WordPress: Multisite, Multivendor or Multistore?

You want a WordPress installation that contains several shops? For example, you can use the wcfm plugin - a very comprehensive multistore solution.

But especially in Germany you have to deal with many legal questions deal with. As the operator of the platform, you are the first person customers turn to if something goes wrong. Therefore, the first step should be to think carefully about which system you want to use when creating a shopping platform.

The multisite solution

Here, different sites are operated under one WordPress installation. For setting up a digital shopping mall, this means that each shop can be accessible under its own domain address and represents a legally self-contained unit.

All necessary plug-ins are installed in a "main page". These can now be released to the entire network or only parts of it. The advantage is that the plug-ins only have to be purchased once, but can be used in all other shops. However, there are also plug-ins that do not allow such a procedure. In this case, a separate licence must be purchased for each multisite installation.

How to set up a multisite can be found in many different sources on the Internet. As an example we mention here the Description of a Kinsta Multisite Setup.

The disadvantage of a multisite is that it is difficult to separate the database. In other words, all pages are installed in one database. So if a shop owner wants to "opt out" of this installation and build his own shop, it is not impossible but difficult to extract data relevant to him from the database, because all shops share a single database.

The multistore solution

With the multistore solution, with the help of software, a plug-in (e.g. https://woomultistore.com/), several independent shops are linked together. One shop is appointed the "master". The other shops can be controlled from this "master shop".

Important: Even with this solution, all other shops are legally independent entities!

From the master shop, it is possible to control which products are displayed in which store. Stocks are synchronised.

It becomes problematic with the delivery costs: In the master shop, customers can choose from all the products of the shops that are integrated in the master shop. At the checkout, it will be difficult to explain to the customer that he has to pay different shipping costs for the different products from the different shops.

The multivendor solution

With the multivendor solution, there is a WooCommerce installation. With the help of a programme (e.g. https://wclovers.com/), different salespersons can be created.

When using a multi-vendor solution, the following questions therefore arise:

  • How do you deal with different delivery costs of the shops?
  • How do you trade payment?
  • What if a shop does not charge tax because it is a "small business"?
  • Does a shop from abroad also have to have general terms and conditions, right of withdrawal, etc.?
  • and much more.

The delivery costs

wcfm can deal with different delivery costs. Whether it is a flat rate or delivery costs according to weight classes. Our experience with this plugin is that the delivery costs are not stored in a stable way. Occasionally they have to be reactivated, which can be very time-consuming. A flat rate for shipping would be simpler. But with different shop operators with different needs, this is very difficult. Especially if the shop operators come from different countries.

The payment method

The only payment method where the shop operator receives his money directly upon purchase is Stripe. With all other payment methods, the platform operator has to calculate and initiate payments at the end of the month. Very complicated, in our opinion.


In general, multistores can cope with different taxes. However, under German law, this becomes a huge problem at the end of the payment process if a customer has products from different shops with different tax rates in the shopping cart.

Other formalities

At the checkout, the question arises under German law as to which GTCs / right of withdrawal etc. the customer now agrees to.


In our opinion, the "cleanest" solution is a multisite solution if the shops are all legally independent. With all other solutions there are too many legal pitfalls.