CMS for E-commerce; Choose Wisely

Rise of online stores proved to be a turning point for retail industry. It has become one of the powerful means for the retailers to take a plunge in the global markets, expand their consumer base and leverage the sales. Though, considered as one of the most effective medium, there are instances where ecommerce websites have failed terribly to deliver intended outcomes.

Often industry experts blame (bad) choice of CMS platform for a failed ecommerce store.

Determining which platform is best suited for your requirements is indeed a herculean task. It has become quite confusing, since there is an entire array of platforms available in the market. It involves immense research and brainstorming to decide which platform might address your business requirements, in the most effective manner.

It becomes very important to gain complete knowledge of each (popular) CMS platform, learn about their strengths & weaknesses, in detail, so the final selection is in sync with the business needs.

Consider some of the essential factors of a CMS, before you zero down to a particular CMS platform:

  • Price – While choosing CMS platform, most people focus on ROI, hence they dig deep into pricing plans and try saving wherever and whatever is possible. However; this practice hardly helps. Going by some price-plan without applying much discretion leads your online store nowhere. Make it a point to take into account factors including “which platform provides more features at very cost-effective rates” before taking the final call. Moreover, ascertain that these features meet all your business requirements.
  • Support – Excellent and easy-to-access customer support forms a very essential aspect for a good eCommerce platform choice. In case, you are not planning to hire CMS web developer servicesto build your website, you will require constant support for trouble-shooting. Make sure the platform you select, provides free 24/7 support either on phone, live chat or email.
  • Templates – A CMS providing an array of custom-made design is definitely a great choice. However;ensure it gives you the liberty to customize it entirely, and easily suits your business needs. Customizable templates help you lower down your expenses significantly, hence; you can also expect some good ROI!
  • Responsiveness – With eCommerce sites going mobile, responsiveness has become one of the most decisive factors. An eCommerce website should definitely be responsive to allow people using mobile devices to shop with ease. A platform not providing responsive website version gives enough reasons to look for another service provider.

Now that we are very clear about the selection criteria for a CMS platform. Let us have an overview of some of the most promising platforms which are creating tremendous buzz in the web designing community.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce

Launched in September 2011, WooCommerce is just another free WordPress plugin. However, with over 1.6M downloads across the globe, it forms a considerable slice of the ever-growing ecommerce pie.This open-source, user-friendly and feature-rich platform is an excellent choice, especially if you are a startup. It provide high-end, attractive and intuitive online store without even costing you a limb. Moreover, WooCommerce provides a lot of room to customize and tweak online store to a level, where you can bring in maximum uniqueness. A wide range of responsive themes provide immense scope to build engaging and responsive sites for mobile shoppers.

However, one thing that goes against WooCommerce is self-hosting. You need to put in extra efforts (and care) while looking for hosting solution providers to ensure your site renders desired outcomes.

Visit WooCommerce Website

Magento

Magento

Over the years, Magento with its feature-rich solutions, has found a place among the key-players. In fact, with impending release of advanced version 2.0, Magneto is all set to rule the ecommerce world. Since, it offers extensive solutions to both large and mid-size stores; Magneto enjoys admiration across a wider spectrum.

Despite its popularity and feature-extensive services, Magento is still considered to be a platform designed “by developers for developers”. It is not user-friendly, at all. There are numerous features which need complex coding knowledge. Needless to say, hiring a professional developer becomes a must, if you intend to get a Magento-empowered online store.

Moreover, the platform is heavier when compared to other platforms. So, it requires advanced server and enormous disk space, further it may adversely affect the loading time of eCommerce site. This eventually hampers overall site performance.

Visit Magento Website

Shopify

Shopify

A widely utilized ecommerce solution, Shopify is admired by eCommerce giants, mid-size business owners and local online merchants, alike. In fact, it is extensively used by many startups, as it provides cost-effective plans (starting from $29 per month) and has a huge collection of beautifully designed templates.

However, it lacks some of the advanced services and functionalities, which fails to attract several larger stores. Moreover; even the checkout page does not offer many customizable options.

Cost-effectiveness is definitely the brightest side of Shopify; nonetheless, you need to know that you have to buy some add-ons and install apps to extend its functionalities. In addition to it, you also have to pay a huge amount as transaction fees for using credit card processor.

It is certainly the best choice for a small-store, since it provides eye-pleasing layout and easy-to-manage services without any external help.

Visit Shopify Website

Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce

Many web designers have noted close similarities between Bigcommerce and Shopify. However, the former lacks freedom of control over functionality that the later offers. Very much like Shopify, Bigcommerce offers services to various business sizes, from giant retailers to private entrepreneurs. Its prices start at around $30 per month that is also not too far from Shopify’s fees.

Since Bigcommerce is a hosted solution, it is perfect fit for a start-up or a small-scale store. Further, with its non-complicated and clean admin panel, it is easy for even a non tech-savvy person to manage it.

Visit Bigcommerce Website

Zen-Cart

Zen-Cart

Since, its split from OScommerce in 2003, Zen Cart has come a long way. Today, it has carved its place among the top CMS. A major highlight of this free platform is the numerous add-ons that are developed over a period of time. These add-ons can be easily downloaded. Besides, an array of add-ons, Zen-Cart also gives wide choices for templates. Moreover, it has excellent community support that comes to recuse in challenging times.

Though, being feature-rich, Zen-Cart usually suffers a back lash due to very basic reports which include product viewed, purchased products and customers order. It lacks in-depth and analytical reports on profit earned on each product, overall profit margins and sales by product. Even upgrades and add-on integration is complicated.

Visit Zen-Cart Website

Drupal

Drupal

This open-source CMS is one of the most popular and widely-used platforms for the development of ecommerce stores. Drupal is basically developer-oriented, therefore, it offers lot of scope to produce more advanced websites as compared to other CMS, like WordPress and Joomla. Besides, Drupal is the best choice when it comes to create advanced stores with complex functionality and versatility.

Drupal is an advanced CMS which requires someone with good technical expertise. If, you do not have a team of experienced developers, maybe you should not opt for Drupal. Moreover, installing and managing Drupal is not a child’s play. It requires an expert to manage a Drupal-based store.

Visit Drupal Website

Joomla

Joomla

This open-source CMS has got handful extensions for eCommerce that allows you to manage the products and content in a single place. Moreover, editing content on a Joomla-site is much easier and requires no expertise. Even a non-technical person can edit and modify the content. Further, Joomla is not very complex, hence you don’t need to be a developer to understand and use some of its intricate modules.

Though, content management is easier, integrating custom design in Joomla store does require a developer. Moreover, it has a very small marketplace for any additional modules or add-ons. So, if you are looking for additional modules to customize the site, Joomla might not be right choice.

Visit Joomla Website

OScommerce

OScommerce

OsCommerce is a free CMS which offers good scope for module customization. Moreover, it even allows easy integration of the customized modules within the store. OsCommerce even supports multi-lingual stores. Besides, with a strong community support, it guarantees quick trouble-shooting. Moreover;OsCommerce stores content as reference files in text format. This minimizes the risk of file corruption.

OsCommerce is an old technology, so there are no updates. Additionally, editing the code can become tiring, if you are an inexperienced and non-technical person.

Visit OScommerce Website

Conclusion

Whether you are a start-up with a small store or an established and large online shop, you can use of any of the aforementioned solutions. However; it is recommended that you consider the budget and think whether you would like to pay for a template just once or every month. Also think what will serve your purpose; a hosted or a self-hosted platform. All these considerations and reconsiderations should be done before you pick up a CMS, because switching between platforms once you have setup online store, can become a real mess. So apply your discretion and choose wisely!

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