Increasing ROI With an Integrated eCommerce and CMS Platform
Build a Better Website and Drive Your eCommerce
Using Content Marketing to Drive ROI
eCommerce isn't just about putting products up on a store. A successful online storefront requires growing your brand, driving new traffic, increasing loyalty, and driving repeat sales.
If you launch it, they will not come.
There are too many players in the eCommerce world at this point to not have a strategy of driving new relevant buyers to your site, and then convert them once they get there. All of this requires strong marketing capabilities.
Initially, you can do a lot with your eCommerce platform. You can optimize your SEO, you can leverage advertising, and you can work on optimizing conversion rates. However, at some point, you'll need to expand beyond baseline B2C marketing tactics to grow. In the end, your eCommerce platform is software designed to do one thing: host, manage, and process transactions. It’s not designed to do microsites, support strong content strategies, ambassador programs, community engagement, gated content, or run giveaways.
A Content Management System paired with an eCommerce platform is the best way to get this functionality. This pairing gives your users a seamless brand experience, and it gives you, the business owner and your team, the technical ability and reduces your marketing limitation. Making the sky the limit for you business.
What you need is an integrated website—a CMS and an eCommerce platform.
Running a Paired eCommerce Platform
Managing your website will take place from two different administrative panels. While this may sound tedious, we’ve actually found that it makes content management—both the CMS and eCommerce fronts—a lot easier. In fact, it makes website management altogether a lot easier. Controlling eCommerce-specific or content marketing-specific tasks through an interface that has been specifically designed for those operations is much simpler than the alternative.
What an Integrated Website Looks Like to Your User
The purpose of an integrated platform (and why the complexity of building it requires skilled developers) is that together, two platforms create one website. That means that the functionalities of the two different platforms can appear together throughout your website.
Your user will experience your website as a single site, even as they’re moving between your eCommerce and CMS platforms. The page they’re currently on could feature product information managed from your eCommerce platform as well as additional, promotional content–managed through your CMS. On the front-end of your website, your user won’t experience any abrupt changes, as if they’re moving between two different websites, but experience the same branded content, design, and layout as they move between your two platforms.
How Brands Utilize Integrated Websites
Oiselle Running, a women’s fitness apparel company that originated in Seattle, eventually outgrew its original eCommerce functionality. They first built their website on an installation of Drupal, and then extended it with an Ubercart customizer. To handle the growth of their online success, they needed an eCommerce store that could handle promotions, cross-sells, social media integrations, and advanced post order processing.
They phased out their Ubercart extension, and built out their website with a Magento® eCommerce platform. Like Drupal, Magento is also an open-source platform, and they were able to freely design how the two platforms would integrate together, both visually and functionally.
Diamondback Bicycles’ website is built similarly, on an integration of a Drupal CMS for handling more complex content marketing campaigns and a Magento eCommerce platform. Diamondback has utilized the integrated functionality of their two platforms by creating unique, shopping experiences for their users.
For example, product pages are built in Drupal and feature product customizer tools built with Magento SKU data.
Some Points to Consider
Does operating and maintaining two platforms require double the maintenance?
Potentially. Working with open source, enterprise-level website platforms–whether CMS or eCommerce–always requires initial development in order to get them up and running. But it isn’t always the platforms themselves that dictate maintenance, development, or even expense (both Drupal and Magento, the two open source platforms we work with most often, provide free versions with no annual licensing costs).
What content should your users interact with first?
The better question would be, where do you want your user to engage with your store first?
- Content First
Your sales funnel starts with your user engaging with a piece of content, maybe an embedded video, blog post, or image.
- Store First
You anticipate browsers who are specifically looking for you and the product you provide, and want them to navigate directly to the store. The content that you have on your website (an Instagram feed displaying images of customers with your product, linked blog posts) provides additional context or research resources for your product.
Our recommendation would be to get your users into the shopping experience as fast as possible. Which would result in having your store be your root domain (www.mystore.com), and then your content can pulled into the domain e.g. www.mystore.com/blog. This allows for a seamless user experience which is great for conversions, but also allows you to avoid subdomains, which are bad for your SEO.
Does My eCommerce Website Really Need a CMS?
A CMS enables smarter, faster marketing using content to provide context for the selling experience created by your eCommerce website. There are some content marketing abilities that a CMS platform is built to handle, that you may miss out on with just an eCommerce platform. Leveraging personalized content based on user preferences, history, and location is much easier with a CMS–as well as handling mobile responsive design, and localized content.
For a web administrator that isn’t also an experienced web developer, an integrated website provides the easiest path to managing both advanced content marketing and eCommerce tactics on the same website.