True advocates of Magento as a robust and highly-customizable ecommerce platform, we have been unlocking its potential for quite a while to know: there are no limits to extending the functionality to keep up with business goals. Every challenge of adding features to a web store or improving the default ones has a solution.
Working with ecommerce businesses, especially those focusing on ongoing growth, we have noticed that native Magento 2 CMS capabilities don’t fully suffice for efficient content management. Though covering basic needs, they fail to deliver a convenient page editor and diverse content types. But prior to criticizing Magento as a whole, take time to look through possible solutions and you will see – combining strong ecommerce and CMS components is achievable. We will start with available extensions and proceed to the integration of Magento and full-fledged CMS systems.
Ready-made Magento-CMS extensions
Merchants who own Magento-based web stores have access to a wide range of extensions and plugins on the Magento marketplace. Not tailor-made for a particular business, they might still cover a part of the required functionality.
DragDropr Visual Content Editor
This free extension offers an alternative to the native Magento 2 CMS editor. We would name the combination of simplicity and effectiveness as a hallmark of DragDropr Visual Content Editor. When installed in a Magento-based web store, this handy tool facilitates a content-related part of work for admins. They create visually appealing content or edit existing pages without much effort. Here is what distinguishes the tool from the default Magento 2 WYSWIG editor:
- The drag and drop editor has an intuitive interface so admins can start working with it without prior training.
- No programming skills are required.
- Building a page, admins instantly see how it will look in the front end.
- There are 200 ready-made building blocks and a possibility to create custom ones.
- The extension is compatible with both Magento versions.
MGS Front-End Builder
Magento admins are used to making changes in the back end and switching to the front end to see them applied. MGS Front-end Builder offers an entirely new approach to page editing. Having installed the extension, store admins can enable Active Builder and work with content straightly in the front end. With a handy drag and drop page builder at their disposal, they can add a new block to a page and fill it with information. There are such content options as text, images, product lists, social media buttons, testimonials and banners just to name a few. The solution is tailor-made for non-techies who can easily experiment with the look and feel of website pages and instantly see the result.
Advanced Content Manager
While the two above-mentioned extensions address the visual presentation of the content, the next solution settles the issue with content diversity. Nowadays, when online shoppers are spoiled for choices, ecommerce businesses target at standing out and create unique content. And since each web store has product descriptions and images, sellers look for other ways to be valuable for customers.
Advanced Content Manager allows adding various content types to a web store. Merchants can make important announcements in news articles, give fresh ideas in lookbooks, provide testimonials as social proof for potential customers or share tips, guidelines, recipes, etc. in a blog. One solution combines a wide range of possibilities to create customer-oriented content.
Let’s see how the extension works. For example, a seller decided to start running a blog. First of all, he or she chooses Manage Content Types in Advanced Content section, creates a new content type and adds there any fields he or she needs. These can be a title, an image, a thumbnail, a description, a date and so on. Having a content type created, the seller uses it for blog posts. As simple as that.
Unfortunately, the extension developers haven’t addressed the issue of CMS editor – they use the default Magento one.
CMS Display Rules
Though this CMS plugin doesn’t solve the two Magento CMS problems (a page editor and limited content types), we have included CMS Display Rules in our list for a good reason. We have once discussed how to apply Magento customer segmentation to email marketing activities but with a custom module this capability has even greater potential. As its name indicates, the CMS Display Rules extension allows varying the visibility of the content for different customer segments. Let’s consider two use cases of the extension.
Task. You seek to encourage bulk purchases.
Solution. You can customize the registration form in your Magento web store asking customers who are planning bulk purchases to identify themselves and, as a result, create a separate customer segment – wholesalers. Using CMS Display Rules extension, you can offer special conditions for them. For example, you can create pages with products available for bulk ordering, a CMS page with delivery terms for wholesalers or promotional banners with volume discounts.
Task. You allow for guest orders to increase sales. Still, you want more customers to log in to keep in touch with them by emailing about new offerings, time-limited sales or back-in-stock products.
Solution. As a part of your strategy, you can offer some perks to logged-in customers. Even a minimum discount may become an incentive – a customer logs in, you add an email to your list and ensure an efficient follow-up communication.
Thus, the CMS Display Rules extension can contribute to developing an engaged customer base.
Magento blog as a way to talk to customers
Merchants are fighting for loyal customers by setting special discounts, providing early access to new collections or informing about attractive offers by email. More rarely, sellers engage customers by diverse content, although the efficiency of this soft sell technique is evident. In this regard, a blog can enormously contribute to establishing ongoing customer communication. Running a blog by no means is limited to announcing upcoming sales. Each ecommerce business can find the way to be valuable for its customers: food delivery services can share recipes, apparel stores – discuss emerging trends or publish style guides and furniture sellers – offer design ideas.
While Magento 2 doesn’t have blogging out of the box and merchants might seek possible solutions, we would recommend taking a closer look at WordPress. This is a well-known blogging platform that powers more than 28% of the web. And the number is growing!
Let’s see the key features of WordPress as a CMS solution for Magento 2:
Flexibility. In the best tradition of Magento approach, WordPress offers a rich default package of functionality and limitless customization possibilities. With thousands of plugins at their disposal, merchants can implement their ideas by extending CMS features.
Ease of use. There is no need to thoroughly study the system to start working with WordPress. An intuitive interface makes the process of creating and publishing blog posts user-friendly and easy.
SEO-friendliness. Enriching their content with blog posts or news articles, merchants hope for higher positions in Google and larger organic traffic. WordPress comes optimized for search engines by default plus there are ready-made SEO plugins.
Role-based access. Clearly defining the team responsible for content management and assigning relevant permissions, sellers ensure website security and information integrity.
Multilingual support. Not being limited to English-speaking users, WordPress offers support for more than 80 additional languages. These two last features, role-based access and multilingual support, go with additional plugins.
Having complemented their Magento-based web store with a WordPress blog, merchants invest more time and effort in content management but have their investments fully returned in the form of engaged and loyal audience.
Integration with a separate CMS system
As the expectations for content-rich ecommerce websites evolve, merchants might consider adding a third-party CMS system to their business. Expert Magento developers must conduct the integration to ensure the two systems work together flawlessly.
We feel like we have saved the best bit for last. Integrating a Magento web store and Pimcore makes efficient synergy of ecommerce and content management possible. Having chosen this solution for one of our ecommerce projects, we see how it works in practice.
In Pimcore, store admins work with three basic sections that fully cover CMS needs:
Documents. These are website pages. Users can easily edit them as well as experiment with page types (blog, lookbook, success stories, etc.). Using drag and drop page editor, they piece together content blocks, change their layout or size in a matter of seconds and instantly preview the result. The process becomes less technical and more creative, which is exactly what ecommerce marketers need. Pimcore also settles the problem with time-sensitive content as it allows setting a publishing schedule.
Assets. This is the center for media content such as pictures, product photos, PDFs.
Data objects. The content for this section goes directly from Magento – it is product assortment. The integration between Pimcore and Magento 2 allows for automatic synchronization, so users don’t waste time manually uploading items in data objects.
A few last words
We have enumerated possible ways to improve the CMS component in Magento 2. As always, there is no universal solution for all ecommerce companies. Starting from the analysis of your business goals in terms of website content and in-depth discussion with your Magento consultants, you will definitely find your own way to develop a data-driven website and be valuable for customers.
Tanya Yablonskaya is Ecommerce Industry Analyst at ScienceSoft, an IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. After 2+ years of exploring the cryptocurrency and blockchain sphere, she has shifted the focus of interest to ecommerce industry. Delving into this enormous world, Tanya covers key challenges online retailers face and unveils a wealth of tools they can use to outpace competitors.