Here at Onstate we’re often asked about the differences between Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud*.
* (or ‘SCC’ as we will henceforth refer to it - formerly Demandware).
As one of the few systems integrators with in-depth knowledge of both platforms, we are well-positioned to discuss and advise on the pros and cons of each.
There are numerous such comparisons available on the web, and the below is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Instead, we’ve focused on those differences which we’ve seen have the most practical implications for our clients.
Both platforms come with base themes that showcase the platform’s functionality and provide a basis for front end development. Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s is called ‘Site Genesis’ and Magento 2 comes with ‘Luma’ bundled in. Arguably Magento’s offers a more contemporary design, but in practice we usually end up making pretty wholesale changes to the UI, making this something of a moot point. Both offer lots of code examples to jump-start the build process.
Both offer powerful promotions functionality, though SCC’s ability to import promotions from external systems out-of-the-box is a key feature for multichannel retailers who want to offer a seamless cross-channel experience.
Another key benefit of SCC here is the ability for promo messaging to automatically appear adjacent to qualifying products. Once you create a promotion and have defined the rules for qualifying products, you can define messages that appear adjacent to these products on the product listing pages, detail pages and in the cart.
One thing that sometimes surprises merchants moving to Commerce Cloud from other platforms has been the limited order management functionality within the admin console. This has been addressed recently with the development of the Customer Service Centre. This enables Customer Service agents to process telephone orders, but still misses the ability to manage returns and refunds, which many Magento users take for granted (though this can be added through custom development).
It should be noted though that the large retail users at whom SCC is targeted often have very complex order management requirements, and this functionality is therefore delegated to specialist systems. SCC users can opt for the powerful Commerce Cloud Order Management product - a fully integrated OMS available as an option to the core product. Magento has also recently added a fully-featured OMS to its product lineup: https://magento.com/products/order-management.
In addition, both platforms can be integrated with third-party OMS systems via their APIs.
Currently only Commerce Cloud offers native support for multi-location inventory. This gives multichannel retailers the ability to upload inventory lists for their bricks-and-mortar stores. SiteGenesis includes this functionality, enabling visitors to query in store stock levels from the web store and place click and collect orders.
This functionality is currently only available on Magento via 3rd party extensions, but there are plans to bring it into the core product. It can also be provided via custom integrations with ERP/WMS systems - as we were able to do with http://www.leekes.co.uk.
More and more online retailers are realising the importance of developing quality content in order to attract and convert visitors. It’s also generally acknowledged that the major ecommerce platforms have been found wanting when it comes to content management functionality. The inability to easily create content on these platforms has been a source of frustration for retailers. This is often overcome by integrating - in any number of ways - a dedicated CMS such as Wordpress, Drupal or Amplience.
Magento 2.3 will address this shortcoming by incorporating the technology behind the Bluefoot page builder extension which Magento purchased in 2016. This promises to make building responsive layouts simpler.
SCC users can opt to manage complex content by either extending the base ‘content’ system object, or can use systems such as the aforementioned Amplience to enhance the platform’s content creation capabilities.
Like content, so personalisation has been a focus for online retailers for many years. There are different approaches to personalisation - but most often in online retail it boils down to surfacing the right product to the right users at the right time.
In terms of out-of-the-box functionality, Salesforce Commerce Cloud emerges a clear winner. Now backed by Salesforce’s ‘Einstein’ AI-powered engine, it offers personalised product recommendations and personalised product sorting. Not only this but you are able to AB test the efficacy of different configurations in order to see which works best.
Both platforms enable the creation of customer segments or groups and the ability to personalise content and promotions based on this. Of the two, SCC gives you more attributes to play with - location-based targeting by IP for example.
Magento, of course, has many 3rd party extensions that help here: ATTRAQT, SLI and Klevu to name but 3. It should be noted, however, that these come with additional installation and running costs which need to be factored into any cost-of-ownership calculations.
The two platforms have much in common, and the differences between the two solutions are diminishing in some areas: Magento’s move to a cloud-hosted solution for example. For many businesses, either platform would make a sensible choice - they are both market-leaders for a reason. There are key areas, however, in which each excels.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a powerful, specialist retail platform. It has a fantastic feature set out-of-the-box and can be extended and customised to meet most other requirements. It has a faster time-to-market than most other ‘Enterprise’ solutions. Since Demandware was acquired by Salesforce, development of the platform has accelerated and it now forms part of a powerful suite of products. SCC would be our recommendation to high-volume retailers and brands who can really get the most out of the platform’s optimisation capabilities, and are comfortable with the SaaS model and performance-based pricing.
Magento 2’s great strengths are it’s flexibility and broad ecosystem of developers and extensions. It has a powerful toolset, and has recently added strong B2B features to its arsenal (it already was the world’s leading B2B platform). The platform is evolving at a rapid rate - we’re particularly excited about upcoming support for PWAs. We would recommend Magento 2 to retailers and brands who need a high level of customisation (i.e. non-standard business models) and/or the ability to trade in different countries and geographies.
Thinking about moving platform? Speak to one of our experts today.