Finding the best e-commerce CMS platform (Content Management System) for your e-commerce business website is one of the best decisions you can ever make this year. With a top-notch CMS system, you can build a flexible, scalable, and highly-functional e-commerce website that will drive quality traffic and generate sales to your website.
A good Content Management System (CMS) makes running an e-commerce store easy. Instead of spending hours on creating your website from scratch by coding and doing other technical stuff, a CMS platform will solve this problem by allowing you to make a website without writing a single code or learning programming.
Using an e-commerce platform allows you to create and update your online store through an easy-to-use editor rather than coding. This way, you can focus on selling your products.
Ecommerce CMS platforms are very popular among small business owners who aren’t yet tech-savvy enough to design a website from scratch. But by using a CMS platform, you can still tap into your creativity and make a website on your own.
There are different CMS platforms out there, but understanding the benefits and setbacks of the different CMS platforms will help you make the right decision when setting up your online shop. That's why this article is going to take you through the top 8 e-commerce platforms that will generate sales and help increase conversion.
What is a CMS Platform?
A CMS (content management system) platform refers to a piece of software that allows you to easily manage, create, edit and publish content on your website. You can also import other forms of digital content like images, videos, GIFs, illustrations, etc with the CMS platform.
An e-commerce CMS enabled platform helps users launch and set up an online store for selling their products and services. Each e-commerce CMS enabled platform has its strengths and weaknesses. However, they all seem to give business owners a unique way to sell their products to their clients. They are particularly useful for startups who have no experience in coding or programming, or those who are working with a tight or difficult budget. Most e-commerce CMS platforms come with specific designs and features that make them easy to customize.
Features of An CMS e-commerce platform
There are a lot of CMS platforms out there, but there are some essential features you have to look for in a CMS e-commerce platform. They include;
1. An easy to use platform
The essence of a CMS platform is to give you the same experience a programmer or a web developer will get when they develop or build a website. Therefore for a beginner or startup business owner, you might want to go for an e-commerce platform that is easy to use. This way, you can create and edit content. With an easy to use platform, you can drag and drop items, which makes it easy for you to add different elements to your website without knowing how to code.
Furthermore, the platforms should be user-friendly and let you carry out some basic stuff like content updates, SEO and adding and editing elements on your page effortlessly. They should be easy to install and set up. Things like hosting, security, speed, domain registration of the website should all be taken care of.
2. SEO friendly
Another thing to consider when choosing your CMS platform is the overall search engine optimization of that platform. SEO is a very important factor when it comes to Google and other search engines search page ranking. SEO can help you generate traffic, awareness, rank on Google search result page and ultimately generate sales. Therefore, your CMS platform should enable you to manually control your page URL. This is because short URLs that contain keywords rank higher in search engine results.
You should also go for CMS platforms that lets you adjust your page titles and meta description or one that offers auto-generated title and meta description features.
Furthermore, ensure that your CMS let you feature instant social sharing buttons on your pages. Some CMS may require third-party extensions to do this.
3. Easy integrations
It is important to choose CMS platforms that can integrate with other tools to aid your e-commerce platform. You should be mindful of how easily the system integrates with other tools and the number of available extensions they offer. Platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce offer plenty of extensions that can be integrated to enhance your website’s performance.
Another important feature when considering an e-commerce platform is cost. Cost varies with different CMS and the services they provide. Some platforms can cost less than $30 a month, while some cost more than that. Make sure you research thoroughly on one that will fit your budget and still provide you with the services you need. A basic CMS e-commerce website will ask you to pay for hosting, domain, plugins, themes, advanced features, etc.
8 Best E-commerce CMS Platforms
WordPress is the most popular CMS platform in the world. Statistics show that about 28% of all e-commerce websites use WordPress as their content management system. With WordPress, you don't have to pay to use their basic technology. It comes with various free themes that you can install to start building your e-commerce website. To make adjustments to any theme design, you can always add custom codes. Many small and medium businesses use WordPress plugins to make it easier to create and run their site.
These plugins include the WooCommerce plugin which offers various selections of extensions and themes which are mostly available for free. It also can be integrated with tools like MailChimp, HubSpot, or OptiMonk which are incredibly popular themes. There is also a WordPress plugin for BigCommerce for easy integration and convenience. It also comes with features such as abandoned cart recovery, coupons and discounts and single-page checkout that comes out of the box with the BigCommerce SaaS platform.
- It comes with various e-commerce plugins
- You can easily integrate your various social media accounts
- Integrate with various payment gateways
- It allows you to publish written and video content
- It comes with various SEO extensions
- It’s a free and open-source e-commerce platform
- It is flexible and allows you the freedom to build any kind of website
- It does not require any technical skills or coding knowledge.
- You can give your store a unique look due to the customization options
- You have access to an unlimited amount of plugins
- You’ll need to arrange for hosting and domain name
- You are also responsible for managing security and backup.
At the basic form, WordPress doesn’t cost anything. However, you will need a domain name that can range between $10 and $30 and a hosting account to run WordPress for about $7.99/month.
Note that there are always discount on hosting which can reduce the price to about $2.75/month and a free domain and free SSL. You can checkout Bluehost for your domain name and hosting starting from $2.75/month and a free domain name.
Shopify is another CMS platform that is made specifically for e-commerce websites or stores. It is very powerful and well equipped. It is an all-in-one hosted CMS platform which saves you the time and effort of buying a domain name and web hosting. You can easily install any software, manage updates and backups
It also comes with useful plugins and themes that can be installed to give your website a professional look. Developers can also edit their CSS and HTML code.
- It comes with social media integration
- Can easily be integrated with desktop, mobile, and in-store sales
- Allows you to set up gift cards, discounts, and coupons
- Help you set up contact forms
- Comes with a built-in mobile commerce shopping cart
- It comes with a mobile app that helps store owners keep track of sales
- Shopify provides 24/7 support through email platforms, various social media, LiveChat and telephone calls.
- It also comes with written and video tutorials and online forums
- There are lots of extensions and themes available for Shopify.
- It integrates with many payment options
- Sales made through third-party payment providers come with a transaction fee
- Most themes on the platform aren’t free
- There is a basic plan that goes for $29 a month
- Then a more upgraded plan which goes for $79 a month
- And an Advanced Shopify that goes for $299 a month
Magento is another famous open-source eCommerce platform. The CMS e-commerce platform supports over 260,000 online stores worldwide. It comes with various functions and extensions and integrates with various CRM, ERP, chatbots and other enterprise-level software. Developed by PHP, Magento enables store owners to build their online businesses with ease.
- It has a drag and drops solution for eCommerce website builders
- Offers personalize content and promotions
- You can easily drive engagement and sales with relevant product recommendations
- It makes it easy to create, preview and schedule content
- It allows users to manage stores through an intuitive and user-friendly interface
- It comes with built-in themes that are highly responsive and SEO optimized to any device
- Up to mark inventory management system
- Magento’s plans are quite expensive compared to other platforms
- It also needs hosting
Starting price: $1988/month
BigCommerce is a well-known e-commerce platform that helps businesses owner start to build and maintain their website. It is used by large brands like Toyota, Burrow, and Skullcandy.
They have a powerful and highly-flexible website editor and customizable templates. You can also edit all their HTML and CSS code. It integrates a lot of important e-commerce solutions like LiveChat, CRM into its CMS. They have advanced SEO features, sales analytics, and a suite of social media-focused marketing tools.
- You can easily create and edit pages with drag and drop solutions
- Easy checkout customization
- optimized for mobile devices
- Accept various payment gateways and support deposits
- Allows for easy integration of third-party apps and plugins
- Easy to use website builder
- Has good support for blogging
- WordPress integration
- It is easy to use
- It provides a large option of themes
- Effective customer service
- It isn’t an open-source e-commerce solution
- Accessing all its features is quite expensive
- Fewer extensions are available compared to other platforms
- There is a Standard plan with comes at $29/month
- A Plus version that comes at $79.95/month
- It also comes with a Pro Plan of $299.95/month
- And an Enterprise: Request for price
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that runs on WordPress. It is a customizable plugin that can be added to any WordPress site. The WooCommerce plugin transforms a WordPress website into an online store. It comes with a large number of free extensions and themes that make it attractive to e-commerce store owners. Furthermore, it also supports multiple payment methods which is an essential part of any eCommerce store.
- Provides Flexible and secure payments
- Accept various major credit card bank transfers, checks, COD, and 140 region-specific payment gateways.
- Comes with a mobile app for iOS and android
- Comes with a large collection of free and paid extensions ranging from store enhancements, marketing integrations, multichannel to point of sale
- provides unlimited customization
- Easy to manage product categories
- Real-time shipping rates
- customizable themes
- Unlimited products
- Comes with a large number of extensions
- Some extensions are not free
- Can be used only on WordPress site
- Need to install additional plugins for advanced features which might not be free
Drupal is an open-source e-commerce CMS platform that enables e-commerce businesses to build professional websites from scratch. However, drupal is not an eCommerce first platform, but with the combination of plugins, it can serve as an eCommerce support. Drupal can achieve basic e-commerce functions like order management, shopping cart, and payment processing through plugins.
You can also use Drupal Commerce a subsidiary of Drupal which is an e-commerce platform similar to WooCommerce.
- It is very flexible and easy to customize
- It supports the use of multiple languages
- There’s a built-in workflow system
- Drupal isn’t locked into any of the SaaS e-commerce CMS platforms
- Drupal separates the back-end and front-end of an online store.
- It can be quite difficult to use
- Not as many third-party apps and plugins as WordPress
Drupal commerce is free to use
OpenCart is another CMS e-commerce platform that is popular among users. It is an open-source platform and it is very easy to use. OpenCart comes with a useful and customizable plugin without monthly fees. You just need to install, choose the template, and add products.
It offers over 14,000 extensions and themes to e-commerce businesses of any size and integrates more than 20 payment gateways and over eight shipping methods.
- It comes with over 14,000 extensions
- Easily integrates with more than 20 payment gateways
- Supports several shipping methods
- You can add discounts, coupons, pop-ups, and other features through free extensions
- Offers an overview of total orders, sales, customers, sales analytics via the administrator dashboard
- OpenCart features are free
- User-friendly administrator
- Easy payment processors and payment gateways
- Easy and fast to set up and configure a new simple shopping cart website
- Some of the templates look outdated relative to modern SaaS CMS e-commerce websites
- The platform is quite buggy and lack security
- Not an ideal choice for larger eCommerce stores
- Some developer skills are needed sometimes as an admin
- Paid support from OpenCart’s approved partners
PrestaShop is another open-source eCommerce platform with extensive backend code customization. According to PrestaShop, about 300,000 e-commerce businesses are using their platforms. It is often used as stores install and allows users to customize the storefront with ease.
You can also select a fully-hosted or self-hosted version to determine your level of technical control. The platform comes with all the essentials for online stores like payment systems. You can also enhance your website performance with additional plug-ins and themes.
- It comes with an easy-to-use template editor
- Integrates well with social media
- Choose from lots of options to add payment gateways
- Even the free version is secure
- Easy to create product categories and subcategories
- Easy and inexpensive to set up and running
- Easy to install and configure
- You can't access customer support unless you’re on one of their premium plans.
- Addons are a bit expensive
PrestaShop is free, however, you need to pay for their hosting plan and add-on modules.
Choosing the best CMS platform for your e-commerce website can be time-consuming and a difficult task, especially for startups. You have to research things like price, SEO, mobile-friendliness among other things before you can decide on which CMS platform to build your e-commerce website. However, with the above list, I have compiled some of the best CMS platforms for e-commerce businesses with their pricing, features, pros, and cons to help you find the most suitable platform for your business.