What is an eCommerce CMS?
An eCommerce CMS, or Content Management System, is a software that allows eCommerce website owners to have control over their website even if they don’t have any technical knowledge. This means there’s no need for an expensive website developer for every website change. Website owners are able to create, edit and publish content on their websites, making it easy to adjust the aesthetics of their online store.
From inserting or deleting entire sections of content and adding new products to swapping out product photography, adding pop-ups and more, there are so many changes that can be made to a website using an eCommerce CMS. In this blog, we’re reviewing the various types of content management systems and some features to keep an eye out for before investing in CMS software.
SaaS vs Open Source CMS Platforms
SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service, refers to a cloud-based CMS that website owners use to host their eCommerce stores. SaaS doesn’t require a separate server, and merchants pay for a subscription. Because subscription plans scale as merchants’ stores grow, SaaS is a great option for fast-growing businesses. In addition to real customer support, a perk of SaaS is that it eliminates the merchant’s need to maintain the software 一 this means there is no need to set it up yourself, manage updates, download software, etc. Two industry-dominating SaaS platforms that are great for mid-market and Enterprise eCommerce businesses are BigCommerce and Shopify.
An open source eCommerce CMS is the opposite of SaaS in that website owners and store administrators are responsible for maintaining the software. With no technical support, merchants using an open source platform must set it up themselves, make updates when needed and determine how they’re going to host their eCommerce store and maintain the server. WooCommerce and Magento are two well-known examples of open source software.
Although merchants have complete control over their website’s functionality, we encourage the use of an open source CMS only to enterprise merchants with an in-house team of developers and designers.
Must-Have eCommerce CMS Features
1. SEO Optimization
If the eCommerce CMS you’re considering doesn’t offer SEO optimization capabilities, then we strongly advise against using that software. There’s no sense in having a beautifully built website if people can’t find it. That’s why eCommerce SEO is one of the most important components to drive website traffic, brand awareness and conversions.
It’s not entirely a problem if you don’t have a ton of in-depth SEO knowledge because a quality CMS helps merchants implement eCommerce SEO best practices. A trusted CMS accounts for SEO by optimizing page URLs, page titles, meta descriptions and so much more. Choose a CMS that reminds you to include specific keywords in the URL and lets you add or remove subfolders from URLs. When it comes to page titles and meta descriptions, keyword placement is critical. Your CMS platform should let you write your own page titles and meta descriptions or automatically generate these elements so that they’re already optimized for search engines.
2. UX Design
Now that you know what to look for in a CMS so that your target customers can find your website, it’s important that your site is optimized so that users enjoy the time they spend browsing and shopping on it. A huge benefit of an eCommerce CMS is that no coding skills are required. Effective CMS platforms provide merchants with the ability to design, edit and manage their websites. User experience design is at the forefront of customer experience optimization. We encourage investing in a CMS that offers fundamental yet necessary eCommerce design functionality such as a flexible design and simple integrations.
A flexible design is key to driving conversions because merchants want their customers to experience a frictionless online shopping experience. If they stumble upon a page that’s too difficult to navigate or are prompted to create an account at checkout rather than having the option to check out as a guest, they’re likely going to leave your site and go elsewhere. Further, more advanced features, like product recommendations, are offered by big name CMS platforms. Product recommendations are great for creating a personalized customer experience.
3. Marketing & Sales
No matter whether your visitors enjoyed their browsing experience and purchased or landed on your site and exited out due to a poor user experience, there’s always room for improvement. This is where marketing and sales come into play. Marketing strategies and sales tactics are what help merchants attract, engage and retain customers.
Be sure to choose an eCommerce CMS that offers built-in marketing and sales functionalities such as blogging, email marketing automation and customer support. Creating an eCommerce blog is a key piece to attracting new customers and generating brand awareness. Email marketing automation drives serious results for both marketing and sales teams by converting prospects into leads and leads into customers. Having a dedicated customer support functionality like live chat solves customers’ pain points delights and retains customers.
4. Testing, Reporting & Analytics
A CRM that assists eCommerce merchants in making data-driven decisions is a valuable asset to have. Optimizing your marketing and sales strategies based on historical company data, competition and industry trends will really help grow your brand. A CRM software facilitates this through A/B testing and integrating with analytics platforms. A/B testing helps merchants determine which website design or content elements work best for visitors, while integrating with analytical platforms such as Google Analytics is useful for evaluating performance and analyzing data.
In our team’s expert opinion, these four eCommerce CMS features are absolutely necessary for growing your business and driving conversions. If you need help evaluating a CMS software that’s right for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team through the form below. We’ll be happy to learn about your specific needs and discuss solutions.
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