When managing multiple frontends from a single Magento installation there are a number of set up options to consider, there are 3 levels within the 'multistore' functionality hierarchy; Websites, Stores & Store Views.

The decision on whether the additional frontend should be managed as a website, store or store view will come down to how you want it to differ from the main (original) frontend, perhaps the pricing is different across the two frontends, it could be that one is a 'trade' site and that prices and account registration should be hidden, or perhaps the additional frontend just sells a completely separate range of products. Below we have outlined the benefits and the limitations of each option.


Website (in red in the diagram below)


At the top of the hierarchy is the 'website', implementing multiple websites on the same Magento install allows you to change every aspect of the customer experience, from shipping methods and payment options, to prices and categorisation.


Each website, must have a store.


Store (in orange in the diagram below)


Separate stores allow you to have multiple sites, each with its own product inventory and category structure, whilst using the same checkout parameters across each site.


Each store, must have a store view.


Store Views (in yellow in the diagram below)


Store views are ideal for making the site available in various languages/currencies. Store views can have a different design, including  specific banners, product images and the names of categories but from a functionality point of view, store views are quite limited.




The table below outlines which fields or features can be set on a per website, store or store view basis. For example, prices are set at website level, so the same price is used for any stores and store views of that website. However, Product Images can be set on a store view basis, so the same product could have a different image (or images) for each store view it is assigned to.
 

Website Store Store View
Products


Prices Yes No No
Descriptions Yes Yes Yes
 Product Title Yes Yes Yes
 SKUs No No No
 Product Images Yes Yes Yes




Store Set-up


Tax Rates Yes No No
Payment Methods Yes No No
Shared Baskets No Yes Yes
Shipping Methods Yes Yes No
Category Structure Yes Yes No
Banners Yes Yes Yes



Promotions


Catalogue Price Rules Yes No No
Shopping Cart Price Rules Yes No No
Quantity Discount Breaks Yes No No
Customer Group Pricing Yes No No




Misc


Reviews Yes Yes Yes
Search Term Redirect No No Yes
Reports Yes Yes Yes*
Imports/Exports Yes Yes Yes

*some reports are not available by 'store view'.