If you are looking to learn how to start an online store, implementing a content management system (CMS) is essential. Having an effective CMS can make it easier for you to run and manage an online store.
Whether you're looking to design a digital storefront or increase web traffic using SEO methods, eCommerce content management systems can boost your sales and help you stand apart from the competition.
However, not all eCommerce CMSs are created equally. While some offer a ton of features and options, others might not be as flexible for your store.
Therefore, it’s essential to understand the differences between the various eCommerce platforms before deciding which one is best for your online business.
I have created this how-to guide to help you figure out what kind of eCommerce system to implement based on features and pricing.
Let's get started!
What Is A CMS?
A content management system allows users to manage website content through a convenient user interface. Even with no programming knowledge, a CMS can help you create new content quickly.
With a content management system, there's no need to spend hours coding or having to deal with the cost of hiring a web developer—the right CMS will make your job easier.
CMSs typically have many features that support organizing content, like user-friendly interfaces and customizable templates to build your online shop. Additional benefits are SEO capabilities so that you can drive more traffic to your web pages and plugins for extra functionality.
What Is An eCommerce CMS?
An eCommerce platform is a customer-oriented online solution that facilitates the purchase and sale of products to buyers worldwide. Using these services, you can sell your goods using different channels—including on websites, social media platforms, and mobile apps. If you're entirely new to the eCommerce world, make sure to read about selling digital products as a self-employed side-hustle.
Many of these platforms include a content management system specifically designed for online stores to help users add, edit, and remove content from their websites with ease.
There are two kinds of eCommerce CMS systems: you can either buy a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) program or download an open-source eCommerce CMS platform for free.
Keep reading to explore the benefits of using eCommerce software so you can find the best system for your online shop.
10 Best eCommerce CMS Platforms
The following are 10 different CMSs that you might want to consider for your business. With each platform, I will review key features and prices so that you can find the perfect eCommerce CMS for your online business.
BigCommerce provides solutions for a wide array of industries, from health and beauty to automotive companies. The platform also offers specialized features depending on what kind of business you have, whether you're running a B2B business or an international company.
Due to the wide variety of CMS capabilities that BigCommerce provides, this eCommerce platform might be best for more established companies and entrepreneurs who will better understand how to use them or who already have experience running an online store.
Depending on your plan and whether you select annual or monthly, the pricing for BigCommerce varies. Luckily, you can get a 15-day free trial to decide if this company is right for you.
After your trial is over, there are three payment plans available. When paying annually, the prices are as follows:
Shopify is a CMS platform that can help you set up a professional-looking online store and sell products without doing a line of code. This platform is trusted by big companies like Heinz, Gymshark, and Redbull.
Shopify is one of the top platforms in the eCommerce industry due to the recognizable brands that use it, features such as its app store (with over 6,000 customizable apps), and Shopify Payments which is its own payment gateway.
Shopify also has a plan for any size business, so it can be great for both new online sellers and established store owners.
Pricing for Shopify depends on whether you choose Basic Shopify, Shopify, or Advanced Shopify. Let’s take a look at how much these different plans cost:
Before deciding which plan is best for you, know that Shopify recommends the basic plan for new eCommerce businesses, the mid-range plan for growing companies that sell both in-store and online, and the advanced plan for scaling online businesses that have a more extensive customer base.Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial.
Squarespace is a highly flexible all-in-one platform that allows you to create a professional-looking website with its award-winning website design templates. Squarespace is also one of the most user-friendly CMS platforms available today.
Due to the easy-to-use website and different pricing plans, Squarespace is beneficial for both personal use and companies that require a more advanced commerce plan.
There are four tiers of Squarespace pricing, making it flexible for however large your business is. If you decide to pay annually, you’ll save up to 30%:
Magento is an Adobe platform that makes it easy to create a compelling eCommerce store in just a few clicks. They have a variety of tools to help online businesses manage their e-store.
They power online stores of all sizes, from small businesses to marketing giants, making it a popular eCommerce content management system for various brands.
To receive an estimate on Magento pricing, please contact their sales team.
Jumpseller is a fully customizable eCommerce platform that provides users with several options for choosing a website theme. They boast a global presence, with more than 10,000 online stores that use their services.
Jumpseller offers a 14 day free trial on all plans. Once you’ve finished the trial, they offer four tiers of payment plans. You can select to pay monthly, yearly, or biennially—but you’ll save 20% by selecting the biennial plan:
Wix is a popular eCommerce website builder that allows users to create a unique digital presence without any technical expertise. With Wix, you can build an online store quickly—and you can even access many of their services for free!
While Wix has free options with all the basic features, you can also subscribe to their premium business and e-commerce plans. Their plans are as follows:
Here’s an article detailing differences between Shopify vs. Wix if you’d like to see a direct comparison between these two platforms.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform which means it's free to download and use. It provides users with over 30,000 free and paid extensions so you can customize the site to your needs.
The platform also provides tools that will allow you to manage orders, inventory, and shipping—just to name a few of its features.
You can read more about Shopify vs. WooCommerce to learn more about these two platforms.
While WooCommerce is free to download, there are many add-ons in the extension store. Paid extensions range from $1-$299.
OpenCart is an open-source software that provides a user-friendly interface that can be easily understood even by beginners. The CMS provides users with several third-party add-ons for better functionality.
In addition to all these benefits, OpenCart is free to use! You can easily download it here.
PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce platform that allows users to create a fully functional online store. It is one of the most popular platforms among small and large-scale retailers.
PrestaShop is free for personal use. If you want to build your online store easily, you can make an account and download Prestashop.
Drupal commerce is an open-source eCommerce solution with options for developers, marketers, and agencies. Drupal commerce provides users with a great deal of flexibility to create a customizable website.
Drupal is another free option, allowing users immediate access to the platform upon download. You can get Drupal here.
What Are The Benefits Of Using eCommerce CMS Platforms?
You may be interested in implementing a CMS, but I understand that it can be challenging to know where to start with your research. If you're shopping around for a platform, here are some benefits to look for.
Create And Edit Content With Ease
It's essential to have a clean, intuitive design that will enable you to publish content. If you don’t have prior programming knowledge and want to create content with ease, implementing a CMS can provide you with the tools to design a modern and neat interface for your store.
Flexible Design Options
The best eCommerce CMS platforms usually come with various pre-designed templates that you can use as-is or customize the way you desire. Free and paid themes can help you polish your online shop.
The more advanced the eCommerce software program you select, the more layouts and designs will be available to help meet your unique needs.
Remove Reliance On Developers
Implementing a CMS can help you save money, time, and effort because it will enable you to update content independently— CMSs are built on user-friendly interfaces to be managed by teams or individuals with limited technical expertise so that you won’t have to hire a web developer.
Integration with third-party tools can boost workflow, so it's essential for any platform you consider to provide compatibility with regularly used applications.
eCommerce websites should support integrations with third-party services, such as social media platforms and shipping applications, to make your job easier.
You want to be sure that your website is optimized for search engine rankings.
An eCommerce platform can help you get a better web page ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages), improving traffic and customer engagement.
Additional Channel For Reaching Potential Customers
An eCommerce platform can help bring in more customers through an increased online presence. Using an SEO-friendly CMS will rank your website higher regarding search engine results and increase its overall visibility.
Easy To Optimize For User Experience
Your eCommerce CMS should help improve user experience and encourage customers to engage with your brand. A sound system typically comes with tools that will enable you to maximize conversion rates, increase shareability and cultivate loyalty.
Optimized Content For Mobile
Having a CMS that is responsive to mobile devices can help you reach out to more customers. Many content management systems have a mobile app already available.Today, more than 45% of online sales happen on mobile phones and tablets. Therefore, it's therefore crucial for your eCommerce platform to be responsive so that your store will load perfectly on all screen sizes.
Collaboration With Your Team
The best eCommerce platforms should be collaborative and allow you to sync up with other team members. A collaboration functionality can help improve communication within your company, resulting in a well-organized workflow.
Secure And Easy To Use
It’s important that you and your customers feel secure when using a system that has your payment information. The eCommerce CMS plan you choose should be PCI compliant so you can protect your customers' data and prevent credit card fraud.
eCommerce CMS - FAQ
The primary purpose of using a CMS is to manage, edit, and publish content on an eCommerce website without coding or hiring a website developer.
Using an eCommerce CMS, online merchants can edit information on their websites without any technical expertise. This perk is one of the primary reasons most people prefer using eCommerce platforms to create online stores. Editing content has never been so easy before, thanks to these highly functional systems.
An eCommerce CMS is a web application that allows users to create their online store. These platforms are specifically designed for digital business owners to list and sell products on eCommerce websites. Many eCommerce CMSs have built-in features like an SEO system, social media integration, and customizable design templates.
Each platform has its own unique features and benefits that make it stand out from the crowd. You need to understand your business requirements and select a CMS platform accordingly.
Here is my preferred list of 10 of the best eCommerce CMSs:
Many platforms are open-source and free of charge, including Drupal, WooCommerce, OpenCart, and PrestaShop.
Others provide a variety of plans at different tiers, so the pricing may depend on the size of your business and the features you require. Annually or biennial plans tend to be the cheapest, coming in at $300/month at the highest price point.
As the eCommerce industry evolves, so should your platform.
Ecommerce platforms are the future of selling online, so it is more important than ever before for retailers to have an attractive and fully functional website.
Consider what you need out of an online store to make it work for your business or side-hustle. You can also check out my video on starting an eCommerce business if you need another resource.
Then, using our guide, compare which features each eCommerce platform offers, including pricing and key features, to find the perfect fit for your business!