Your business is up and running and you have an established content management system. Now you want to extend your digital presence for one or more business objectives. But how do you choose what e-commerce platform to integrate with your CMS?
The first step is to identify and clarify those business objectives -- have a game plan for what you wish to accomplish.
The second step is identifying the e-commerce capabilities that you need to add to your CMS to achieve those business objectives. An e-commerce platform includes features for online storefronts, product catalogs, shopping carts, checkout functions and connections with order fulfillment and payment processing systems. From a business perspective, prioritize what you need.
Consider the scale and velocity of your e‑commerce initiative, and ask yourself these questions: How many items will you offer? How frequently will you update them? How will you manage pricing? How many customers do you expect to serve? To get started, you may find it more cost-effective to integrate specific features into your CMS without investing in a comprehensive e-commerce platform. But also have a plan in place to scale and accommodate high numbers of customers and transactions.
Finally, consider the technical capabilities for integrating your CMS with an e-commerce platform. Your CMS vendor may offer prepackaged integrations with one or more e-commerce suppliers, and this may be the best time-to-results option -- particularly if you do not want to invest in an integration project.
Alternatively, you may want to adopt a best-of-breed approach, identify a preferred e-commerce platform and determine the integration steps. PaaS, including RESTful APIs running through cloud connections, makes e-commerce integration faster and easier than conventional approaches that rely on vendor-specific APIs and on-premises deployments. Investigate e-commerce offerings provided by third parties, such as fulfillment through Amazon -- they may speed your time to profitability.
Context matters and it's important to choose an e-commerce platform to fit your enterprise architecture. Assess the time and investments required for the integration effort, the functionality, and the total cost of ownership. You're making a business decision for the long run.
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