involved once the multi site has been set up. Also the mall owner does not have to manage the large inventoryAll the mall owner will have to do is provide potential store owners with an option to create stores in the mall from the front end and define various subscription plans for stores.
- With regards to the store owner he is saved from the hassle of developing a website from ground up. He has to simply register to the online shopping mall and procure for himself a store in the mall. Once that has been done one can easily sail through the shop set up process.
- As for the customers, online shopping mall is definitely a great proposition! After all who wouldn’t want to get all required products under one roof right? The customers can be saved from the hassle of purchasing and tracking orders from numerous websites.
An online shopping mall is a great concept and can be implemented in WordPress as a multi site using WooCommerce to handle the malls eCommerce needs. If implemented efficiently it makes for a strong and extremely useful system. And the key to implement an effective system would be to include a right mix of features into your online shopping mall for WordPress.
So that was about the the working of an online shopping mall. Watch out this space for more on the development process of an online shopping cart and essential features to incorporate into it.
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