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B2B eCommerce Platform Comparison: Salesforce CommerceCloud vs. Four51 OrderCloud

February 5, 2021

Category: Digital Transformation Strategy

In this installment of our B2B eCommerce Comparison series, we’ll be comparing Salesforce CommerceCloud to Four51 OrderCloud. Salesforce is better known as the provider of the most popular CRM software, Salesforce.com. Recently, Salesforce has entered both the B2C and B2B eCommerce field.

If you’re making an eCommerce buying decision or just researching, this guide is for you. We’re discussing four key differences between the two platforms, mainly related to the nature of their technology and the types of businesses that can best benefit from each.

B2B eCommerce Platform Comparison: Salesforce CommerceCloud vs Four51 OrderCloud

1. MACH Architecture vs Traditional, Monolithic Architecture

Salesforce CommerceCloud is a traditional, monolithic SaaS product with multi-tenant capabilities. Four51 OrderCloud follows a microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless (MACH) architecture. 

MACH products are built to seamlessly become part of an organization’s diverse technology stack. eCommerce applications built on a MACH platform, like OrderCloud, will integrate seamlessly with any back-end system and allows customers to design custom front-end experiences that are decoupled from the back-end code. All the features of a MACH platform are offered as separate “microservices”, which is the key to this flexibility.

On the other hand, Salesforce CommerceCloud is a monolithic product, designed to be delivered as one full-stack software that comes with a pre-packaged and inflexible set of features. This might work for organizations whose eCommerce needs are static. But, if your company is looking for an eCommerce solution that is flexible and can grow and adapt alongside your business, MACH architecture is the way to go.

Forrester has called MACH architecture a “gold standard” in 2020. And, last year, a MACH Alliance was formed by different software vendors to promote this new technology standard.

2. Separate B2B/B2C Platforms vs. Unified Platform

Salesforce CommerceCloud is a result of Salesforce acquiring separate B2C and B2B platforms over time. Salesforce offers two separate B2B and B2C products for their customers. This means that if you’re an organization that deals with B2B and B2C, B2B2C, or D2C channels, you’ll have two acquire two separate licenses from Salesforce to create two solutions that must be managed separately.

Four51 OrderCloud is designed to handle all sorts of commerce transactions, including B2B, B2C, B2B2C, and D2C, all in one solution. This makes your eCommerce solution easier to manage, less costly, and more analytics-friendly. Moreover, many OrderCloud customers use the platform to create complex B2C and B2B marketplaces. CommerceCloud doesn’t have any marketplace features.

Moreover, since the B2C and B2B are different platforms, Salesforce CommerceCloud developers need to spend time learning how to use each platform as both have different API guides.

3. Limited B2B Capabilities

Salesforce CommereCloud’s B2C platform is much more developed than the B2B platform. Having been around for longer, that’s natural. Most Salesforce CommerceCloud customers are in the B2C space and are smaller organizations. Salesforce might not be the best fit for complex B2B manufacturers and distributors.

Four51 OrderCloud is B2B-first. The platform is built to handle the complexities of enterprise B2B manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. This includes things like users and permissions, CPQ, hundreds of price schedules, millions of SKU’s, and multi-tiered distribution operations. 

If you’re a B2B organization, Salesforce might not be able to deliver a solution that is compatible with your complex products and operational realities. 

4. Suite vs Stacks

Salesforce is a CRM provider first, and got into the eCommerce game later on. Salesforce cross-sold CommerceCloud to a lot of their CRM customers that needed eCommerce. CommerceCloud is built to integrate well with Salesforce’s many other products including CRM, marketing, sales, and service. Salesforce markets this as Customer 360, a suite of all their products.

OrderCloud advises its customers to follow a best-of-breed approach. Because of MACH architecture, OrderCloud can integrate with any back-end systems like CRM, ERP, PIM, CMS, TMS, etc… Composable commerce, as it’s called, is the new standard in eCommerce. Your business can create a stack of well-integrated systems that can be updated, customized, and switched out with other systems as needed, keeping you ahead of the competition. 

If you’re an organization that prefers software suites and getting all your tools from one vendor, Salesforce CommerceCloud could be a good fit. But, if you value flexibility and the ability to be in complete control of the systems you use, a MACH platform like OrderCloud is a better option.