What to consider when selecting an E-Commerce CMS
There are a million CMS options available, so where to start? At its core, you require a cart and a way to process payment. But there are many other considerations. Here are a few things to consider when deciding on what CMS you need for your business.
Why are you Building the CMS?
Before getting started, it’s important to understand “why” you are building an eCommerce site, as there are operating solutions such as EBay, Amazon stores. It may be a good idea to test your product sales here first. Having your own eCommerce website allows you branding opportunity, and saves from fees from the middle man, but leaves you responsible for marketing the website, where SEO and Social Media may be required to gain sales.
Is the purpose of the site, 100% for eCommerce? Or is this simply a part of the overall website. There may be other major considerations in the web design, social media widgets, blogs, video, galleries or other features required. This are important considerations when selecting the CMS, as each CMS has different advantages and limitations. Also, do you want one dashboard where you can contact all the activities from, or are you confortable working with multiple CMS where you have to login to multiple sites. This can be a huge pain.
· What number of products are you planning to sell?
· Do you plan on having many different users login, or only a few?
· How are you planning to process your charges? How many charges do you expect to be handling?
· How much time have you budgeted for in terms of administration hours, and personnel.
You may become very confused when reading about different eCommerce solutions as these CMS providers will not point out their faults, or tell you their limitations. Major considerations are the number of products, volume of sales, number of website transactions, and how easy the administration panel is to manage and deal with this volume; find products, accounts, sort, filter, and find your data.
Where are you planning to host the website? Do you have plans for monthly updates to the CMS, the extensions and components used, and to prevent vulnerabilities to hacks. When dealing with customer credit card information, it is critical to make sure your website is secure and that regular updates are being made on a regular basis. Your host may also have issues with the version of the MySQL necessary for the CMS.
Options and Features
Obviously these are the most important conisations to be made, and for which reason Wikads can provide an instrumental role in helping you to select the best solution for your project. No one CMS has the same set of options. Consider the following:
Discounts, Coupons, GC’s – its nice if the CMS includes these options, but how will they operate? Can you offer specials based on rules like, buy 3 and get a discount on the 4rd item, or are you restricted bases on a % of the total value of the purchase.
Inventory, Reporting, Tracking, and Back Orders – this is also a major consideration when dealing with high volume sales. Make sure you understand how this system works and what options you have.
Product Promotions – How does the CMS enable cross-selling and what controls and options do you have, or is the process automated?
Reviews – Are reviews important to sales on your site? If so, what kind of contols will you have on these review options.
Shipping – This is a critical decision as there are many variables to consider. Here are some shipping-specific considerations:
· How does the CMS Calculate multiple carriers: UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL
· By Weight, Quantity, Cost, Item?
· Do you offer Free Shipping? (what are the terms of this offer? By product, price?)
· Combinations of all of the above
· How do you calculate shipping tax? International or by country?
· Different Currencies? How to display and at what exchange rate? How to update these currency rates?
· How are the addresses formatted for each country?
Data Import/Export & Integration
It is good to have options to move your data easily to another system should you learn the CMS is not working well for you. There is nothing worse than feeling trapped and losing control of your data. The eCommerce CMS options Wikads work with all have easy options to export data and import new items for ease of operation. This is also important when integrating with Google Product Search, which you need to submit your in special formats.
Integration with other software projects, such as Mailchimp or Constant contact for email blasts, are a further consideration. Its nice to be able to leverage other software with added features.
Search – How does the search feature work, and how easy is it to find the products a visitor is looking for? When you have hundreds or thousands of products, this can make or break a sale! You should have good control over the results, categorization labelling and tagging of items to best organize your data.
User Access – do you assign accounts, or is there open access. What are the benefits of each?
Reporting and Stats – What level or reporting to your require?
Checking Out – Is the check-out process intuitive and does it lead to quick easy sales, or is the process cumbersome and confusing. Are all foreseen scenarios covered in the check our process? (payment by multiple cards, multi-shipping locations etc.) You will not want to lose a sale due to the process not working the way the customer wants. A missing feature here can become an absolute nightmare for development when trying to build it afterwards. The CMS should work the way you need it from the start.
Popularity is also important. The most popular CMS solutions are famous for a reason – quality or value.
If you come across an issue, how responsive are the CMS providers in helping to resolve the solution and are there forums to refer too? This is a strong reason for dealing with a company like Wikads, who know the software well, and are able to assist when needed.
SEO – the way a shopping cart is designed, can have a major implication on how Google will find your website, or if it will be found at all. Having the ability to set your own URL structure, page titles, H1 headers, Meta Data and navigation will all implicate the search engines web crawlers.
Gateway - what credit card processing companies are you able to integrate with the CMS?
Magento CMS for Shopping Cart Ecommece Web Design