Over the past several years, ecommerce companies have used blogs to not only deliver information, but also to advertise and sell, boost brand authority, attract loyal clients, and generate traffic and revenue.
At least half of all content marketers utilize CMSs, a trend that promises to grow. There are various CMS types, from simplified ecommerce modules to full-fledged systems. It can be difficult to decide which system suits you best.
We are not at the power to advertise some ideal option that brings the highest sales and traffic to everyone. There is no “one size fits all” solution. In each individual case, the choice depends on the number of factors, such as the scale and niche of the business, its owner’s plans for the future, and more. So you have to thoroughly analyze the pros and cons of each option and make a well-informed decision.
In this article, we describe the nuances to be kept in mind when approaching such a task.
1. Set your business goals
There are a few questions that you should consider before you pick a new content management system for your online store. Here’s the most important ones:
- How many products will you have on your site?
- How much traffic are you expecting?
- What are your future plans?
Today, you may have only a small online store with limited products, but you need to leave room for your brand to evolve and grow. Now is the time to thoroughly prepare for the scaling of your enterprise. Plan what steps you will take once your company enters the international market, or faces the need for multiple website versions tailored to different devices (PCs, smartphones, tablets), languages, payment platforms, and shipping options.
Magento is often used for scalable projects whose developers expect significant growth in the future.
A non-scalable and cheap platform may provide an easy and fast solution in the short run, but it will make it difficult for your brand to grow in the long run. You will eventually have to shift to a more scalable option, and it will be much more challenging to transfer your existing project to a new platform than to build it from scratch.
2. Check Degree of CMS Flexibility
Customer preferences are constantly changing, so it is crucial for brands to be adaptable, track the latest content marketing trends, and leverage them without delay, while the hype is still in full swing.
Several years ago it was common to post long text pieces. But today’s web users prefer blog posts diluted with infographics, moving images, videos, and quotes. Uniform textual content is no longer captivating. Try to make each information piece unique, bright, and reader-friendly.
When choosing a CMS, you should analyze whether it will allow you to shift from one ecommerce content management pattern to another, and create different types of content (landing page, blog article, ad banner, press release). Also, you should be able to set group permissions, develop forums, and edit code without hampering the system’s operation.
Сontent managers are rarely able to code. In such case, a drag-and-drop configuration is the best choice for content management. You won’t have to know programming languages to change your website’s layout.
Since new content types are constantly emerging, you will probably need to connect new plugins to your basic CMS. Choose an open-space platform that can be supplemented with modules released by partner developers. You will gain the freedom to manage different content types and be able to tailor customized strategies to accomplish your goals.
3. Must-haves of an e-commerce CMS
Here are some must-haves that will allow you to make the most of an e-commerce CMS:
- Administrative features: the ability to assign user roles and apply different plugins, notifications about content status changes, etc.
- Editorial panel: formatting tools, templates, change reverse, scheduled posting, and automatic tagging.
- Automatic creation of SEO elements: alt tags, metadata, optimized URLs, and keywords tailored to voice search.
- Syncing with social media: automated sharing and format change.
- Personalization: the capture of location, user behavior, language preferences, and browsing history.
- Automated email marketing: compiling letters and sending them to subscribers. Special plugins can collect information on the most popular products in your catalog, discounts, and trending news that can be featured in your emails.
- Feedback collection: tools requesting, processing, and publishing customer content.
- Split testing: trying content and layout options to understand which ones suit your online platform best. This helps you determine an optimal post length or the most appealing color scheme.
- Analytics: tools for monitoring the key metrics of content efficiency and using them to improve your strategy.
- Safety precautions: frequent update of the security patches to protect customer personal data.
4. Check if Content Management and E-commerce Elements Are Well Synced?
Whichever trading and content management platform you choose, there should be no discrepancies between their functions. This is not always the case when external plugins are installed. Add-ons can behave in unexpected ways and cause a great deal of inconvenience.
Before installing a certain tool, thoroughly study the system requirements to understand whether it is compatible with your platform. Be sure to run an add-on in the test mode before incorporating it into a basic e-commerce CMS.
It is best to choose extensions from popular developers, to avoid integration errors. WooCommerce for WordPress is a good example.
5. Difference Between Ecommerce Platforms and CMSs
A content management system (CMS) is created specifically for delivering content. In their original state, CMSs are not intended for sales. However, ecommerce functions may be added to CRMs to satisfy traders’ needs.
An ecommerce platform is tailored to online shopping. These systems are usually devoid of a content management pannel, but it can be added as paid plugins.
Let’s consider your options for combining these two formats.
Trading Platform With Informative Features
This combination is great for companies offering many services or goods to a large number of customers. Such brands are mainly focused on retail, and view content marketing as an optional activity. As a rule, it is enough for them to incorporate a blog module into a traditional e-commerce platform.
Of course, such modules have limited functionality and cannot be used for large-scale content marketing campaigns. Use this option only if you do not have ambitious blogging plans.
In this case, a traditional CMS is supplemented with ecommerce plugins. This option is suitable for companies that offer a narrow assortment of goods and want to deliver useful information to their target audience. A blog may be used for posting helpful tips and stories, forming a corporate image and showing how the brand’s products can be used.
Obviously, trade is less intensive for smaller companies, so more attention may be devoted to content marketing. But keep in mind that with this option, you will have fewer trading tools at hand, since it is impossible to fit the features of an ecommerce system into a plugin.
CMS and Ecommerce Hybrid
For companies wanting both an appealing blog and a powerful sales platform, it is best to use a hybrid of a CMS and an ecommerce platform. This option is most often used by large enterprises.
No matter what format you choose, it will still be necessary to answer the four questions below.
There are certain key nuances to keep in mind when choosing the best ecommerce CMS. The above tips should help you make a well-informed decision. If you still have some doubts and need guidance for web promotion and content marketing, contact the Clever team for a comprehensive consultation.