Troubleshooting: Creating Websites, Store Groups & Store Views in Magento

Multi-store, and multi-website setups are a common request from our clients, and are easily handled in Magento. However, after recently setting up multiple websites with multiple store groups, and store views, I’ve realized that what initially appears to be the most logical set up, is not necessarily one that will always work best for the client in the end.

One particular client, had three different variations of the same site (which must remain as separate sites), each with a separate province, in French and English. On reviewing this request, it seemed like the most logical approach would be to create three websites for the three variations of that store, a store group for each province under each of the three websites, and two store views for each province: French and English.

Unfortunately, once the client started entering products and creating content for the different views, some issues began to rear their heads. For one, the client needed specific products to have different prices in different store groups/provinces. Magento, however, only allows the scope for price to be set to global or website. For this particular client, duplicating the product was not an option, so plan B was to use this extension. The extension works on older editions of Magento, however if you’re running an up-to-date version, don’t use this if you want to continue being able to reindex product prices.

Store View Pricing Extension
Store View Pricing Extension

The other issue that we ran into, had to do with French translations for product attributes. Due to this setup, the client was unable to easily copy content to the other store views, and would have actually had to spend a lot of time creating content.

After reviewing these issues, the setup we decided to go with was a little unconventional: A website for every province/territory and variation. So thats 39 websites plus 3 defaults – one for each of the three seperate variations – and 2 store groups for each website: French and English. This particular setup only happened to work for this particular customer as they are using neither the account functionality nor the cart/checkout. If they were, this would be less than ideal as the customer would lose anything in their cart, and have to create a new account everytime they changed provinces while visiting the website.

Essentially, the moral of the story is, sometimes what makes the most sense… doesn’t.