E-Commerce 11 May , 2022 How not to shoot wrong with the choice of content management system for an online store? Valdis St Content management system When creating an online store, it will not be just a place where you will sell products. It will be your digital environment office, shop, data management tool and window where you will be able to showcase company and brand values, products, etc.c. The content you will publish in the online store should help people learn not only about the product, but also about the brand! You have to create a desire to buy, but to achieve this, it is very important that your online store is fast, safe and convenient for customers. Everything is based on the choice of CMS or content management system, which will provide all the necessary functionalities in the online store, both those that are needed at the very core and those planned for the future. What is a content management system? You may have already heard the term “content management system” (CMS), but what exactly is it and what will its choice affect your online store in the long term? The content management system (CMS) is a very important part of the online store. This can be compared with the foundation of the house, which ensures the stability, safety and sustainability of the building. If inappropriate technology, materials and/or specialists are chosen for the construction of the foundation, they will not be able to fully perform the intended functionality and will lose both safety and stability. CMS is a software that allows you to create, manage and optimize your customers’ digital experience with your company. The content management system allows you to organize an online store – which, how and when is displayed, add or edit products and categories, insert images in the online store and manage both the content visible to customers and what is not visible to customers from the outside. There are two types of CMS – open source, such as WordPress and Magento and closed-source CMS, such as Shopify. An open source CMS means that the code that keeps the platform running is freely available to the public and can be modified by anyone. By contrast, the closed-code CMS is owned by a single company that owns all its functionality, which in turn means that the ability to modify is limited. What to consider when choosing CMS? Your business requirements First of all, evaluate your business model and business goals to determine what criteria will have to meet the content management system. Draw up your own list of criteria and do some research into the different options that will meet these criteria. Defines what goals you want to achieve. It must be said that this is the most difficult stage if you do not really navigate the labyrinths of web development yourself. In this case, once you have defined the business goals, the necessary functionality and the project budget, it is most sensible to go to a consultation with a development team working with several CMS. If e-commerce is planned to be developed at a serious level, it is also advisable to attract an e-commerce strategist, with whom the objectives and needs will be defined. Thus, the developer will be able to tell you which of the content management systems will be the most suitable for achieving your business goals. Your budget This is an important factor in the choice of content management system. It matters whether the store is a hobby of someone’s handicraft or a sales tool for a large company that turns over several million a month. The cost of a content management system can vary from a few hundred to tens and hundreds of thousands of euros, unlike requirements. In addition, it should also be taken into account that some of them require a monthly budget to be allocated only for using the selected platform, such as Shopify, while other CMS will require you to invest more at the development (WodrPress u.c. open source CMS), but less investment in support and improvement. For example, magento will be much more expensive in maintenance, since it is a complex platform that provides a very wide range of functionality and development in the long run.When choosing a content management system, you need to take into account a lot of factors, for example, you can create a WordPress online store for a couple of thousand or a Shopify store for several tens of thousands. There are situations when, creating a WordPress online store on a template may be cheaper than shopify online store, which will need to encode an individual topic or functionality with the application. Note: Also plan funds for support and maintenance after development. After development, you will need to maintain the selected CMS solution – server services, updates, addition of additional functions, integrations, technical support.c, etc. If you want your online store to grow and develop all the time, remember that the work on it does not end with the publication of an online store on the web. Just as the home regularly requires clean-up and minor repairs, the same online store requires regular modular updates and the addition of additional features to improve its performance. This will be ensured by your team of e-commerce experts, who will follow the technical condition of your online store and inform about the most suitable solutions for the growth of your online store. Interface and usability When choosing CMS, you should also think about how simple or difficult it will be for you and your employees to work with it. The system is required to be simple enough to be used by non-technical staff and does not require extensive training or support from the IT team. Especially if you are not ready to pay the developer for the administration of your online store. Usability must be intuitive enough for everyone in your company to understand how everything works and, for example, to make adding new products or uploading images as easy and fast as possible. Note: Before choosing CMS, consult with professionals and find out what features are available on different platforms, it will help you choose the most appropriate content management system that will suit your company’s needs. Third-party integrations A very important factor to consider when choosing a CMS is the integration options it offers with other systems. If you already have, for example, a warehouse accounting system or plan to use several third-party tools in your company (warehouse accounting systems, connection to CRM, payment systems, delivery systems,.c etc.), it is important to make sure that they will cooperate well with the selected content management system. Ask these questions: – What system do you need to integrate? – What are the specific functions of each system? – Will the selected CMS ensure integration with the specific functions? – Will this integration be difficult or easy? – Are there any restrictions on what can be integrated into each type of system (e.g. specific types of content/files.c, etc.) are not supported? – What marketing tools are available for a specific CMS The answers to these questions will determine which CMS will suit you best. For example, if the selected CMS meets all the needs, but the integration of the warehouse accounting system is not possible at all, then it will be difficult to manage products in a large online store. Security Data security is particularly important in the online store. You need to make sure that your and your customer’s data is safe. The content management system must include several levels of security protection against hackers, who may try to access your online store to infect it with viruses, as well as sensitive information contained therein, such as customer card data. Despite the efforts made to create a high-quality online store, it will inevitably be necessary to face some technical problems. Fortunately, most content management systems have support capabilities available to help fix the problems that have arisen, as well as the development agency providing support capabilities. Support This, too, is a very important criterion for choosing a content management system. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where there’s been a technical problem in your online store, but there’s nothing to ask for help. Or in a situation where you are not satisfied with the quality of the developer’s servirs, but no developer other than this one works with the CMS you choose. Therefore, we recommend that you look at the most popular content management systems such as WordPress, Magento and Shopify, which are among the most popular, and you will find support when working with these content management systems very quickly. Opportunities for future development When choosing a content management system, it is very important to anticipate the future development of the online store and their capabilities, so that it is not the case that as the business develops, it is impossible to add the necessary functionality and the only option is to create a new one. Think about: – Will the selected CMS suit your needs in the long term? You may not be able to predict what you will need in 5 or 10 years, but you should definitely consider how your online store will develop at least in the next year to make sure that the selected CMS will be able to meet your company’s needs in the future. – How will your product range change? Whether it is planned to stay on the number of existing products, or whether it is planned to increase it in the future. – What new features will be needed? The following shall be taken into account: E-commerce is changing very rapidly, so when choosing a content management system, it should be taken into account whether it will be able to adapt to the latest e-commerce trends or whether it can be adapted and developed. If, however, in the future you do not plan to expand and develop an online store, then perhaps it is better not to spend too much on what will serve you for only a few years. Finally Choosing the right CMS will rarely be a simple process, but it is important to remember that your online store is an important part of the company, or even the basis of the whole business, so make sure that you have chosen the right content management system for your creation. Do not rush to make a decision and listen to the recommendations of professionals, because ecommerce specialists face different customer needs on a daily basis and understand what solutions are offered by each of the content management systems. Take the time to explore different options and find out what will be most suitable for your company. You definitely don’t want a content management system that can’t ensure the sustainability of your business! Apply for a consultation and we will find the most suitable solution for you!