What Is a Content Management System (CMS)?

Content management systems are essential to e-commerce. Learn about exactly what they are, and how Shopify and their store owners use one!

Content Management Systems in E-Commerce

Ever wondered why you don’t need to know code in order to run a Shopify store? You can thank content management systems! Content management systems, usually abbreviated to CMS, are the user-facing interfaces that allow site owners to alter their site content without tapping into the actual computer code. Content management systems are absolutely vital in today’s world of inclusive technology, functioning as the bridge between sites and their managers. On Shopify, a CMS is what allows store owners to change their store’s content as well as handle managerial duties like inventory and employee schedules. Without a CMS, anyone who doesn’t know code — a fairly large portion of us! — would be unable to customise a website.

What Is a Content Management System?

To begin, let's define exactly what a CMS is. Content management systems are essentially softwares that help its users modify the content on their website without the need for specialized knowledge. It can be thought of as an interface for those who don’t know how to code, made by those who do. In this regard, users don't have to worry about infrastructure.

Content management systems consist of two main parts: the content management application (CMA) and the content delivery application (CDA). The CMA allows you to add and manage content on your site, and it’s what most of us think of when we imagine content management systems. A CDA is the more backend aspect of a CMS. It stores your content and makes it functional and visible to visitors on your site.

Content management systems are usually in the form of web platforms that allow you to build a website on them, like Wix, Squarespace, or Wordpress. Other sites have them as a key integrated part, like Shopify and Mangento do — for these platforms, it’s a CMS that functions with the goal of helping store owners manage their e-commerce.

How Content Management Systems Work

Sites work based on code, and require full knowledge of a coding language, such as HTML. With a content management system, you’re able to perform a lot of functions without any technical know-how.

For example, most content management systems allow you to upload images, video, and other multimedia content into a media library. This aspect of a content management system makes it easy to implement your photos across a whole site, simply prompting you to choose one of the photos from your library (or upload a new one from your computer) for a designated spot in a theme or layout.

Another example is how content management systems handle copy or web text. You often type into a box or empty field, which is then propagated into the font type, font size, and color you’ve selected. All of these features require a line (if not more) of code, but the interface handles that for you with the click of a button.

Shopify’s Content Management System

Shopify's content management system gives store owners the ability to create, manage, and modify store content, both with respect to the technical aspects that are necessary to run a store and the aesthetic aspects that make it unique. Shopify's CMS was designed by SEO experts for heightened store search ranking, and incorporates a load of features.

One portion of the CMS is the admin interface, which was designed to be especially streamlined and uncluttered. When a store owner logs in, they're automatically greeted with vital information they need to know about their store management. There is a real-time statistics panel, inventory warnings in the sidebar for when products are out of stock, and even an asset system that allows for reusing photos, logos, and product PDFs. All site navigation can be managed through these administration screens, allowing for the ultimate ease of use.

Another part of Shopify's CMS is the product management features. These features can be used to organize products, track inventory, create coupon codes, and connect with supported fulfillment services, like Amazon. These e-commerce aspects include a drag-and-drop ordering process, by which users can move product images within the interface for simple restocking. There's also functionality for unique inventory tracking and prices, so you can set discounts or inventory restocks based on, say, a specific color shirt that tends to sell out more often than the same shirt in a different color. Additionally, you'll find access to keyword tags (which make browsing your site for specific products far simpler), customisable order views, and order cancellation automation, among many other elements.

Radiant’s CMS Expertise

Even with user-friendly content management systems, navigating a Shopify storefront can pose its challenges. Not only that, but there are often Shopify store customisations that require knowing HTML, JavaScript, or CSS — something only experts can handle. For help creating your Shopify store or bringing your site to the next level, contact us at Radiant today. Beyond our content creation and marketing skills, we also design and develop customised Shopify storefronts! Our team of experts has decades of combined experience and the capability to give you your dream site. Visit our site now to see our previous work or fill out a contact form.

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