There's a lot of confusion on the internet surrounding CMSs — what they are, which kind is best, and why an e-commerce business should care. In this article, Marzipan will answer those questions and more — showing you why an API-first CMS is the best choice for your e-commerce business.

Ready to future-proof your e-commerce business? Let’s get started.

What Is a CMS?

Let's start simple — what is a CMS? This might be a refresher for some, but it's important to establish a foundation before diving into the different kinds of CMSs.

Put simply, a CMS is a tool used to manage the content of a website (hence the name “content management system”). It allows users to easily create, store, and publish digital assets (e.g., text, photos, videos, audio files, etc.) across different digital channels (e.g., websites, mobile apps, smartwatch apps, etc.).

But different CMSs have different ways of going about this — and these differences have major implications for businesses. Let's talk about the three main approaches.

No-API CMS (aka Traditional CMS)

No-API CMSs have been around since the early days of the internet — think WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, etc.

Back in those days, backend processes (i.e., content creation, maintenance, and delivery) were very much intertwined with frontend processes (i.e., where and how content appears). So, these CMSs were designed to handle both aspects equally, with the same tools.

This means that content is created, stored, and presented in a monolithic system — everything was wrapped up in one package. Users created content specifically for certain channels and manually pushed it out to other channels as needed.


With the rise of mobile apps, developers began to realise that there was a need for content management systems that were explicitly designed for APIs. In other words, backend processes such as content creation and maintenance could be handled by a separate system from frontend delivery.

So, API-only CMSs were born. These CMSs are built entirely around APIs, allowing the backend and frontend processes to be completely decoupled. Content is created and stored in a single location, but can then be delivered to any type of digital channel.

The problem?  These systems are very developer-centric — they require a good knowledge of coding and APIs to use effectively.

API-First CMSs

Finally, we have API-first CMSs — which combine the best elements of both no-API and API-only CMSs. Like API-only CMSs, API-first CMSs like Marzipan are built with APIs top-of-mind — while also incorporating features from traditional no-API CMSs, such as:

  • Easy-to-navigate user interfaces
  • Templates for quickly creating content
  • Simple drag & drop features for manipulating digital assets

Want to learn more about what an API-first CMS can do for your e-commerce business? Read on.

Benefits of an API-First CMS for your E-Commerce Business

1. Take the Best-of-Breed Approach

While no-API CMSs are simple solutions, they're incredibly limiting. If you want to use the best tool for each digital experience you offer customers, you need an API-first CMS.

Want a simple example? Let's say you're using a traditional CMS like Drupal. Now, there's nothing wrong with Drupal—it's a great CMS with a lot of great features. Plus, it's 100% free—and who doesn't like that?

The problem is that when you use a monolithic tool like Drupal, you're gaining simplicity at the cost of extensibility (i.e., your ability to extend the tool's functionality). Want to use a CRM or payment processor that Drupal doesn't integrate with? Too bad!

An API-first CMS like Marzipan allows you to take a best-of-breed approach—seeking out the best tools for every part of your workflow and plugging them into your CMS seamlessly (thanks to APIs).

2. Easily Create Plug-and-Play Digital Experiences

Traditional CMSs are great for creating content. Simple UIs, templates, and drag-and-drop features make it easy for anyone (regardless of coding experience) to create content.

The problem? Resizing, reshaping, and repurposing that content for different screens, devices, users, etc. is a nightmare. It essentially requires the same amount of effort as the original content creation process—which is a huge drain on your resources.

An API-first CMS like Marzipan helps content teams automatically push content wherever it needs to go with customizable rules. So, you don't have to manually tweak content for each platform—you just set it and forget it.

3. Future-Proof Your Platform

Have you ever upgraded your phone right before the release of a newer, shinier model? It's no fun—you just put a big chunk of money down on a device that's already old news.

Well, the same thing happens with CMSs… all the time. Businesses see a fancy new tool and replace their CMS to accommodate it. Then 1–2 years later a new tool is released, leaving them to upgrade (again!)

Marzipan solves this problem by giving businesses access to an (always) up-to-date all-in-one CMS/commerce package that handles everything from order management to messaging. With Marzipan, your CMS is future-proof—it easily adapts to help you stay competitive.

4. Streamline Internal Processes

Last, but definitely not least—API-first CMSs make it easy for your team to collaborate.

Rather than going back and forth between different tools (or even multiple versions of the same tool), you can manage all content creation, delivery, and performance tracking from a single dashboard.

Also, when you can use the same tools inside and outside of work, it means less time spent on training new folks and faster onboarding processes. Everyone will catch on quickly—and that's critical for teams that work in high-pressure situations.

Choose an API-First CMS Designed for E-Commerce

If you want a CMS that is simple like the no-API ones, yet flexible as the API-only ones, then consider using an API-first CMS. They let you build plug-and-play experiences with an effortless approach that'll impress your customers.

All-in-one CMS/commerce solutions like Marzipan take this a step further. Marzipan lets you focus on a single source of truth for content and product management that works across all your applications, websites, and stores. With its integrated commerce capabilities, it also gives you the ability to manage orders and customers from a single dashboard—giving you the power to move quickly in high-pressure scenarios.

So, if you're ready to make the most out of your content management system—give Marzipan a try! Our easy-to-use user interface makes it simple to create, store and push content across multiple digital channels—automatically or on demand.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash