So you’ve created a seamless brand identity, an award-winning product - now what?
In 2019, an effective e-commerce platform isn’t optional. It’s a necessity. The make-or-break difference between established brands and those struggling for sales and attention. This should be self-explanatory if not only for the fact that doing so opens your business up to the near 3 billion smart-phone users across the globe.
Technology has granted us unprecedented accessibility to goods and services and naturally, has orchestrated a behavioural shift, with an ever-growing number of consumers preferring to shop online. Busy parent? Shop online. 9-5 worker? Shop online. Anti-social? Shop online. 65% of shoppers even lookup price comparisons while in the physical store. This is the era of convenience. Of Uber Eats and Netflix over dinner and a movie.
In this blog, we’ll take you through the technology and tools we use to create beautiful, functional websites that give our clients a competitive edge.
First up, Drupal. Drupal is an open source software, supported by over 3,000 contributors and 1,200 companies. With input from a multi-talented, diverse community, Drupal stands out as a highly-customisable CMS (content management system) - an essential blank-slate in terms of functionality and theming, where other solutions may be more templated and limited in capability.
While Drupal has a range of applications, from industry-specific solutions (think tourism, education, media and entertainment) to e-commerce solutions that grant businesses and developers freedom and flexibility to create custom online stores that make an impact.
We love Drupal for this purpose, using it to craft sites like David Keefe, which required a high degree of configurability in all aspects of the online shopping process. Drupal is our preferred CMS for complex projects like David Keefe, with specific requirements and the possibility of additional extensions/features. The result was a beautiful online portal to David Keefe’s world of high-end jewellery, with a site that mirrored these creations - visually captivating and elegantly designed.
If you’ve thought about e-commerce before, you’ve probably heard of Wordpress. Wordpress is one of the most popular CMS platforms available, powering 28% of all online stores. With an extensive range of plug-ins top add extra functionality without custom development, Wordpress is simple and effective, useful for sites that do not require a deeper level of customisation. Wordpress is also ideal for displaying rich content like blogs, allowing you to diversify from simple articles.
When using Wordpress, Woocommerce is the plug-in that provides e-commerce functionality to your online store. Audited regularly by Sucuri (an online security leader), Woocommerce is safe and reliable. An open-source software like Drupal, Woocommerce allows depth of customisation, enabling the sale of anything, from physical products to digital downloads and subscriptions.
Shopify is up there as one of the best, most simple-to-use interfaces for web administrators. A hosted service, Shopify has no servers to manage, no security updates, which are all managed by Shopify. Pair this with invaluable built-in analytics tools, providing huge value to the store owner in understanding where to focus attention, plan efficiencies, sales strategies and optimising the website for higher rates of conversion and it’s clear to see why Shopify is one of the most favoured e-commerce solutions in-market. Shopify also possesses a good range of plugins for enhanced functionality, without custom development.
Shopify was the obvious choice for us for Mountain Jade. A long-term client/partner, we’ve assisted Mountain Jade in establishing themselves as a market leader in Jade-based jewellery. They required a website that was beautiful, functional and customisable, with regular additions and new pieces to feature. We wanted Mountain Jade to have complete control over their store and insight into performance - something the Shopify dashboard offers.
Headless CMS is yet another option, set to revolutionise e-commerce and website creation for businesses. ‘Headless’ means without a front-end (in most cases a template or theme (think Wordpress), which is de-coupled or removed. This leaves only the back-end which developers can program, then use API’s to deliver this content to any screen or device. Front-end developers can then work on how to present that content in their chosen context with their preferred framework e.g. Vue.js, Gatsby. This presents a range of benefits: The creation of a fully-functional e-commerce platform can happen more quickly - an agile option for brands and creators who desire rapid market-entry. It also provides extensive site customisation, flexibility and marketing potential, for innovation without compromising backend processes. It allows content creators to craft a seamless, omni-channel experience, integrating with platforms like Alexa, tablets, even internet-of-things devices like home appliance screens. This is just scratching the surface, and as Google grants search rank prioritisation to faster websites in their attempt to make the online experience more seamless - the popularity of this option will not only increase but may become a necessity.
So which should you choose? As you may have guessed, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. At Brave, we work closely with clients to guide them through this process, understanding their brands and businesses in great detail before proposing a tailored solution with sound reasoning. If you’re in dire need of an e-commerce platform to drive sales, or think it’s time to upgrade your existing store, get in touch.