Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, and it’s no surprise why. It’s powerful, easy-to-use and has hundreds of themes to choose from. There are also many ways to make money with a Shopify store, such as opening up an affiliate program or selling your own products.
However, there may be times when you want to have multiple stores on one Shopify account – whether it’s because you want to test out different ideas or run different campaigns at the same time. In this blog post we’ll explain how to make the most of your e-commerce business ideas while answering some FAQs about Shopify.
Can you make multiple Shopify stores on one account?
No, you can’t. Shopify has a limit of 1 store per account. If you want to create different stores, you will need to use different email addresses for each store. Doesn’t matter if your dropshipping, selling software, or hand-made ceramics. New store, new account.
Shopify won’t limit the number of accounts you open, given you have a unique email address for each. They actually encourage you to open multiple Shopify accounts. Shopify is a sales platform, so they do want you to sell. But they also want to nickel and dime you along the way.
You can open subdomains with which to sell different products or the same products in a different way. But they will be linked to your parent domain, which doesn’t help attract a new target audience.
Can you link 2 Shopify stores?
You can’t link two Shopify stores. You need to have a separate Shopify account for each shop that you want to sell on.
This is because each shop refers to a separate business, and every business should (most of the time) have it’s own MID (Merchant ID). For Shopify, if you want to sell products using the same MID then you should use the same store. The platform doesn’t see the opportunity or value in running multiple Shopify stores under one account.
In contrast, it’s a smart move for Shopify for a couple of reasons:
- Shopify gets to charge you for each online store you have running, earning them more.
- Separating your ecommerce stores organizes your sales, transactions, real-time inventory management, order management—everything business- and merchant-related, so when it comes time to file you’ll be better prepared.
- Shopify optimizes each store separately without backend trouble, like for SEO or Google Analytics or even managing inventory SKUs. Store owners benefit from a cleaner experience because it’s only focused on the one store.
If you already have a merchant account and would like to add Shopify as another channel, then go ahead and contact your existing provider about this. If they don’t provide support for adding additional channels, it might be time to look at other providers who do!
It’s possible to use a merchant account outside of Shopify’s walled garden with your Shopify store. So you can set up a unique payment gateway and use a different processor than what Shopify tries to sell you. With that external account, it’s often possible to use its API on more than one website.
Do you need a new account for every store?
You will need a separate account for every store, but you can have multiple accounts on the platform. Your accounts won’t be connected, can’t interact with one another, and won’t share the same billing statement.
Further, you cannot manage multiple Shopify stores under one account. There is no connection between stores or different accounts on Shopify. Each is its own entity. That is, unless you open an Shopify Plus account which runs at least $2000/month and is geared more towards enterprises. This option is technically a multi-store account, but it is expensive and limited.
Each Shopify store you open is billed separately.
We can’t drive this point home enough: you will be billed for each store you open on Shopify.
The cheapest pricing plan offered is $20/month. Let’s do some math. If you want 3 separate stores, then that’s base-line $60/month. That price doesn’t include the cost of payment processing and Shopify’s processing rates are abysmal. So you’ll pay minimum $60 every month and then 2.9% + 30¢ for every transaction. The $60 is whether you sell or not, it’s basically a service fee. The processing rate kicks in when you start selling.
In short, Shopify is expensive. There’s no denying that. But they’re making the experience worse by disallowing valuable customers from using their current accounts to open new stores.
To lower costs, use another e-commerce platform with a merchant account.
If you’re looking for the best ecommerce platform on a budget, Shopify is not for you. The fact that there is a monthly fee makes it less cost effective than other platforms. Additionally, there are some features that are only available through third-party apps (like email marketing) or with higher pricing tiers.
If you’re looking to expand your small business quickly and need more than one store, then Shopify may be too inflexible for your needs. Instead, check out these options:
- Build your own store on WordPress and use a commerce template/plugin
- Build your own site from scratch and hire a developer via freelance sites
- Use a competitor like BigCommerce or Big Cartel
Each option has their pluses and minuses, but they are much more flexible and can be significantly cheaper (especially in the long run) than Shopify.
Shopify competitors generally have connections with payment processors and gateways, which makes it easy. But you aren’t obligated to use them. In fact, it’s often better to take the longer route and open up your own merchant account so you can avoid any troubles that come with the quick and easy ones like Stripe.
One merchant account can be used even if your business operates on different sites.
For example, if you have a Shopify store with a different domain name than your main site, and you want to use the same merchant account for both, it’s completely possible. You can just get an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt or another provider.
This will secure your store’s connection and make sure that the data you transmit is safe. Your customers will also trust you more because they know that transactions are protected. If you’re in a position where having multiple merchant accounts is necessary (like if you want to accept payments from different countries), it’s best to use a domestic payment processor—meaning one from the country your customers are in—because it will be able to process payments without running into issues.
While it’s not the most likely scenario, you can absolutely use a single merchant account for multiple sites IF all of those sites operate under the same MID. One merchant account, one MID. That’s the rule.
Why would someone need multiple stores with one merchant account?
There are many reasons why you might want to use a single account for multiple sites. From different target audiences in international markets to testing customer experience changes, there are plenty of reasons to open new sales channels. Here are a couple of the top reasons.
Accept Different Currencies
Let’s say you don’t just want to translate your site and convert prices. Maybe your domain is something regional, like example.us. European customers probably won’t want to buy from that knowing that shipping might cost too much or products simply aren’t geared toward them. (If you’re in the US, how many times have you run away from sites that end in example.cn?)
Though your order fulfillment options can include international shipping, it doesn’t always attract the international crowd. They want a marketplace designed for them.
In this case, you’re operating the same business and selling the same products, but you are using a different domain. One that targets the different audience. Because it’s the same company, you can use the same MID and therefore the same merchant account.
This is also great for adjusting prices, not just converting them. Maybe this other customer base responds better to more expensive pricing. It would make sense to charge more per product, which takes more effort than simply converting the currency.
Test New Products
Testing different products is always a good idea. Maybe you’ve decided to test them outside of your storefront on a dedicated landing page. It’s often a good idea to separate risky ideas from your current sales tactics and offerings to avoid any negative side effects.
Shopify won’t let you open this new landing page with a new domain name and product, even if you’re selling it under your MID. But a real merchant account will.
With a merchant account, you can open as many landing pages and domains you want to sell products as long as they fit within the merchant category code you chose for your account and are sold under your MID.
And example of what would not work is if you sell software and have a MID/merchant account for that but want to try selling coffee under the same one. It just doesn’t work and if you try you’ll get in trouble (i.e., terminated).
You can also test new products with new payment methods. Like maybe you want to open a store that doesn’t process credit cards, but only works with ACH or debit. This is one way to do that.
Fun Fact: Multiple Merchant Accounts Can Be Used on the Same Store
You can open as many merchant accounts as you want with the same MID and MCC (or even different MCCs), and you can use them on the same e-commerce store.
Opening a Merchant Account Is Cheaper and Safer Than Navigating Shopify
We get it, Shopify is user-friendly. It’s one the top e-commerce platforms that exists in the entire world. You know it, your customers know it, your friends use it. But it’s not flexible enough for entrepreneurs like you who want to grow and scale their businesses.
Merchant accounts make that happen. Open one for your Shopify store today (not Stripe, not PayPal, a real merchant account) and you’ll see the difference immediately when it comes to pricing and customization.