eCommerce is expanding at a faster rate than traditional retail, and that trend will only grow stronger as consumers continue online migration with a flood of new Web devices. Internet merchants need to make the customer experience a top priority in order to stand out from the crowd. That means providing a comprehensive, 360-degree online shopping experience, according to Mike O’Connor, co-founder and North America president of Commerce Guys, creators of Drupal Commerce and other open-source eCommerce solutions. A positive shopping experience is one that incorporates rich graphics, integrated social media conversations, context-aware information, mobile functionality and more. “To engage consumers with that rich user experience, Internet merchants need a Content Management System (CMS) that is adept at all aspects of eCommerce.” An eCommerce site must present shoppers with product images, product descriptions, pricing and much more in an aesthetically appealing and easy-to-browse presentation. Internet merchants need a CMS that enables their team to manage and update all of the necessary content to provide a meaningful user experience from one central location, he continues.
Global and Mobile
Technology advancements and shifts in the way users are accessing the Web have opened up a swath of new approaches to optimize eCommerce. Perhaps the biggest change lies in the growth of mobile Internet use. Web searches on mobile devices have increased 400 percent since 2010 and mobile Web use nearly doubles every year. “An eCommerce solution that is adept at reaching the mobile market will keep Internet merchants in the game as smartphones and tablets become ubiquitous browsers,” O’Connor notes. Leveraging the proper CMS for eCommerce cannot only optimize access to mobile consumers, it can simplify mobile strategy as well. A flexible CMS can power a responsive design eCommerce site that optimizes its presentation to fit the screen of whatever device is accessing it. This enables Internet merchants to reach users on any and all devices, from desktop to smartphone. Another mobile strategy is to develop a native app for an eCommerce store. “Both approaches are better solutions than running a separate mobile site as well as a traditional eCommerce site,” O’Connor stresses. “Without a CMS that has the dexterity to support them, however, neither approach will excel.”
The globalized nature of online purchasing is another driver for strong content management in eCommerce. “Internet retailers can reach consumers the world over, but that means translating content into hundreds of languages and prices into numerous currencies,” O’Connor points out. Building these functions out from a strictly eCommerce platform is not easy, but a robust CMS can easily handle these. “For Internet merchants to succeed in engaging customers, they must focus on content management before anything else,” O’Connor concludes. “Selecting the right CMS paired with checkout functionality will enable Internet merchants to provide customers with the rich graphics and diverse content that will keep them coming back to an eCommerce shop.”