In this episode, you’ll hear five of our top things to keep in mind when selecting an ecommerce content management system (CMS).
Hi everyone and welcome to Rapid Immersion, where we discuss questions and topics within your digital marketing ecosystem.
Today, the question: what should I look for in an ecommerce content management system (CMS)? If you’re considering a new site, or a new CMS for your existing site, here are five key items to keep in mind as you evaluate your options.
Many content management systems have ecommerce capabilities, but some are purpose built around ecommerce and some aren’t.
If your business is going to be emphasising online product sales as a primary revenue driver that you’re investing significant marketing dollars in, a CMS with a strong ecommerce focus is likely to be best suited to your needs as it will be robust and feature filled enough to satisfy a wide range of requirements. Any items that are non-ecommerce related may be simpler or stripped down, but that’ll be OK because they’re not the primary focus.
On the flip side, if product sales will be a minor part of your website’s responsibility, a CMS based around the functions that are important will suit you better. A simple ecommerce module may be up to the task.
2. Google Merchant Centre Feed Friendliness
This is a big point if you’re planning on using Google AdWords advertising. There are several types of campaigns within AdWords, one of which is particularly relevant to ecommerce: Google Shopping Campaigns. Google Shopping Campaigns enable you to put your product images and prices directly in search results. Having an ad that shows your products images and pricing can be fantastic for capturing searcher’s attention, lifting click-through-rate and generating product sales.
In order to setup Shopping Campaigns in AdWords, specialty actions are required. One of these actions is the creation of a file that contains your product information, called a data feed, which will be provided to Google.. Some ecommerce content management systems will automatically create your feed for you in just a few clicks, which makes your life as an advertiser easy. Other CMS will not be able to generate a data feed for you without custom coding, and that will cost time and money to fix, especially on larger sites.
So please remember: if you’re planning on selling your products using Google AdWords, selecting a CMS that can easily produce a data feed is the way to go. One of our favourite CMS platforms to work with due to its easy data feed creation is Shopify, so check that out.
3. Measurement and Tracking.
Tying in with the previous point about online advertising, making sure your CMS can report on your product sales by channel will give you a clear view about the parts of your marketing mix that are working, and the parts that aren’t, so you are able to make management and optimisation decisions based on data.
One of the best tools for measuring website activity is Google Analytics which is easy to setup and totally free to use in the vast majority of cases. Google Analytics helps you understand how people are reaching your site, what content they’re most interested in, where they’re exiting, and much more.
With respect to ecommerce, Google Analytics has a specialty tab that features information about product sales as well as more insightful data such as how many times a person visits your website before making a purchase decision, and all the different channels they used on the way. This could help you see the difference in average order value between someone who reaches your site from Google AdWords vs. a paid ad on Facebook, for example.
To use this ecommerce reporting functionality, your website needs to be able to communicate this information with Google Analytics, which requires specialty coding. Fortunately, many ecommerce CMS platforms feature this coding as a prebuilt component that just needs to be activated, so it’s just a few clicks. But, not all do, so if a CMS is selected that is not able to communicate with Google Analytics this way by default, extra time and energy is required.
4. Developer community
Selecting a content management system that’s widely used will give you plenty of potential people to work with. On the flip-side, a completely custom CMS may only be able to have work performed by one or two people who understand what’s going on. Now, you’ll have to make the right choice based on your needs but generally speaking, our approach would be to go with a platform that lots of people can help you use.
5. Plugin library
Last but not least, select a CMS that has a library of plugins. Plugins are pieces of functionality that can be added to your site, or ‘plugged in’. These are generally off the shelf solutions that solve a problem or add a feature that several people want, so instead of having to code something from scratch each time, you can pick a pre-made solution. Buying a plugin is often times much, much more affordable than coding from scratch, so it’s definitely worth checking into.
If you would like an example of a plugin marketplace for popular ecommerce CMS platforms, we’ve included a few links in the post below.
Well, that about brings us to the end of today’s episode. Hope this helps you select the right CMS for your needs and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Have a nice day.