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What is Shopify CMS?

Can Shopify Plus be a CMS?

The answer to this is both yes and no. CMS stands for Content Management System, which is a software tool that allows users to create, store, edit, manage and publish content.

Shopify & Shopify Plus can be classed as a CMS in the way that they can both manage content that growing e-commerce businesses need, but it wasn’t ultimately designed to handle all content requirements for merchants today. If you use Shopify Plus already, you will see it works well when adding product copy and content, but you will find you may be limited when it comes to creative visual blogs. For progressive content with more options you may sometimes feel like you need a better CMS option (e.g. WordPress is often the most known) but actually Shopify / Shopify pLus can be extended to work better than WordPress in many ways and you should not start with the idea that Shopify has limitations. We can build just about anything into any Shopify store so even if Shopify appears to be limiting on the content front – it actually isn’t.

And we can even build a mesh site using both WordPress and the Shopify storefront API for a headless ecommerce experience.  Both can in theory be used together.

Shopify was created as an e-commerce platform, so it can be great for content management, such as product images, descriptions and integrations with other tools, but historically it was not ideal for content heavy pages, blogs, documentation and other forms of rich content.  To achieve that previously you usually need the help of a Shopify expert.  Sections on Shopify 2.0 have challenged the idea that Shopify isn’t a suitable CMS and even though we are currently waiting for sections to be fully integrated into the blog part of Shopify we can see the potential of using Shopify as a fully fledged CMS for any site that wants to use ecommerce.  You can now basically create great content pretty much everywhere using drag and drop sections.

In today’s content driven world, these additional features may be necessary for your brand, so it is always worth asking the experts on whether you need to integrate an external CMS system to Shopify Plus, or find custom options that our developers at Liquify can help with!

If you are looking to see if using Shopify as a CMS is a good idea for your business, we’ve laid out the pros and cons below.

Pros of using Shopify Plus as a CMS

Manage Products
Effortlessly manage products with Shopify. Merchants are able to manage content for products, whether it’s adding new products or making edits to descriptions and images, the drag and drop tools make arranging content simple. Other content such as blogs and pages can also be managed within the same platform, although it can be more simple than a dedicated CMS although Shopify 2.0 and “sections everywhere” solves this for most merchants.

Variety of Marketing Features
Use Shopify as a CMS for other key features of marketing. Shopify is built for SEO and helps brands rank for important keywords and offers one-click to Google Product Search. The ability to easily integrate additional tools where needed makes it a compelling choice for CMS.

Template Themes & Custom Options
Shopify is great for users who are looking for creative control with ease. Users have access to the Shopify theme store which has over 70 free or premium templates to choose from. Much like a CMS, Shopify helps businesses deliver high quality websites to customers and even allows control over the HTML and CSS for any theme for adjustments.

Secure Shopify Hosting
For content rich stores, Shopify has access to secure hosting and unlimited bandwidth. This can be important for businesses as it means there is no need for third parties to manages content assets.

Blazing fast Hosting
Shopify has excellent & robust hosting which is very fast – even when compared to dedicated servers.

Having all your content ( ecommerce and blog) on the one domain and not split over subdomains is far more preferable for SEO reasons.

Cons of Using Shopify Plus as a CMS

Although we highlighted the above advantages of using Shopify Plus as a CMS, the cons are always worth noting. Having Shopify as a CMS might not be perfect for larger businesses with larger content, assets and customer base, or even smaller merchants with more complex requirements.

Ecommerce Built Platform
Shopify is great for eCommerce responsibilities such as managing inventory and processing orders but it wasn’t solely built for content purposes and is somewhat lacking compared to e.g. WordPress. Compared to purpose-built CMS platforms some may find it more restricted for front end options out of the box. Simple blog options are available on stores, however if a complex design or post structure is needed then the help of experienced Shopify developers / Shopify Plus developers will be required.  Shopify is only suitable as a CMS if you have an ecommerce store or plan on having one.

Limited Features for Large Businesses
Using Shopify Plus as a CMS can be limiting to larger enterprises. Some may find it to be difficult for multiple users to manage content using Shopify as there is a lack of workflows to coordinate and schedule content. In these contexts a headless setup may be more suitable with Shopify for the ecommerce aspect and WordPress (or similar) for the CMS.

Conclusion about Shopify as a CMS

Shopify is perfectly sufficient for the vast majority of businesses when it comes to content management. Out of the box you have a very flexible, ecommerce first CMS & Shopify 2.0 with sectons everywhere has smashed most limitations which previously restricted content development.

It may not be suitable for larger companies with more complex content needs.  There a more suitable setup may be a Shopify headless ecommerce build with another CMS (perhaps WordPress) in a subfolder or on a subdomain.  To be honest in around 10 years we have only seen 2-3 cases where Shopify was not suitable so in the vast majority of cases Shopify can be modified to your needs by an experienced developer.

Contact us today

If you are still wondering whether you need a separate CMS to your Shopify Plus store, or are looking for more custom options then get in touch today and our team of Shopify Plus experts and developers can help.

Jasmine Silvester

Jasmine Silvester

Jasmine is head of content @ Liquify