Permissions and Micro Stores: What’s the Difference?

As you begin managing larger Company Store programs, you might find yourself in a position where you will need to manage multiple programs within one store. In other words, shoppers will need to have different experiences from one another but still be in the same store.

Common examples we see in this scenario:

  • Companies with Multiple Departments (Marketing, Executive)
  • Sports Teams (Football, Basketball)
  • School Districts (High School, Elementary School)
  • Hospital/Medical Organizations
  • Multiple, Small Clients that don’t require their own store

When your client approaches you with a store request similar to the examples above, you have two options to accommodate them. The first is utilizing Permissions Technology, which is a standard feature in Bright Sites. When using Permissions, users will need to log into the store to see the settings assigned to them. A Micro Store is a custom store configuration (add-on) which allows you to have multiple stores under one “anchor” Bright Sites store.

What are the similarities? Both Permissions and Micro Stores lets you control what the shopper can see and experience in the store such as categories/products, logos, payment methods, shipping methods, and administrative areas. Permissions and Micro Stores are based on group settings. For example, you can group users together based on their corporate department or school. When using Permissions or Micro Stores – everything is managed in one store including the products and the reports.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s talk about the differences between Permissions and Micro Stores.

Program Access

The biggest difference between the two lies in how the shoppers will access their program. In a Permissions Store, it is based on login. If the store is public, users can shop without an account; if the store is private, users are forced to log in upon arrival or checkout; if the store is a hybrid, it is a public store with login access for certain group permissions.  For example, if Joe from the Marketing Department needs to see the products available just for his department, once he logs into the store, he’ll be able to see those settings.

Store Access Example – Permissions

In a Micro Store, shoppers will access their program based on choice or code. They arrive on a landing page first and you have three options for allowing users to access their programs. The first is to allow the user to see all Micro Stores and enter without a passcode. The second is to allow all users to see all Micro Stores but need a passcode to enter their particular Micro Store. And the third option is to keep all Micro Stores private and require a passcode on the landing page.

Store Access Example – Micro Stores

How Will Users Shop?

The next thing to keep in mind when deciding between a Permissions Store is to ask – how will the users shop? In a Permissions Store, it is restrictive to the login. Going back to our example above, when Joe logs into the store, he’ll see the settings for the Marketing Department because that’s his department and that is where he will always shop. A Permissions store allows you and your client to control who is shopping and what settings they can experience (categories/products, logos, payments, shipping).  In a Micro Store scenario, you can give users the option to access other Micro Stores. For example, you have a store set up for a school district that includes several schools. A parent has a kid in high school and another in elementary school, they will need to access both stores to purchase uniforms or supplies.

Store Branding

Another big difference between a Permissions Store and a Micro Store is in the store design and branding. In a Permissions Store, it is one store design (because it is one store). In a Micro Store, you maintain the overall branding of the anchor store but can give each Micro Store its own identity through a customized landing page. It’s important to note that if your client needs a store branded just for them, a Micro Store is not a good option.

Is it a Standard Feature?

Permission functionality is a standard feature in Bright Sites and it is easy to set up and configure yourself. Micro Stores requires custom configuration and design from our team. It is an add-on feature.

How do you know what’s best for your client?

Still stuck on deciding which option, Permissions or Micro Stores, is best for your client? There are three questions you need to ask your client:

How will users access their program or privileges?

Will the user always have the same shopping experience?

Does the store need to be branded specifically for the organization?

These questions are fairly simple but will tell you everything you need to know to make a decision. As always, we are here to help you!

For a quick recap:

Want to learn more? Check out the full webinar presentation and demo: Permissions or Micro Stores? Managing Multiple Programs with One Store

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This post was written by Lucy Taylor