Behind every website is a content management system, and behind every good website is a good content management system. The e-commerce industry has revolutionized the way buyer/seller relationships are manifested, and those relationships depend largely on the kind of CMS you choose. Ideally, a good CMS should ensure smooth and efficient purchasing processes while at the same time making your e-commerce website look enticing, too.
One of the most important implications of the advent of the E-commerce industry is the availability of mass amounts of information to both a buyer and a seller, which allows them to make the best decision in their respective points of view.
In light of this observation, choosing a CMS for your e-commerce business requires a more fine-tuned approach with regards to both content, utility, and design; the right amount of information is presented to the customer such that it expedites the buying process rather than induce indecision from an information overload.
Following are 5 things you ought to consider when choosing a CMS:
- Your Budget and Team
As a business owner, choosing a CMS for your e-commerce website needs to be done with long-term thinking, considering the impacts it is likely to have on your business both immediately and in the long run. Do you have a special team/department for tech? If not right now, do you think you will hire an IT team in the future?
There are two major kinds of CMS platforms you can choose from:
- Development Platforms
- Solution Platforms
Development platforms are like a blank canvas on which you can build anything you want through writing code from scratch. On the other hand, solution platforms come pre-built with a variety of given features and functionalities to play around with and can be customized according to your needs.
(All SaaS platforms are generally solution platforms.)
Solution platform will be fairly easier in terms of fewer steps and functional requirements, while with a development platform, you will need technical expertise, be it in the form of internal staff or contractual.
With Solutions platforms, most of the development is done and your business will need to configure the platform to suit your needs. Also, adoption in development systems is generally faster as they are designed in a way that makes them easy to use. Therefore, when it comes to choosing a CMS for your business, make your choice considering the kind of team and budget you have got.
According to Frost & Sullivan, By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
This implies that personalization is quickly becoming one of the most essential factors based on which businesses form relationships with customers. In the case of e-commerce businesses, where the factor of distance is already there, it is imperative that e-commerce businesses choose a CMS for their website keeping personalized user experience in mind.
Your CMS should be able to:
- auto-generate content in unique on-page locations based on user preferences
- streamline and refine displays
- automatically send updates and emails in response to certain behaviors
One of the personalization techniques used to fuel sales is through leveraging product detail page recommendations. Below is a good example of that by boohoo: When I click on a satin top (part of their new season collection which they’ve featured on the homepage) and scroll down, its product page has a We Think You’ll <3 section. In simple language, they’re recommendations of similar products with slightly higher prices.
- Split testing
– also known as ‘A/B testing’, Split Testing is about finding out which version of a page performs better for your website by trying out various versions of a page. Some CMS allows you to use third-party testing tools, while others come with built-in split testing. While choosing a CMs for your eCommerce website, make sure to see which ones come with the kind of layout options that will help you develop the theme of your website and make changes wherever necessary.
- Simple and Easy to use:
At this point, you will have to think from the perspective of a business owner and from the perspective of the consumer as well. One of the main functions of your e-commerce website’s CMS should be its ability to allow your users to purchase your products) with ease and convenience. This will not be possible if your CMS is complicated.
UI and UX – they are often overlooked and that results in customer confusion and major dissatisfaction on their part, inevitable leading to fewer sales on your part. Therefore, you want the CMS to be easy enough to use, both for you, your team and for your consumers. It helps if the UI/UX is similar to the tools you have already been using in your organization; this will make the transition much smoother.
Below is an example of a simple yet effective layout of the homepage of an online fashion store Sophie and Trey. Featuring an attractive font and neat design, the slider markets their latest fall collection without driving attention away from the merchandise, hence the customer who comes looking for the latest trends will have no trouble finding the product they want and can then move on straight to checkout and pay:
- Integration with Your Marketing
If you choose a CMS that allows personalization, do see that it should integrate well with your marketing integration platform through features like:
- Easy social sharing
- In-platform analytics
- Third party tools like social analytics/heat mapping
These functions will save a lot of your time and you and your team will be able to better focus on stuff that cannot be automated. The CMS should include interactive elements to engage the user on your website, for instance feedback forms and surveys, and automatically tie them into customers’ experiences. It should also include some kind of functionality for user-generated content like comments and reviews.
However, what is important to note here is that it sounds easy to just choose a CMS that integrates with your marketing easily. Considering that you have a smaller set up to deal with and a relatively smaller market to cater to, say, 25-50 pages, less than a thousand subscribers and a weekly updated blog, it really shouldn’t be that difficult. But with a multi-author, thousand-page site and a multimedia content hub, it gets a little more complicated to decide which CMS to get.
You can either go for the one that’s quick and easy to use and implement or the one that is more detailed and powerful? To make an informed, wise decision, you must think a few years ahead and ask yourself the following questions:
- Will your CMS facilitate increased flexibility allow for seamless growth and development?
- Will your CMS functionalities enable your e-commerce portal to tailor user-specific content?
- What other added benefits will your CMS bring besides effective personalization?
With the above 5 considerations in mind, business owners need to understand that their CMS enables their marketing strategies to need to be more effective, an accurate market segmentation is conducted and the performance of online store platforms have to be streamlined to tap into the fast-paced conscious experience of shopping. Choosing the best CMS for yourself will require you to be mindful of the changes in consumer behavior that have drastically morphed with the advent of E-commerce, and translate into an appropriate conceptualization of the online retail model.
You must take into account the technicalities of website design, the placement of advertisements, the presentation of stock as well as a constant drive to improve upon existing models. The end-game here should be to ensure that upon the use of your CMS, customers are driven from one end of the buying process to the other without any hitch in the middle. They land on your store, they see the merchandise, your offers and placements entice them to buy and they check out. Plain and simple, no need to second guess at any stage of the process.