Squarespace Web CMS Challenger LightCMS Adds E-Commerce
How do you differentiate yourself in the small yet competitive "built for web designers to build a business on top of" niche of the hosted web cms market?

One word: E-Commerce. Okay, that was one word with a hyphen and a letter but you get the idea.

Squarespace may have more funding and Osmek may have a more unusual name, but LightCMS isn't bothered by either. Originally released in 2006 by web design firm Element Fusion, LightCMS has established itself as a legitimate competitor to the aforementioned platforms.

To enable e-commerce for its current and future customers, LightCMS now offers an integrated online store. By integrated, they mean users can add product listings in-line as they are building or editing a page.

No dashboard needed; add products on the page

No dashboard needed; add products on the page

Now that you are interested, let's look at the features of the online store.

Features

Product Management

Users can add information about products, upload images of products, and create variants of products with customizable options. Furthermore, multiple data elements can be tracked, including product inventory, weight for shipping and pricing.

Track inventory and back orders

Track inventory and back orders

Shopping Cart, Checkout

The secure shopping cart is built with user experience in mind. LightCMS supports PayPal, Google Checkout and Authorize.net for payment processing.

Secure shopping cart and checkout

Secure shopping cart and checkout

Order Management

Using the new order management screen, users can search, find, fill, cancel and refund orders. The same functionality can be used to find customers, add notes to customers and export email addresses for marketing efforts.

 

Manage orders and customer communication

Manage orders and customer communication

Cost of Service

Perhaps the most important feature is that use of the online store functionality is essentially free. Users that include the online store must pay a 1% transaction fee -- unless you are on the Basic plan, which requires a 2% transaction fee. Users must also pay any fees from the chosen payment processor.

Conclusion

This new functionality is a shot aimed directly at Squarespace and its competing platform. Squarespace does not offer any e-commerce functionality.. If you are an independent or small web design firm looking for a platform to offer your clients, LightCMS just became a whole lot more attractive.

Are you already using LightCMS? If so, post a comment telling us what you think about the new features. If not, post a comment anyway and tell us what you think in general.