Showcase site and merchant site: what are the differences?

In the digital age, online presence is essential to develop your business. But what do you need to know before creating a website? You may have heard or read “showcase site / merchant site” before, but you are not sure what the difference is and what is best for your business. Are you in the local business? Here are all the answers to your questions in this article.

Showcase site: in which cases to use it?

The showcase site is considered a communication channel, allowing you to talk about yourself, your story, your offers to your customers. You can therefore share on your showcase site the origin of your ingredients, the development of your menus, the specialties of your chefs, etc. It is also the ideal site to present your menu online, share your details allowing customers to make a table reservation by phone or via a contact form.

We can also consider this site as a catalog of products where you present your food products by category: fresh products, frozen foods, groceries, etc. Whether for restaurants or food shops, specify your opening hours and update all the information concerning the availability of your stocks and your prices on a showcase site.

Traditionally, this type of site remains a simple catalog and offers no point of contact with customers. By adopting our SaaS platform, you can combine a showcase site and a merchant site into one. In other words, mix your communication channel and your sales channel.

What are the advantages of a showcase site?

The creation of a showcase site is a real asset for food entrepreneurs who wish to stand out online. Creating this type of website allows you  :

To be present online 

Typically, customers search online to find the nearest best restaurant or food store. Then, they learn about the restaurant of their choice, their menus and their services, before ordering . A showcase site, precisely, will be used to present all this information.

To meet customer expectations

It is not enough to be online and share useful information with Internet users. Customers set many criteria for choosing a food store or restaurant  : does it offer organic products  ? Does he favor the short circuit and local producers  ? Does it benefit from a label  ? Does it only offer fresh products and homemade cuisine  ?

You can highlight all this information on your showcase site to attract and retain customers. 

To stand out from the competition

The competition is increasingly fierce, whatever your sector of activity. In the case of local commerce, the showcase site is essential to stand out from competitors. To stand out, you need to perfect your local SEO on Google. So every time a customer types in a query to find a nearby restaurant, you’ll appear on the top SERP results. 

To achieve this, you must not only reference your site, but also create your Google My Business listing and optimize it. 

To reach new customers

To guarantee the growth of your business, you must constantly attract new customers. And the showcase site serves precisely as a point of contact to attract new customers. It is therefore important to properly reference your showcase site to gain visibility and increase traffic to your online store

Refine your web marketing strategy at a lower cost

The showcase site and the merchant site do not require the same investment cost. Thanks to a showcase site, your communication is 100% automated, because it does not require constant monitoring. Once well referenced, the site remains active throughout the year to guarantee lasting communication, without regular intervention. 

How does a merchant site work?

If the showcase site is a company’s communication channel, the merchant site is its sales channel. The merchant site serves as your point of contact with your customers so that they can place orders at any time or even in advance. You can also offer them payment options so they don’t have to wait in line at the checkout before picking up their orders.

The merchant site replaces the seller in a physical store and provides all the information the customer needs before making the purchase. In this case, it must fulfill very specific functions and offer:

  • Product data with a precise description of the origins, ingredients and type of packaging used.
  • Photos of products or menus with their prices.
  • Possible options or supplements if any.
  • Foods or menus for specific needs: gluten-free, organic, vegetarian, etc.

What are the advantages of a commercial site?

While the showcase site serves as an information page for the company, the merchant site is the point of sale on which it interacts with customers. The e-commerce site then allows:

To organize an autonomous sales system

You can organize on the same site the management of stocks, the preparation and the follow-up of orders, the implementation of several means of payment and options of delivery or return, the addition or the deletion of products in your catalog without an additional cost.

To stay open 24/7

Unlike physical stores, online stores remain open 24/7 without the need for human intervention. Everything is orchestrated so that the customer can consult the product catalog or the menu, read the descriptions of each product and place an order at any time, even when the physical store is closed.

To optimize sales

By setting up a merchant site, you no longer need to concentrate sales in your store or restaurant, you diversify your distribution channels. Customers can directly consult your products or your menu online, whether on site or at home. In the first case, they take a table and place their order without the intervention of a waiter thanks to a digital menu . In the second case, they can place an order and validate their purchase from home or from their place of work; you can offer them different sales options: home delivery or click and collect .

Thanks to the DOOD solution, you can combine the showcase site and the merchant site in a single site and take advantage of their respective advantages to develop your sales and your internet referencing.

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