E-commerce websites have been in demand for more than a decade. If you want to run a successful e-commerce website, several features must be present on the e-commerce CMS platform.
For example, it should not only be able to attract a significant amount of traffic, but it should also be manageable and modifiable. As time goes on, an e-commerce website should be able to morph and take new shapes and embed new functionalities.
Those who have already chosen their e-commerce website content management system but now want a change may have to go through a lot of hassle. The data transfer is not smooth and takes a lot of time and money.
Those who are yet to choose should try to understand that an e-commerce website CMS platform should satisfy a certain amount of features that would be discussed in this article.
The list, for sure, is not exhaustive and there may be certain lesser-known features here and there that might not feature in this article. However, we have certainly listed down those that should not be left out.
Talking about change, just like any other software, e-commerce CMS software too needs to be updated and have additional features. New features aren't required every year, but you can see a significant difference in the functions after a couple of years. The CMS of 2019 is not the same as the CMS of 2014.
Here are the top features of e-commerce CMS platforms you need to look out for in 2019
Table of Contents
1. ADMIN FEATURES
This is the very least that you can expect from your e-commerce CMS.
Administrative tools help maintain your e-commerce platform by giving you an ‘eagle's eye view.' Advanced administrative tools make content management easy and transparent. Also, they are pivotal in managing the different roles assigned to the various people who fill the website with content such as admins, content writers, and editors.
This feature also enables email alerts in case there are any changes to the content as well as support for various plugins.
2. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) TOOLS
One great thing about SEO is that it's merely the mention of a few words and phrases that can give your website a good search ranking for a search term.
Therefore, you should check if the CMS has any inbuilt tools for SEO or if any plugins are available for the same. Tools that add meta-data, and alt-tags, which have features that generate SEO-friendly URLs. Since voice search has also become prevalent, it should preferably have an option for microdata optimization.
The best way to get your e-commerce site fully optimized for search engines is by hiring a digital marketing company that knows how to utilize this SEO tool to give your website a higher ranking.
3. THIRD-PARTY INTEGRATION AND PLUGINS
No CMS is perfect and spot-on for every possible feature that could've been added.
A good CMS is capable of working with third-party software that helps improve its functionality by adding new features. All you have to do is to identify the particular requirement based on your needs and then look out for that plugin/software that can integrate with your e-commerce content management system.
Plugins and integrations can range from varied features such as SMO, SEO, tools such as calendar, tax calculator, Google Analytics, etc. However, always ensure that the source of your third party plugins have established credibility since specific plugins can make your website vulnerable to hacker attacks.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION CAPABILITY
According to various surveys carried out, almost 75% of customers use social media platforms for online shopping.
That makes social media integration a non-negotiable feature for your website. The software should contain features that enable data sharing between your e-commerce website and social media platforms.
This will enable your CMS platform to display information from your social media account. For example, you can make a post about a limited period offer on Facebook, and it will be automatically shared on your CMS.
Your e-commerce website should be ready for protection against malicious attacks.
Therefore, it should satisfy the PCI Security Standards, which are a set of 12 security standards that apply to those websites that accept and store information about payments.
Your CMS needs to be equipped with a secure payment gateway so that you can rest assured that the buyer's bank info remains encrypted. You should look for a platform that comes with features such as fraud protection as well as monitoring DDoS attacks, and you are going to need them as your store scales up over a period.
6. A PAYMENT GATEWAY COMPATIBLE WITH YOUR COUNTRY’S CURRENCY
One of the biggest reasons why excellent payment gateways are not used by some e-commerce sites is the lack of payment compatibility. Therefore, you should ensure that the payment gateway of your choice is compatible with your local currency. There are cases when an e-commerce vendor gives up an otherwise good payment gateway software only because it does not work with their local currency. Fortunately, many popular payment gateways have included the most frequently used currencies in their software, which improves the chances that your local currency might be a part of it.
7. ONLINE SUPPORT AND DOCUMENTATION
There will be times when you will face issues with your e-commerce CMS that you or your developers won't be able to solve. These problems can range anywhere from a small technical glitch to a topic with the payment gateway. Therefore, it is always better to check if the e-commerce CMS platform has online documentation that you can refer to while having any issues. It would be good if the CMS provider has an online support system such as email or live chat or even better, a VoIP call facility. This way, you can get your doubts or complaints expressed directly to the other side and thus get issues resolved in time.
8. AN EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF INVENTORY
Inventory management has become an essential feature in e-commerce CMS software in recent years. You can say that this feature is the extension of the admin panel, which is used to manage and maintain an inventory of the e-commerce site.
As products are added or removed from the stock, the developer manages the database accordingly. However, there are times when the site owner may have to exclude certain products or add new stock. This is where the inventory management feature helps you maintain the addition or subtraction of the products on your website.
In addition, this is not where an inventory management functionality ends. You can also use it for managing promotions,
Sales prices, coupons, and other content generated by the user.
9. OPTIMIZE CONTENT FOR MOBILE DEVICES
In the day and age of mobile computing devices, you cannot ignore making your e-commerce website mobile-friendly. This is where your content management system's mobile-friendly feature comes in handy and helps you optimize your site to fit the screen sizes of mobile phones and tablets.
10. PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION
This may seem like an advanced feature that you can let go. However, it's now become widespread across e-commerce websites. The feature is a typical characteristic of big e-commerce sites such as Amazon.com.
Fortunately, this does not require you to do any complicated coding if your e-commerce CMS comes equipped with a product recommendation feature.
Based on the purchasing or browsing pattern of your customers, the system learns and suggests relevant products to those customers.
For example, if a user has been browsing watches on your websites for quite some time, your system can recommend the kind of watch to buy.
This looks like an optional feature. In addition, of course, it is. However, as e-commerce websites become more interactive and try to gain feedback from customers through interactive methods, blogging hardly remains an option.
It is always a better idea to go for a CMS software that offers you blogging feature.
You can post updates about the latest features of your products, asking for suggestions as to how you can improve your customer service or what can be the possible ways you can make payments more comfortable and so on. There is so much you can communicate through an ‘in-house' blog on your e-commerce website.
Whenever you're in the market for a competent content management system for your e-commerce website, you should positively see if it checks off all these features. If not all, then at least most of them.
The good news is, you don't need to spend money on getting these systems added to your CMS functionality as they are becoming more prevalent and therefore free. However, it is good to read a review of the content management system software so that you are aware of what you are buying.