How to Select the Perfect Content Management System for Your eCommerce Site

When it comes to selecting the right Content Management System (CMS) for your eCommerce needs, there is a wide variety of parameters to consider. The CMS has become one of the Internet’s most powerful web developer tools since the advent of PHP. Not to mention, we live in a world where sites need to be built faster and better. As a result, many developers are turning to CMS to get the job done quickly and efficiently. The only problem is there are thousands of CMS’s, and finding the perfect solution can be somewhat of a challenge. This is why we’ve curated this article to help you find the most powerful and relevant solution for your eCommerce site.

Explaining a CMS

A CMS is essentially a web application, which uses a database (such as MySQL) to create, store and edit HTML content in a user-friendly and manageable way. You can then create and edit online utilizing the backend of the web application. What your viewers see are the results of your work, which is also called the frontend.

Why do you need a CMS?

The use of a CMS has become increasingly popular for these key reasons:

  • Scalability
  • Flexibility
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Extendibility

Let’s go through these bullet points. With regard to flexibility, many eCommerce sites normally start small and grow along with the business. With a CMS, you have the ability to store your content in a database.

Compare it to picking a knife or a fork out of a kitchen drawer: you know exactly which slot holds what piece of cutlery. Yet, what if your cutlery were mixed with papers, scissors, knick-knacks, paper clips and more? Then, it would be a lot more difficult to grab the right piece without searching intensely for it first. Well, with a CMS, your content is stored in a way that is easy to manipulate.

Scalability is another major issue for eCommerce sites. You need something that can handle your mounting line of products. Then, you can’t forget about security. A security breach can cost millions of dollars in lost sales, trust and consumer loyalty. Many CMS developers do try to stay two steps ahead of cybercriminals.

Reliability is critical, as you need your site up and running continuously. Plus, it needs to be mobile-first. Gartner predicts that by 2017, U.S. mobile eCommerce will account for 50 percent of the U.S. total digital commerce revenue. Customers want reliability and convenience. They can quickly swipe their phones towards your competitor if that isn’t something you can offer.

Yet, the real power of a CMS is through its extendibility. This allows you to make use of add-ons such as a forum, or even ad management software. The best part is that most add-ons are free.

Consider your technical knowledge

Do your skills lean towards eCommerce website development? This is one of the first steps in determining which CMS is right for your project. There are CMS solutions for people who are fluent in HTML and CSS. There are also offerings if you have no understanding of website coding, but still lets you completely customize your site. Even if you have no coding experience, you certainly don’t want a generic, copycat website.

Create a short list

You want a CMS platform that is both easy to use and supports your needs. You don’t have time to waste. Here is the short list of action items to help you get started:

  • Look for relevant technologies
  • Discern based on budget
  • View a product demo
  • Select based on business functionality
  • Think of all the scenarios not being fulfilled
  • Consult with experts

What types of issues do you face with your current system?

Are you unable to link related content? Do you have to resort to manual cut-and-pasting all throughout your site? Does it take your marketing team several hours to get new product information onto your site?

Think of what problems you want your new CMS to solve. UPS’s 2016 PULSE OF THE ONLINE SHOPPER study reports that 51 percent of purchases are now made online. This means you need a system that is available when your customers are shopping.

Understand the features

Each CMS platform comes with a set of features. These can either be “out of the box” or added through plug-ins and add-ons. Think of what specific features you want your site to have. What’s most important to you? What features would make your eCommerce site stand out from your competition? Of course, you also want a CMS platform that focuses on eCommerce capabilities.

Will it maximize your site’s ROI?

One of the main objectives of an eCommerce site is to make a profit. When researching CMS platforms, you want to think of how they will optimize your site’s ROI. How will their tools fulfill your needs? Read their customer testimonials, and look at their reviews–on their site and off their site. Here are a few more questions to ask:

  • Are there easy checkout options?
  • Does it offer a robust online ordering system?
  • Is it mobile-first?
  • Does it offer marketing solutions and plug-ins?
  • Is it easy to configure? 

How does it differentiate your business?

What is it about a CMS platform that will help a customer visit your site? Does it enhance your customer service? Will it make your site easier to scan and view? As an eCommerce business, you can’t hope to sell everything to everybody. Well, not unless you’re Amazon or an auction house. Otherwise, you want a platform that helps your business stand for something unique in the minds of your target consumers. One way is to solve problems no one else is solving.

Look at the support options

Once you’ve chosen a CMS platform, it can be daunting to try to move your site to a new one. Unless something goes horribly wrong, you will probably utilize your new CMS for a long while. As a result, there may be issues which come up every so often. This is why it is imperative to have good support options, as well as an active community who can help answer various questions. Take a look at their community. Are they in the same or similar industries? Are they quick to respond?

2017 is appearing to be an important year for new technological developments and a further growth of eCommerce. It may be the year where automation reaches the forefront of customer shopping experience, and your CMS should help you to increase the level of ease with online shopping.

About Frederick Lawrence

Frederick Lawrence is a blogger and online marketing specialist. He is interested in economics, politics, music and IT.

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