As a webmaster, it is never easy to be content with a platform for hosting a website. In general, if we talk about ecommerce website, it gets tougher due to the requirements and the ever advancing technology which drive businesses to provide cutting edge solutions. What they look for in an ecommerce platform is quite evident due to their needs which require the platforms to be robust, fully customizable and be capable enough to handle the wide scope of functionalities and features. Although there are an excess of free to use CMS available for use over the web, deciding on the "perfect one" is a herculean task. In this plethora of options, there stands one of the best open source platform known to developers around the world which is capable enough to meet most of the requirements to produce a close to perfect solution.
Yes, I'm talking about Drupal.
Drupal commerce, written by Commerce Guys, is a powerful set of modules built on Drupal 7's core functionality along with some modules. Prior to Drupal 7, developers relied solely on Ubercart to provide the required functionalities for various websites. But Ubercart had its own set of restrictions. It was not a platform built for modifications of its core behaviour. So when Drupal commerce came into the picture, the fact that it was intended to be a flexible system, engineered to allow any kind of customization was an eye catcher. This was definitely better than Ubercart and other platforms which made assumptions on how you want your online store to work.
At any level of your business, the most important thing you need to ask yourself is "do you have an idea, or do you know what you want?" For business owners still trying to figure out what is best for them, let us take a step back and discuss about Drupal Commerce and what makes this framework stand out from the crowd.
The actual truth about Drupal Commerce is that the platform is highly capable of adapting to the market requirements on a regular basis (even daily). So when there is a need, a module is built by someone to handle it and then released into the community for further use. Such hundreds and thousands of pre-built modules are available in the community which can be used for almost anything you wish to do on your website. But if you are huge fan of Nikola Tesla and not of Albert Einstein, you can always modify these modules or build from the scratch to meet your unique requirements.
Search - The Epitome of Customer Behaviour
Imagine providing a customer with a search tool that was designed to deliver exactly what they were looking for. That is what Apache Solr's open source enterprise site search, used by Drupal Commerce, is capable of. Some of the largest websites in the world have preferred Solr because of its high reliability, scalability and its unique features which make the search operation quite easy and useful for both the customer and the administrator. And the fact that Solr ties perfectly with Drupal Commerce to allow search in product database as well as on any of the site content is a huge advantage.
In a League of Its Own
When it comes to content management, Drupal Commerce is way above than the rest of the open source platforms. As content has become one of the most important aspects of brand experience and SEO, businesses around the world have been forced to add content management to their ecommerce platforms. They can either build on their own or add the ability to integrate with some of the third party suppliers, which can result in a poor user experience. This is where Drupal Commerce which started as a world class CMS comes into the picture. One thing which strikes an ecommerce business owner is that in Drupal Commerce, the e-commerce is built right into the content management architecture. This unique feature allows marketers to build and manage content on their own without any technical help. It also also allows business owners to experience accurate results of effective teams.
One thing which Drupal Commerce lets the developers do is keep the product catalog quite simple. It allows products to be organized, tagged and dynamically added or removed from the product list automatically. This results in a traditional catalog like experience which entitles a product to have its own customized look and feel in the product list. This can result in a huge difference when you try to segregate, promote and engage your visitors in what you have on offer. Irrespective of how many products you have, the catalog will be less complicated because whenever you want to display a product, you can choose from a wide range of styles which include tables, grids, lists etc.
The Other Part
For an ecommerce business, it is not just about the online store. A long term strategy will require a proper marketing plan combined with content marketing strategy - a blog/article with constant updates and of course the SEO objective for the store and its content. Some other major platforms such as Wordpress and Magento have their own limitations in the form of flexibility and integration with a third party system. However, with Drupal commerce, it is easy to handle content and the shopping cart without much hassle and also keep a tab on SEO updates, analytics and security which is of a high concern for an ecommerce website.