E-commerce CMS Comparison: Top 5 Content Management Systems for Online Stores

E-commerce CMS Comparison: Top 5 Content Management Systems for Online Stores

By 2020, the global e-commerce market is expected to reach $ 4 trillion. It’s no wonder so many businessmen consider launching an online store right now! However, the success of your endeavor largely depends on the choice of shopping cart software. What is the best CMS for e-commerce? Get the answer here!

Choosing CMS for e-commerce: top 5 content management systems

  • WordPress. Originally developed as a blogging platform, WordPress (written in PHP and MySQL) now powers 58.9% of all CMS websites. Although the content management system is available in two versions (WordPress.com and WordPress.org), we strongly recommend that you choose the latter (it is self-hosted) and address a reliable vendor to set up a fully functional store using the existing and custom WP plugins. What makes WordPress a great CMS for an e-commerce website? First, the WP community offers over 36 thousand paid and free design themes and plugins including WooCommerce (which is favored by 17% of e-retailers), MarketPress WP and Jigoshop. Second, the CMS supports integration with popular CRM solutions, social media, email platforms and payment services. Finally, it’s WP’s out-of-the-box nature and easy management. In case you’re building your first online store to test the waters, a skilled PHP developer can put up a nice-looking and secure e-commerce website in just 40 hours – and it won’t take you long to master your content management skills since every WP challenge you might face has already been solved and documented;
  • Magento. Another PHP content management system on our list, Magento is used by 30% of the world’s biggest online stores and has established itself as the only specialized e-commerce CMS on the market. Magento is also available as a hosted & self-hosted solution. Although Permira (the platform’s sole owner) provides flexible billing plans, offers assistance with website management and rolls out frequent security and functionality updates, choosing the hosted version may not prove cost-effective in the long run. Ways out? You can download the self-hosted version and build a store from scratch. With the massive developer support, proliferation of marketing automation tools and over 9 thousand extensions available on Magento Marketplace, it won’t be too difficult. Mind that there’s no talking about DIY web development here: the CMS has a complex architecture and might slow down your website’s speed unless the code is written with scalability in mind. The CMS is most suitable for small and medium-sized stores (up to 50 thousand catalog items);
  • Joomla. The CMS – and its VirtueMart extension in particular – is a SEO-friendly multi-language solution with in-built invoicing and inventory management capabilities that is used by over 1% of all online stores. Joomla is often considered the middle ground between WP and Drupal; it’s less complicated and offers over 8 thousand ready-to-use plugins and design themes to streamline website development. In order to unlock VirtueMart’s mobile compatibility, you’ll have to download the iVM Store app from Google Play or the App Store. VirtueMart is a great out-of-the-box e-commerce solution (500+ features available by default) for small- and medium-sized online shops;
  • PrestaShop. Although the content management system has evolved from a student project (!), it now powers over 9% of e-commerce websites out there. Depending on your budget and growth strategy, you can opt for a hosted (PrestaShop Cloud) or self-hosted (PrestaShop Download) e-commerce solution. Unlike Permira, the company does not charge customer fees and makes good money through the distribution of plugins (aka addons) and partnership deals. A PS website can be integrated with popular payment services including Stripe and PayPal, as well as social media and delivery automation plugins. Most useful PS extensions, however, may cost you an arm and a leg. Due to complex code structure and script architecture, the CMS is most suitable for small e-commerce stores;
  • Drupal. The second most popular content management system powers the world’s largest and most secure websites including Nasa and the White House. Built with scalability in mind, Drupal enables companies to start with a 5 page website and increase the number of pages a thousandfold. Although the CMS was initially planned for content creation and distribution, its Drupal Commerce plugin is a great choice for retailers that sell non-traditional products (such as advertising space and content available on subscription basis). The content management system, however, supports dynamic product displays and a wide range of sales management options including delivery, tax calculation, discounts and social media integration. Also, the global Drupal development community offers awesome e-commerce tutorials and extensive documentation.

The comparison of most popular e-commerce CMS solutions makes little sense unless you define your business strategy before a single line of code is written.

What products are you going to sell? Do you have a solid dev budget to hire experienced Drupal or Magento software engineers? How much traffic do you expect? Can you employ a tech specialist to handle maintenance issues or are you going to manage content and roll out updates yourself? What about POS and inventory management functionality? Finally, where do you plan to be in 12 months?

Answering these questions will help you make the right CMS choice and… outperform fellow online businessmen. And while you’re at it, you can check our e-commerce portfolio at r-stylelab.com (no pushy marketing intended). Good luck!

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