5 Ways We Build Better Websites for Merchants Using Craft CMS

Craft CMS Shop image

By Elle McSharry

Nov 10, 2022

If dismal sales figures are keeping you up at night, you're not alone. Businesses of all kinds are experiencing diminished traffic and struggling to connect with digitally fatigued customers.

But there is a bright spot — valuable content still drives a meaningful amount of search, indicating that content marketing remains a promising key strategy.

As savvy marketers know, content marketing is more than just getting information in front of shoppers. Instead, it's an opportunity to make a genuine connection by giving customers relevant and personalized experiences.

But with slow, rigid, or complicated platforms, it's nearly impossible to keep up with the demands of an ever-evolving and crowded digital marketplace.

That’s why we prefer using Craft CMS to build websites for merchants who want to update outdated legacy systems and grow their businesses.

We understand the value of a website built to support an easy and rewarding content marketing experience. And we make everything with the future in mind, so your website can grow as your business does.

What is Craft, and Why Haven't I Heard About it Before?

Despite its wide use by brands large and small, (according to BuiltWith, over 40,000 businesses are active users), Craft CMS remains one of the best-kept digital marketing secrets.

Craft is an open-source content management system (CMS) designed with content creators in mind. It’s flexible, customizable, and affordable (pricing starts at $299 per project).

What does this mean for modern ecomm businesses?

When they’re built well, there are many advantages to Craft sites. Below are five ways we use Craft to develop websites for merchants who need to grow their business and value content as an essential marketing strategy.

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5 Ways We Use Craft to Build Better Websites for Merchants

1. Flexible Content Creation and Management

Empowering content marketers with ultimate flexibility is the key to growth.

Does that sound far-fetched? Maybe.

But when you need to outperform competitors, especially with behemoths like Amazon, it's clear that expertise-based commerce — differentiating yourself and your brand with authoritative content — is the future.

Sites that don't give content marketers creative options to display content will be disadvantaged in the fast-moving digital marketplace.

In other words, avoiding an author experience (AX) that is "meh" or downright frustrating is a positive investment in the virtuous circle of content and commerce!

We support marketers by giving them more control over designing what they need. We work with our clients to take full advantage of the endless customization available with Craft, which is a dreamy proposition for most marketers.

In Craft, because product entries are treated the same as any other content entry — with unlimited options for treatment and placement — it’s easier for marketers to innovate and get creative with content modeling.

Other features include unlimited pages, flexible fields, the ability to create unique templates and forms, a variety of section types, localization, and categories and tags to keep everything organized.

Craft CMS field layout screenshot
Field Layout in Craft CMS
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Tips and Field Instructions in Craft CMS

Plus, we can add helpful usage tips, instructions, and reminders to customized components that reduce authoring friction. That way, marketing teams are better positioned to use the site similarly, which ensures greater brand coherence and harmony.

2. Fully Customizable Websites

Beyond supporting content and marketing teams, we can customize your entire site. To do this, we don't just start building and hope things fall into place as we go.

Instead, we take the time to plan out what a site's data structure will be. We think through what performance-enhancing development we'll do and how to future-proof your build from the start.

Essentially, we study what you need as the client and adapt Craft to fit your business.

And because we’re not locked into pre-conceived templates, we can make virtually any improvement to the front and back end at any time. This includes personalizing sites according to each shopper's unique behavior and needs.

So, for example, we can support a customer’s browsing and buying process by developing dynamic views that allow users to curate their preferred content.

In addition, many marketing websites with legacy systems require various apps to manage day-to-day operations, like campaigns, which can get expensive and cumbersome.

We typically build websites that require fewer apps because we can create the functionality you need directly in Craft. And we can design and build easy-to-manage Craft plugins specifically for your use case.

This level of customization eliminates gaps in functionality or the unnecessary bloat of off-the-shelf systems. Instead, we can build a website suited to your business model to save time and allow you to focus on what matters most — your customers.

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3. A Choice of Commerce or Shopify

Craft is incredibly flexible in its content modeling and has an ecommerce engine called Craft Commerce. And with Craft’s newest Shopify integration, we recently announced that we’re adding Shopify to our services.

Using powerful APIs, we can “tie” your website to either Commerce or Shopify, allowing you to create product updates that seamlessly update in Craft.

For merchants who understand the value of content marketing to distinguish themselves in the marketplace, Craft, plus a best-in-class ecommerce engine, is a game changer.

Not only can you add as much content to your products as you like, but with the right approach to development, you can also have total control over how that content is displayed now and into the future as your business grows.

In other words, you don't have to know today who you will be as a business tomorrow because Craft is entirely extensible and adaptable.

We understand that there's virtually nothing you can't have or do with the right Craft build, making us ideal strategic partners for setting B2C businesses up for growth.

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4. Omnichannel Content

It bears repeating that, with the explosion of online businesses in today's post-pandemic reality, content-driven commerce can bring outsized benefits.

When shoppers feel more connected to brands, knowledgeable about products, and empowered to make a purchase right for them, that's a win for everybody. For example, when selling a jacket, a product description with copy describing the material, images of a model wearing it, and a helpful sizing chart can overcome barriers to purchase.

Further, delivering that content wherever the customer is — whether shopping on a website, on social, via a smartwatch, on a mobile app or an in-store screen — is the next level in providing a seamless customer experience.

We understand that marketers who can go the extra mile and meet customers where they are with omnichannel content have an advantage over those who can’t.

So we build headless websites that enable merchants to generate sales on whatever device their customers use. We also develop our headless sites to be incredibly fast, so customers aren’t waiting for a page to load so they can browse and buy.

Generally speaking, headless websites provide additional benefits, including the ability to gather information about shoppers’ behavior at each touch-point, thereby enhancing personalization.

Computer monitor with words "do more" photo

5. Future-Proofing

The fifth and final way we build better websites for merchants with Craft CMS is by future-proofing your website.

As business owners, conversations about the future naturally include wanting to grow and create something better — for yourself, your colleagues, and your customers.

If that's where you're at — ready to grow your business because you have a vision of a better future — you deserve to have a platform that won't hold you back.

The way we build with Craft lets your creative inspiration flow without limits. It makes it easy to follow new ideas and innovate because we develop a website that can change with you.

With a well-built Craft site, you can relax knowing that you've invested in a long-term solution that can scale with your business. So, it's not a problem to start small and grow big.

And if you're already big, you'll be happy to learn that, by optimizing Craft with correct development, you can continue to scale without having to think about a future re-platform, saving time and money!

On a final note, to be fair, you may experience a downside to our Craft builds. With a customized, easy-to-use marketing website and powerful ecommerce engine, your sales could grow through the roof, forcing you to hire more staff to help fulfill orders…

(But you can handle that, right?)

We’re a Craft Verified Partner. Find out what we can do for your store.