Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working a lot more with Shopify Plus – with a host of B2C brands. One relatively weak area of Shopify Plus is content management, with the core offering comprising of a standard WYSIWYG editor (for editing content pages and blocks) and sections, which provides a bit more modularity, but it’s still not brilliant.
Most eCommerce platforms have historically had this issue, however most are working on or have worked on it – with Magento releasing their Page Builder solution, Salesforce Commerce Cloud about to release a new content management module and SAP Hybris / CX having a CMS cockpit available. There are also then platforms like Workarea that have very strong content offerings baked into their platform. With increased expectations and requirements from retailers over the last couple of years, this is an area that is often brought up with Shopify (as well as BigCommerce) and that’s why Shogun CMS represents such a great solution.
I initially used Shogun a few years ago, whilst working with a client of ours called Beyond Retro, who have been using Shogun for years to build out landing pages. Back then I thought it was ok and it was always really easy to use etc, but it’s now become a hugely impressive content management solution. I was recently at the Shopify meetup in London and met the Founder of Shogun, Finbar, who offered to give me a demo of the new version of the CMS, which I’d also been told good things about from people I know at WeMakeWebsites.
Following a year of growth and lots of new big name users (such as Chubbie’s, MVMT Watches, Leesa and GAIAM), Shogun raised over $2m in November 2019, with a view to hiring more people (currently have a team of ~25) and further improving the product. The reputation of Shogun has also grown considerably over the last few months, following the funding round and lots of great reference cases going live.
For those of you who haven’t looked at Shogun CMS before, here are some of the core features / selling points:
Drag and drop, component-based content management
The dragging and dropping of components is super easy and all of the components can be styled and further customised. There’s unlimited flexibility with the components and you can also layer additional elements on top of components. The configurability of each componenet is also very impressive and you’re able to add in custom HTML or custom-built elements too. The pages can also be viewed and designed on different device type and you can also choose how you want the different elements to look and stack on mobile and tablet.
Full version control for pages and elements
Shogun also features full version control on anything built using the CMS – providing the ability to quickly and easily revert back to previous versions.
Ability to manage content across different templates
You can use Shogun to manage content across all templates, be it a product detail page, a product list page and even blog posts – as well as the obvious ones like your homepage and content / landing pages. This makes Shogun a lot more valuable – as managing the layout of and front-end changes to product detail pages and product list pages etc would usually require development work and would likely take weeks to go from concept to being released.
You can also create custom templates using Shogun, which is great for campaign-specific pages.
My experiences of using Shogun CMS so far have been really positive and it’s helped to reduce the amount of work required to make front-end changes and the time to create landing pages considerably. Some of the key features include:
Pre-existing component templates
This can be really useful to get new elements built out quickly and components include things like banners, slideshows, product recommendations blocks, content blocks etc. These can then be built upon also to factor in content from third parties or to be more relevant to your business or the specific purpose (e.g. product or category-specific sections).
Range of pre-built page layout templates
The same principle applies to landing pages or page templates – you can take pre-built templates and adapt them to your business to reduce the amount of time it takes to create new landing pages for marketing campaigns. Or, once you’ve built out custom pages, you can use these to build templates for future pages.
Ability to build custom components
Shogun users can also create components from scratch – this could be based on normal elements that would be built into a page template (e.g. product carousels or even brand descriptions), or it could leverage third party services (e.g. NOSTO product recommendations or curated Instagram widgets).
Ability to manage content across multiple Shopify stores
Shogun Enterprise customers are able to request for pages and content to be pushed between Shopify stores, helping to support international or multi-brand retailers. This isn’t built into the platform yet, but they still provide a solution for this.
Users are also able to push component templates and page templates across different stores, as well as individual snippets. This represents a good additional solution for Shopify retailers looking to reduce the manual overhead of working with multiple Shopify stores. This guide I wrote a few weeks ago covers managing multiple Shopify Plus stores in more detail.
Ability to control SEO settings for pages built using Shogun CMS
Another thing I really like about Shogun CMS is that you can define additional fields within the platform to prevent you from having to go back into Shopify – with on-page SEO being a good example. Things like the meta title and meta description for pages can be set against the pages that you’re building directly from Shogun.
Examples of Shopify pages and websites built using Shogun CMS
There are just a few examples – but Shogun CMS is used by a number of the larger stores on the Shopify Plus platform.
I’ve recommended Shogun CMS to lots of our clients, to give them more flexibility and reduce on-going development costs and so far they’ve all been positive about using the platform and the reduced overheads. If you have any questions or have any other features that I’ve missed, please feel free to add them below.