Comparative Study of eCommerce Platforms - SAP CX, Salesforce, Magento, and ATG

Posted by Rikin Shah on Nov 20, 2018 7:41:44 AM

Enterprise commerce solutions are expensive and demand a lot of time and effort to adapt to the requirements and become an end-to-end solution for any enterprise. Hence, it is always difficult to come to a conclusion and select the right platform. You can only get the right solution through a systematic approach in your research and decision-making process. It’s worth the effort, as selecting the wrong platform can have a huge impact on your business.

Most enterprises feel that selecting an e-Commerce platform is the prerogative of the technology and the business team, which though true to some extent, doesn’t justify the important role the marketing team and the customer service team play in the whole journey of a customer. Hence, to get an all-encompassing perspective, it’s necessary to hire experts from outside. Analyzing your need through the industry standard MoSCoW, only an outsider can share a neutral view and suggests the functionalities to look out for in a solution. In the process of selecting an e-commerce platform, the factors an outsider keeps in mind are:

  1. Cloud Platforms vs On-Premise (SaaS based or Customizable)
  2. Headless e-commerce and de-coupling systems
  3. Customer-focused platform requirements
  4. Platform technical requirements
  5. Capabilities of the existing systems and solutions
  6. Personalisation in e-commerce
  7. Costs of the platform itself (Licensing)
  8. Design, development, and integration costs
  9. Support and maintenance
  10. Additional migration costs

In this post, we have picked up the popular e-commerce platforms and compared their strengths and weaknesses to help you in the path of choosing the one that matters most to you.

Enterprise eCommerce Platform Comparison:

Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Demandware)

Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware) was one of the first platforms to deliver a true platform-as-a-service for enterprise e-commerce. The Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform solution has been developed so that retailers can seamlessly trade across digital and physical channels. The platform is built to make a retailer free from the worries of maintenance, servers, security, etc. Owning those concerns, Salesforce Commerce Cloud comes built-in with features to tie-in e-commerce, order management, POS and offline store operations in one hosted solution. It has developed services like click-and-collect and ship from store as a part of the order management and omni-channel solution. Via the POS, Salesforce Commerce Cloud also provides additional tools for in-store associates to provide a great aisle experience.

Strengths 

  1. Salesforce Commerce Cloud has focused a lot on providing omni-channel solution to the new age retailers who are interested in an end-to-end commerce solution for their business.
  2. Given that it is a SaaS-based solution, the retailers do not have to worry about server maintenance or any other associated aspects of maintaining the platform.
  3. Post getting acquired by Salesforce, the Demandware platform added a machine learning and personalisation tool to its list of features for retailers using Einstein, an AI based business solution from Salesforce.
  4. On the B2B front, Salesforce’s recently acquired Cloudcraze, which is the other thing that is intriguing, which is likely to take Salesforce’s commerce offering into the B2B space.

Weaknesses 

  1. As a proprietary enterprise-level product, Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SCC) doesn’t have a large community of developers and so getting support or developing quickly can be a challenge.
  2. Given the limited expertise and shortage of SCC developers and consultants, these resources are generally expensive when compared to some of the other platforms.
  3. Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a SaaS solution and hence it may limit site customisation freedom development speed.
  4. Since the technology is controlled by Salesforce, there are some limitations on the implemented features. Such features have to go through the approval layer. This can add a time overhead to site changes and releases.

Integrations, partners, and experts 

  1. Salesforce Commerce Cloud has the LINK Marketplace, which showcases its technology and service partners. But it’s not as large or comprehensive as Magento.
  2. In addition, even some mainstream solutions will require a custom integration, as Salesforce Commerce Cloud isn’t designed for the masses.

 Examples of Salesforce Commerce Cloud stores: New Balance, TATE Modern, Adidas, Callaway, Jack Wills, Brooks Brothers, Clarins, Converse.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud Licensing Cost – The cost of the platform varies, as they charge fees based on the merchant’s forecasted sales. An SCC customer that has annual sales between $20 million and $500 million (very much SCC’s target client) can expect licensing fees starting from around $200,000. Based on various factors the price may increase as well.

SAP CX (Hybris) Commerce Cloud

SAP recently rebranded their Hybris product to SAP CX (Customer Experience) as they want to now focus on providing the best user experience to an end consumer throughout her buying journey, from acquisition to post-purchase support.

SAP CX Commerce Cloud benefits both international B2C and B2B players. Within the B2C space, the commerce cloud is ideal for retailers who are planning to go global or already have a global presence. It comes with a few out-of-box features such as multi-site, multi-language, and multi-currency that are mandatory for global players. For the global B2B players, SAP CX Commerce Cloud has features that allow for complex data management between multiple sites and catalogs.

SAP CX Commerce Cloud targets that sector of the enterprise which is higher up in the order of revenue and average sales orders. Though the initial license costs are considerably higher than most of the other platforms looked at here, the SAP Commerce cloud platform comes with a host of powerful features as part of the core and optional modules. Drag and drop CMS, built-in personalization features, advanced rule-based merchandising functionality and a range of product management features are worth mentioning here. Other notable features include advanced fulfillment capabilities (for implementing things like click-and-collect, partial delivery, multi-warehouse etc.), support for complex product types, centralized product, and content management for stores that are operating across multiple channels and more.

Strengths 

  1. For enterprises with international presence and operations, and multiple brands, the built-in support for multi-site is one of the best solutions available.
  2. The platform is easily customizable to provide support for B2B features like customer-specific catalogs and pricing, quotations, customer roles, etc.
  3. The centralized content and product management features are also a couple of big advantages for merchants who want to unify their digital and physical retail operations.
  4. The various commerce platform options power some of the global leaders in e-commerce, largely as a result of their ability to handle key peaks and scalability in general.
  5. One of the most scalable systems among its competitors.

Weaknesses 

  1. The total cost of ownership is high when compared to platforms like Magento, particularly for on-going development, platform upgrades and the licensing costs.
  2. Owing to the niche technology, the resources available are limited, hence the rates of the resources are high.
  3. Although flexible, customizations consume a lot of time and effort in SAP.

Integration partners 

  1. Blame it on the niche technology, very few developers and consultants are capable of implementing and working on SAP CX Customer Cloud.
  2. Most of the SAP partners are large IT companies or specifically enterprise-focused systems integrators such as TCS, Greenlight, BORN, Accenture etc.

Examples of SAP Hybris merchants / stores: Benefit, EE, GHD, Mulberry, Aldo, LK Bennett, Dr Martens, Rapha, Barbour, Sainsburys, JD Williams.

Costs with SAP Commerce platforms – SAP have various models for pricing (often different for different platforms), including pay-per-use, long-term, fixed licensing, and revenue share. But if we were to consider only the pure licensing cost then it starts from $100,000 and goes up to millions.

Magento Commerce (Community & Enterprise)

Magento, after being acquired by Adobe has recently become one of the most sought after e-commerce platform. Given that now it is tightly integrated with Adobe Experience Manager, retailers are waiting to find out the benefits this acquisition has to offer. Magento Enterprise Edition comes with a lot of strong features that many enterprises would consider ‘must have’ or at least worth the initial license fee. Alongside the basic platform support, the license fee comprises multiple factors such as the size of the retailer, traffic on the website, number of orders, average order size, etc. Moreover, Magento offers two turn-key benefits: open source community developed plugins for integrations with important solutions like omnichannel and pivotal third-party applications such as ERP, CRM, LSP, Payment Gateways, WMS, etc.

The Adobe-Magento acquisition has bolstered the conjoined identity’s B2B offerings and has currently made them the leader in that space with solutions that help a business transform, without curbing its agility. For B2C players Magento Commerce primarily focuses on customer loyalty, customer experience, marketing and business productivity. At one side, to manage products, the platform has already been empowering retailers with features like bundled products, grouped products, downloadable products etc. On the other side, to manage customer loyalty and personalization, the Magento Commerce has been supporting retailers with features like customer segmentation, rewards, private sales, and more.

Strengths 

  1. Has lots of built-in features and is also highly flexible and customizable.
  2. Allows merchants more freedom when they want to scale or add new features and functionalities.
  3. With approximately 1 million active Magento developers across the globe, getting support for any Magento application is easy.
  4. The multi-store features are stronger in comparison to some of its competitors.
  5. A market-leader in the B2B space.

Overall, it is now safe to say that Magento has improved on its credentials as an enterprise e-commerce platform in providing solutions for both B2C and B2B retailers.

Weaknesses 

  1. Possesses a big risk as any faulty implementation
  2. Could severely affect the solution not only in terms of time and budget, but also make it difficult to maintain and scale.
  3. Frequent upgrades and security patches add a maintenance overhead as compared to the likes of Shopify Plus and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Integrations, partners, and experts 

  1. Has a wide ecosystem of developers, experts and agencies.
  2. Has existing integrations with most commonly used third-party solutions and merchants definitely benefit from this.

Examples of Magento Commerce Stores: Paul Smith (Magento 2 on-premise), Missguided (Magento 2 on-premise), Helly Hanse (Magento 2 Cloud), Paperchase (Magento 2 on-premise), Made.com (Magento 1 on-premise), END Clothing (Magento 2 on-premise).

Magento Commerce Licensing Cost – The licensing cost for Magento starts from $23,000 per year for on-premise implementation. The Cloud Starter is available from $2,000 per month and Cloud normally starts from around $36,000 per year.

Oracle ATG

ATG is built for large retailers. Its flexible architecture allows merchants to implement integrations and minimize costs, while its multi-site functionality makes for easy management of products, categories, and assets between different e-commerce stores.

In addition to standard features such as customer segmentation, and search and guided navigation, ATG has built-in big data capabilities to help merchants deeply analyze shopping behavior, gain valuable insights and metrics.

Strengths 

  1. The flexible and unified architecture enables merchants to scale efficiently.
  2. A solid set of features, along with advanced segmentation and big data capabilities allow retailers to provide compelling, personalized, and data-driven shopping experiences.

Weaknesses 

  1. Similar to Magento Enterprise Edition (functionality is almost identical)
  2. A higher license fee and implementation costs increase the total cost of ownership.

Integrations, partners, and experts 

  1. Oracle does have its PartnerNetwork, where interested enterprises can search for an implementation partner in their area.
  2. As for integrations, besides support, Oracle provides an ATG Web Services and Integration Framework Guide for creating custom applications.

Examples of ATG merchants / stores: John Lewis, Games Workshop, CVS, Autozone, Littlewoods, Toms, Lacoste.

ATG Cost – Oracle’s price list indicates that the license price for Oracle Web Commerce is $500,000. More capabilities can be added at additional costs.

Summary of the Comparison:

comparison

*Source - https://www.datanyze.com/

Each platform has its own strengths and weakness. Considering the long term future, it is up to the enterprise to figure out which platform would suit their requirement the best. The selection is also dependant on the short-term and long-term ROI. To arrive at a conclusion, you can -

Talk to the platform provider – Consult with the platform provider and ask them how did they find experts who specialize in developing solutions. Also, enquire about their partner network, if any?
Attend their events – Some e-commerce companies organizes events to educate and engage with their communities. Attend these functions and network with potential agencies and experts.
Speak to e-commerce consultants and consultancies – There are lots of e-commerce consultants who know these platforms inside and out and would be ready to help you in identifying the best platform as per your requirements.
Referrals – Get in touch with other e-commerce merchants who are using the platforms you’re considering and ask if they could refer you to experts and partners who can assist you in choosing, setting up, or maintaining the software.

For an enterprise to decide on the right e-commerce platform is not an easy task. The features of one do not stand against the functionality of another. Or the availability of skill related to one may not be as abundant as the other. In a conflicting environment as such, the comparative landscape becomes a little clear when you get to see the makers-and-shakers together, map your requirements on them and then pick up the chosen one that’s just right for you. But whatever you choose, you have to keep yourself open to change for the better. Because, the way your business won’t be the same a few years from now, the platforms will similarly evolve to be smarter. As a result, you need to constantly introspect, measure, and track the evolution of the platforms to take the next sure-shot leap, when the time comes.

Tags: SAP CX, hybris, SAP Customer Experience

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