Merchello for Umbraco eCommerce Projects
E-Commerce is an ever growing industry. Launching your web shop, although being a very wide-spread business idea, it still is could be quite profitable.
E-commerce custom website development service is very popular Client request for UKAD team. The time or budget limits could be a constraint for a Client to start a custom webshop project. In case when none of the cloud platforms meets the customization requirements, our development team could use CMS systems in conjunction with a third party eShop packages.
Merchello package for Umbraco CMS is a good example of mentioned a solution. This software tool offers a basic eCommerce functionality out of the box and at the same time, it is fairly customizable.
Cost to start
If you start an e-commerce project using CMS systems in conjunction with a third party eShop packages your budget will include hosting costs. If you use Umbraco Cloud consider Maintenance, Building and Upgrades costs. Those depend on your project size and requirements.
Hosting your Webshop
You are free to choose a hosting where to place a webshop. Depending on your requirements and expectations you can use:
- a basic $5/mo hosting
- optimal $30/mo Umbraco Cloud
- enterprise options from Amazon (AWS), Microsoft Azure.
Webshop Maintenance and Upgrades Costs
Similar to any web application your site will require technical support once in a while. Both Umbraco and Merchello should be updated on schedule in order to get improvements and new features which comes with new versions. The technical team should keep an eye on updates and try to install the new one to improve customer experience. Such support usually comes at the price of a few hours of work per quarter.
New Features and Improvements
If you need to develop a new feature or change a UX, be prepared with hand sketches or requirements and your tech team provides you with an estimated cost. Depending on the feature scope it could vary from the couple hours to dozens of hours equivalent cost.
Merchello is free. There won’t be any monthly charges or transaction fees. When you build your own web application using Umbraco and packages – you get the full ownership and control over it with an expense of hosting and maintenance.
Custom Webshop Development
Merchello is software for custom-tailored solutions. It provides a user with basic out of the box functionality (a simple single-level product catalogue and basic UI), but to get the most of Merchello potential you should add some front-end customisation. It is a simple and cost-effective way to get a nice visual output of your catalogue and accompanying pages.
In Merchello products can be organized in many ways. Merchello allows uniting products into groups (nested like Categories, Subcategories and so on).
In addition to the traditional catalogue, you can create special groups dedicated to season sales or showcasing specific groups of goods united by non-category criteria. Thus any of such groups can be configured to be displayed in the pages of the site – either a category page listing or a home page with featured content.
Freedom in Product Settings
A product in Merchello settings contains a set of information about the goods. It is possible to add custom characteristic suitable to your specific products or to create variants of the same product (different size or colour).
Selling Physical and Digital Goods
Merchello also provides the functionality to sell digital goods. A buyer can download the item after a successful purchase.
Sales and Special Price
There is a possibility to put an item on sale with a discount price.
Products can be marked as Related allowing to show buyer notifications about recommended goods.
Rating and Reviews
Merchello allows a user to develop reviews and rating section functionality.
Stock and availability management for a single warehouse is provided out of the box.
Search and Filtering
Set up search and filtering of the products to get fully functioning shop. Since these functions are also coded by your developers you have unlimited ways to implement them. Merchello’s functionality allows to build any faceted search. The text search can be implemented via Umbraco and has the error tolerance settings.
Buyers can create accounts in the Merchello store, although it is not required. After authentication to a personal account, users can see the shopping history and follow order status in their account.
Out of the box, Merchello has modules for integrating payment system - with Paypal & Braintree payment providers.
It is also possible to integrate other payment systems if needed. Cash payments accounting is, of course, available too.
If you already use some eCommerce handy tools, such as CRM, Marketing software or Shipping service you might consider connecting them to the eShop. Since Merchello gives access to its content via API it gives a user access to endless custom integrations.
Obviously, store managers can track orders and change their status. Merchello gives a possibility to attach shipping information to the orders.
Store administrators can configure currencies used for the shop transactions. Tax configurations are also possible.
Simple Sales statistics data is available out of the box.
Merchello following reports consists of:
- Revenue current week vs last week
- Revenue amount per month
- Top 10 selling items by date
- Abandoned basket statistics
Keep in mind that with some development help you can output any analytics.
As with any website you can integrate any third-party services, among the most popular there usually are:
- Google Analytics for tracking the audience
- Hotjar for getting shopping insights of your customers behaviour
Mobile representation of the webshop is also dependent on your custom design and development. So it is totally under your control how good the mobile experience will be. If you decide to have a dedicated mobile app – it will be possible to integrate it with the website.
For e-commerce businesses SEO strategy is essential. Even the most beautiful and easy-to-use webshop will not be appreciated by buyers if they will not be able to find it in Google search results.
Choosing an SEO friendly eCommerce platform to consider:
- The ability to add a blog to your website
- The ability to use your own domain name
- The ability for customers to leave reviews
Umbraco SEO Capabilities
For successful growth, your eShop is better to be high in the search engine results. You can hire an SEO expert specifically for this. On the technical side, Umbraco provides a good start with SEO tools. It gives the possibility to supply every product and category page with a descriptive title and meta information. Besides, there are much more Umbraco plugins which could make the search optimization process smooth and easy.
Umbraco is a perfect place to keep your Blog accompanying the webshop. This increases the audience of the site substantially.
First of all, make sure you purchase or generate a free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for your domain name. Your site will then be opened by users via HTTPS protocol which provides a minimum required security for working with user data.
Security wise Merchello entirely relies on Umbraco, which is considered fairly secure and is regularly updated. Thus your support team should keep an eye on discovered vulnerabilities and available updates.
Merchello is decent software for medium size projects. It keeps up with a couple of thousand products rather well. Its feature set provides possibilities beyond plain Catalog and Basket. What’s most important it provides a relatively free implementation of the structure, looks and user experience of your shop.
As soon as Umbraco team released a new version, Umbraco 8, we are waiting for a chance to discover extended opportunities.