Online retailers may face a situation where they want to engage visitors via diverse and visually appealing content but are restricted by the content management capabilities of their eCommerce platform. Possible solutions to this challenge differ depending on weak spots of each platform and a retailer’s expectations can vary from customizing a page editor to integrating a standalone CMS.
In continuation of our guest blog series, we are happy to welcome another contributor: Darya Afonava. She is a marketing partnership manager at ScienceSoft, a US-headquartered provider of IT consulting services and custom software development with 500+ IT professionals located internationally. For the last 29 years, ScienceSoft has been bringing custom and platform-based solutions to large and midsized companies in Healthcare, Banking, Retail, Telecom, and other industries.
Online retailers may face a situation where they want to engage visitors via diverse and visually appealing content but are restricted by the content management capabilities of their eCommerce platform. Possible solutions to this challenge differ depending on weak spots of each platform and a retailer’s expectations can vary from customizing a page editor to integrating a standalone CMS. It’s the second solution we used in the project, that we are going to describe. Let’s see how integrating Pimcore (a full-fledged CMS) has worked out for a retailer working with Magento.
A Short Backstory
Our team was working with a fashion retailer who wanted to implement omnichannel in their business. To put it more accurately, they ran brick-and-mortar stores and presented products online in a Magento-based catalog. However, gradually our customer’s online presence matured into a classy media-rich web store, where they couldn’t just sell but announce in-store events and publish blog posts. The choice of the platform was settled as ‘Magento’, since it fully met their eCommerce requirements and they didn’t see any need to migrate. We too aimed to stay with the platform and deliver effective content management functionality for the customer.
However, due to many years in Magento consulting, we could quickly identify the limitations of Magento CMS for this project. They were:
- An inconvenient page editor
- Limited content types
The solution didn’t take long. We decided to engage two systems – Magento would keep on performing eCommerce functions (order management, marketing promotions, checkout, payment, and more) and a third-party CMS would take over the responsibility for the content. We opted for Pimcore as it provided the level of content management just in line with the customer’s expectations (a fancy web store with diverse content).
What The Integration Offered
When integrated with Magento, Pimcore upgraded the content management in the web store to a higher level. Here are the details:
1) Handy page editing with a drag-and-drop page builder
Magento’s default WYSIWYG editor is inconvenient to go beyond simple information pages and create complex page layouts with banners, images, product lists and more. To counter this inconvenience, Pimcore offers a drag-and-drop page builder. It uses various page types and blocks called editables (that includes banners, images, descriptions, product lists, etc.) to construct a page so that one can experiment with its layout and look.
We tailored the Pimcore application to the customer’s business and created a variety of page and editable types. With that, we achieved a 5-step process of creating website pages for the customer:
1) Choosing a page type
2) Adding necessary editables to outline the page structure
3) Filling in the editables with content (text, images, links, etc.)
4) Previewing the page and polishing it if needed
5) Publishing the page
While editing pages, content managers work seamlessly with marketing and product information as the product catalog is synchronized with Magento. They don’t need to manually upload products for marketing activities; instead, they easily drag and drop required items while creating promotional banners or product lists.
Suitable for Non-Techies
The drag-and-drop page editor in Pimcore has one more advantage that has turned out to be critical for the customer. Creating a more sophisticated page design in Magento requires the knowledge of HTML and CSS. In our project, this contradicted the customer’s requirements as their marketing team (read: non-techies) handled the content management.
Now, the customer is happy with the simplicity of creating content in Pimcore. Marketers can just focus on achieving the desired look and feel of the website, instead of coming up with ways to implement their ideas technically.
2) Diverse Content
The customer wanted their web store to be a community of people passionate about style and fashion. A blog for creating engaging content and a website section for announcing events, were the tools to put the idea into reality.
Magento limits available page types to informational (Home Page, About Us, Customer Service) and catalog (categories, products) pages. While staying solely with Magento, the customer couldn’t engage with their audience in the ways they wanted.
Pimcore supports different content types. As for the described project, we came up with a ‘Blog’ and ‘Events’ section. It is also safe to say that we will be able to scale up easily if the customer wishes to diversify their content in the future.
3) Intuitive Interface
Pimcore comes with a user-friendly interface. There are 3 key elements – Documents, Assets and Data Objects – that are basically the core of content management. Users create website pages in Documents, upload images to Assets and have structured data (categories, products, events) in Data Objects. After a short introductory training, the customer’s marketing team quickly got comfortable with the platform, and now they easily create, transfer, change, replace, and remove content objects.
What CMS Brings To eCommerce Businesses
Online retailers should stand by their ideas to manage the content in their web stores efficiently. Even if an eCommerce platform lacks a strong CMS component, there is always a possibility that can provide an appropriate technical solution. For example, having integrated Pimcore into an eCommerce business, we provided the retailer with a possibility to quickly create pages with complex layouts and rich graphics, announce events in the web store and engage with visitors through their blog.