CMS is a relatively new technical term for those who do not have a deep understanding of technology. This makes their attempt to find the best CMS for eCommerce becomes quite challenging. However, this is one of the most critical factors directly affecting revenue and profit. For example, it will determine how the content on your website is displayed, which is a vital touchpoint of online sales channels.
This article will provide you with all the needed understanding of basic concepts, benefits, and a list of potential CMSs. Based on this information and suggestions, we believe you will find the best companion that suits your business.
Now let’s dig into this!
CMS For Ecommerce: A Detailed Overview
Before diving deep into the selection criteria and potential option list, we will provide you with the essential knowledge about CMS for eCommerce.
What is eCommerce CMS?
First, CMS is short for the content management system. The primary duties of this type of software are to help online merchants to manage the adjustment, production, and the like of any website’s digital content. In other words, this system assists eStore owners in placing and managing their content efficiently. Unlike what some people think, those digital content goes beyond just some text. It can also be images, videos, marketing materials, etc.
Thus, a good CMS system is the one that can help the admin manage the website’s operation effectively without much intervention and support from the website programmer. As a result, it will save management time, operation, and maintenance costs, and help keep everything aligned with business goals.
These days, CMS has become an inevitable cost-effective business trend. In fact, not only do companies use it, but now as many personal blogs are born, the CMS solution helps them to build websites and manage content more quickly with less cost.
Finally, when trying to narrow down the options, ecommerce CMS software falls into two major categories — SaaS (paid) and open source (free to use).
What are eCommerce CMS benefits?
Of course, it is not by luck that this system has become an indispensable component of eCommerce websites.
This is because CMS is capable of providing a lot of unique benefits for online businesses:
- Usable for businesses of all sizes: A CMS can provide simplicity, flexibility, and scalability to every company (SMEs and large businesses). It allows the eStore admins to better organize, adjust, and track their website content.
- Friendly with users: The content management system is often an easy-to-understand and convenient program that helps store owners upload files and data in the blink of an eye. So don’t worry if you are a website newbie.
- Smooth and fast integration: CMS provides a simple and fast content integration process through your website. In particular, CMS sites often come with dynamic web content. This allows information to be easily and frequently updated or published as required.
- Accessibility from anywhere: CMS is a cross-device program since its interface is always browser-based. Thus, you and your colleagues can access a CMS regardless of your device’s operating system.
CMS main features
A CMS may have different features from the others, yet there are some functions that are the must-haves for all of them. They have the potential to make a significant impact on the performance of your website. We believe you can reduce many costs incurred if you know them well.
- Responsive Themes: If your CMS has good themes, you will minimize the time and cost of setting up a consistent look and feel for your store.
- Version control and backups: Sometimes, content changes can frustrate you and your customers. It would be great if your CMS could help you revert those changes to the previous version.
- Multichannel scalability: Omnichannel is an inevitable trend for online entrepreneurs to enhance customer experience. However, simultaneously delivering content to multiple channels, devices, and interfaces can be costly and laborious. Thus, it would be great if your CMS could help you with this problem.
- Multilingual content capabilities: With the help of eCommerce technology, geographical boundaries can no longer limit you. Yet, language does. No matter how good your message is, you can not persuade your customers if they do not understand what you are saying. That’s where this capability comes to help.
- Scalability: If you’re seriously planning on starting an online business, understand that a CMS is a long-term investment. Your business will grow in the future, so the CMS needs to be scalable enough to thrive with your business as well. In other words, it should be flexible, high performance, and seamless integration.
- Personalization and analysis: Data is a business’s treasure. In fact, the future of digital marketing lies in effective customer targeting and personalized customer experience building. To do this, data collecting is a must. Therefore, investing in a CMS capable of real-time interactive data collection and processing sounds like a good sense of investment.
- User functionality: Security is paramount for all businesses. The CMS gives you control over who can access and edit the content. This will help you avoid many headache problems.
How To Choose The Best CMS For Ecommerce?
You need to consider many different aspects to choose the best CMS for eCommerce. If this is your first time doing this, you may be confused and unsure where to start. Don’t worry too much because we will suggest you right now:
Ease of Use
While open source CMSs require technical knowledge for initial setup and daily operation, some hosted ones (such as Shopify and Wix) are straightforward to use for most non-savvy people. With those types of CMS, anyone can create a website from scratch. However, in the future, these CMSs can be pretty tricky to extend and customize. Therefore, easy-to-use CMS is not necessarily suitable for all businesses. You must also consider this with several other factors, such as your business model and direction.
According to studies, mCommerce is a rising trend. Thanks to the convenience of smartphones, people are shopping and browsing more with this device. In fact, many businesses see over half (or even most) of their traffic coming from mobile devices. It is therefore imperative that your eStore has a mobile-friendly interface. Look for a CMS that greatly supports performance on mobile devices. Lack of it can negatively affect customer experience, thereby reducing conversion rate.
If any company claims to be the best CMS for eCommerce, it must have a very high level of security. Regarding this aspect, most online merchants worry about transaction hacking or data leakage. A good CMS with PCI compliance will be an excellent solution for you to protect yourself and your users. With it, your shop will be assured of online payment functions such as securely receiving, processing, and securely sending credit card data.
Currently, there are four levels of PCI compliance, with Level 1 being the most secure. Whether you choose a hosted eCommerce CMS or an open-source CMS, they should provide PCI Level 1 Compliance.
A common mistake of start-ups is overspending. People often try to get the best out of the box at the start without considering the additional costs later on. Therefore, you should make CMS decisions based on budget, margins, business scale, and your website minimum requirements. Also, be careful with hidden prices like maintenance, security updates, defective products, etc.
Sometimes your website functionality is not enough to attract potential customers. This is where extensions will help you. Thus, your CMS should be able to integrate with needed add-ons easily. It’s even better if your platform has a vast plugin marketplace. As your business model grows, you’ll need these capabilities to do well. Do the research, list all the tools you need for your eStore, and ensure your future platform supports them.
Top 10 Best CMS For Ecommerce Businesses (Updated 2022)
Shopify is one of the best platforms for those who want to start a dropshipping or retail business. Even if you are entirely new to website development or eCommerce, Shopify is where you can develop a stable working website with basic features yourself without having to be afraid to face many complications.
Three service plans:
- Basic Shopify (best for new businesses): $29/month.
- Shopify (for SMEs and growing businesses): $79/month.
- Advanced Shopify (more advanced features for big business): $299/month.
- Shopify is one of the most easy-to-understand and convenient CMS for eCommerce merchants.
- Provide several appealing, professional, mobile-friendly web templates on its marketplace.
- Offer users many features covering a wide range of aspects, including accounting, marketing, inventory & product management, shipping, payment, and more.
- 24/7 customer support for merchants.
- Compared to other self-hosted CMS, Shopify is not flexible and customizable enough to deliver more functionality for your eStore.
- Shopify marketplace doesn’t have many themes, most of which require payments.
- You may need specialist support to get the proper theme customization.
- Phone support is only available in select locations such as the US, UK, New Zealand, and Australia.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is beneficial for most eStores, but you will need to prepare a sizable budget for it.
Without a doubt, Magento is suitable for businesses of all sizes. Especially if you are running multiple storefronts and want to manage them all through a single backend, Magento is the best choice for you. On the other hand, if your business only requires a frontend, Magento is still a good option since it is limitless customization and seamless technology integration.
Magento offers three different service packages:
- Magento Open Source: no free trial, but the open-source plan is completely free (with no hosting servers and domains).
- Magento Commere Edition: License cost around $22,000 to $125,000 annually.
- Commerce Cloud Edition (Adobe Commerce Cloud): $40,000 to $190,000 annually.
- Magento is a robust and feature-rich CMS.
- Magento offers essential features for an SEO-friendly website with decent speed.
- Users can adjust almost all functionality on their Magento eStores.
- Magento has an advanced reporting feature. Store owners can get all the data they want, including customers, orders, and product details.
- Magento offers a toolbox to develop PWA – an advanced technology that transforms your site to become an installable app-like web app.
- Magento has a vast community with more or less 360,000 forum members. You can get guidance, advice, FAQs, documents, or anything necessary to understand this CMS.
- Magento has a steep learning curve, so it’s pretty tricky for non-technical individuals to utilize it effectively.
- Magento’s paid plans are quite expensive compared to other platforms in the short term.
- For Magento Open Source, you need to find hostings providers for the websites yourself.
BigCommerce is another platform suitable for businesses of all sizes. If your large online company is developing, BigCommerce can offer the scalability to expand with you. For SMEs, BigCommerce has more than enough impressive but affordable features to optimize and scale up any eStore without hurting the budget of those business owners.
BigCommerce has 4 business plans with different costs and features:
- Standard: $29/month
- Plus: $79.95/month
- Pro: $299.95/month
- Enterprise: Request for price
- Ecommerce site with impressive speed.
- Various theme choices
- Good for organic traffic increase
- Helpful and dedicated customer service
- Seamless integrate out of the box with plenty of third-party plugins or apps
- Support built-in blog
- Provides easy-to-customize fields
- No staff account limit
- BigCommerce’s pricing is a bit more pricey than other CMS.
- There is an annual online revenue limitation. You need to pay and upgrade your service plan after reaching your limit.
- BigCommerce’s built-in blog does not support RSS feeds.
Since WordPress is a great combination of drag-and-drop web design methods and open-source software, it has ease of use, solid features, and excellent flexibility. As a result, WooCommerce is considered an ideal platform for new eCommerce merchants or newbie web developers.
Especially if you’re already acquainted with WordPress, this CMS will help you take advantage of your understanding to create a robust store.
Pricing: Great news! The download and install process of WooCommerce is completely free!
- There are numerous free features to the basic WooCommerce software.
- WooCommerce is a free WordPress extension, so you can easily install it.
- Thanks to drag-and-drop, WooCommerce is more simple and easy to use compared to some other complicated CMS solutions.
- Uncomplicated to customize WooCommerce’s themes.
- No product quantity limitation.
- Vast extension marketplace.
- Search engine friendly.
- Ability to highly manage content.
- Familiar with WordPress’s previous users.
- Store owner’s thorough knowledge of WordPress and WooCommerce is needed.
- Some extensions’ installation is not free of charge.
- There is additional hosting and domain cost.
- There are conflicts between plugins and other plugins, and with WordPress updates.
- WooCommerce CMS can only work with WordPress templates.
Although Wix is not as powerful and easy to use as Shopify and WordPress, it still covers most small business owners’ basic requirements.
Besides, Wix’s interface is user-friendly, so anyone can use it without hiring web developers. If you’re a small business owner, you’re only going to miss advanced functionality that you probably won’t need.
Wix provides 3 packages:
- Basic plan: $17/month
- Unlimited Plan: $25/month
- VIP plan: $35/month
- Easy to use, no need for technical knowledge.
- Wix provides you with hosting and domain.
- No commission fees.
- They offer a massive number of templates.
- Advanced functions are only available in premium plans.
- There are some customization limits.
Squarespace is the best start for web beginners of all the CMS platforms on this list. If you have business ideas or products to sell but don’t have various online selling experiences, then Squarespace is a perfect option for you, thanks to its simplicity.
Squarespace only provides two service plans:
- Basic Commerce: $26/month
- Advanced Commerce: $40/month
- A great CMS solution that is a combination of unlimited goods quantity and no transaction fees.
- Plenty of high-quality theme options.
- Intelligent and convenient interface for newbies.
- No phone support (but there is a 24/7 live chat customer care).
#7. Open Cart
It is quite challenging for non-technical people or beginners to create their own website from scratch with Opencart. This is a difficult-to-use platform. You will have to get support from web development agencies if you want to own a good Opencart eStore. However, this is a worthy investment since it will provide all the necessary functions for your business process.
- Paid support from OpenCart’s approved partners
- OpenCart 18.104.22.168 is free.
- A perfect choice for store owners who need specific shopping cart functions.
- Support numerous shipment methods and payment gateways.
- Easy to set up and fast configure any new simple shopping cart website.
- User-friendly administration panel for most people.
- OpenCart B2B functionality is not optimized for wholesale businesses.
- The platform is quite buggy and security-lacked.
- Not an ideal choice for big and medium eCommerce stores since there are outdated themes/templates, and functions.
- Some web developer skills and knowledge are needed to be an admin.
In case you care about your eStore uniqueness and don’t want your website to look like it was built from a ready-made template, then Drupal is a good option. However, remember to check your budget frequently and ensure you have enough time and money in your company budget to support a higher-effort site-building process. Those expenses can sometimes quickly snowball and add up.
You can use both Drupal and Drupal Commerce at no charge.
- When you create your eCommerce website using Drupal, you aren’t locked into any of the SaaS eCommerce CMS platforms.
- Drupal is a headless CMS. In other words, it separates the backend and front-end of your eCommerce site. As a result, you can create content and publish it later whenever you like.
- Difficult to use.
- No customer service.
- Small extension and add-ons marketplace.
Pixpa is an easy-to-use yet affordable option for merchants who need a versatile eCommerce website to sell products, services, or even digital content. It is also a great CMS for innovative products like pictures, photos, graphics & 3D designs to be sold online.
Pixpa provides its service with 4 packages:
- Light – $3/month
- Personal – $7/month
- Expert – $10/month
- Business – $16/month
- Reasonable using fees. Pixpa’s pricing plans are among the most inexpensive on the market. So anyone can start a business with Pixpa.
- Pixpa charges no commissions on sales made through your shop.
- 24/7 customer care with less than 3 minutes response time.
- High protection with free SSL security on all websites.
- You must purchase the custom domain name from a hosting provider. There are no built-in options for buying a custom domain.
- No free plan or free trial.
PrestaShop is another good choice for SMEs and newbies. Thanks to its user-friendly interface, and functionality, you can use it effectively without deep technical experience. However, Prestashop’s limited features for online businesses make it a default best fit for SMEs only.
- Straightforward to install and configure.
- The open-source shopping cart is completely free.
- PrestaShop’s interface is friendly for even non-technical users.
- Easy to customize features.
- Secured and reliable payment processors support.
- Because of PrestaShop’s scalability limitation, it is suitable for small and medium eStores only.
- PrestaShop has no official in-house customer care team.
- The design of PrestaShop is not good for big businesses.
The best CMS for eCommerce businesses is not necessarily the most expensive one or one with various features. It should be the most suitable platform. Therefore, to find your companion, you might want to consider suitability in many different aspects and decide which is the best option.
However, we must admit that currently, there are too many CMSs operating in the market. This diversity can cause numerous trouble for newbies during the search process. This is a common problem for most online start-ups.
In this article, we have listed all the high-quality CMS at a reasonable price. They are all great companions for many online merchants, big or small. We believe you will help reduce the time to find a good partner from the ten candidates above. Thanks for reading!