Category: Headless eCommerce
Whether you’re looking for a B2B eCommerce platform to move your business operations online for the first time, or vetting options for your replatforming initiative, you’re faced with a competitive marketplace of vendors touting similar features and capabilities: Magento Commerce by Adobe, SAP Commerce Cloud, Insite Software, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, to industry-specific solutions, to starting from scratch and building your own.
As part of a new blog post series, we’ll review several B2B eCommerce vendors, point out some key characteristics to keep in mind, and explain why our customers ultimately choose Four51 OrderCloud for their B2B eCommerce platform and journey.
Magento Commerce by Adobe
Magento Commerce is a well-known eCommerce platform in the marketplace that crosses many eCommerce leaders’ desks. Acquired by Adobe in 2018 and now part of Adobe’s Experience Cloud, Magento claims to bring together all of your marketing tech in one place.
Magento got its roots in the delivery of B2C eCommerce solutions. They have since focused on evolving their B2B capabilities, especially helping those businesses with both B2C and B2B needs.
Today, Magento touts a fairly comprehensive feature set for what we would call your “standard” B2B eCommerce experience. You’ll find robust capabilities and components, including:
- Omnichannel ordering capabilities
- Product information management
- Merchandising and promotions capabilities
- Complex and personalized pricing orchestration
- Approvals, workflows, and permissions governance
- And more
As part of the Adobe family, Magento reaps the benefits of their product roadmap and feature enhancements as the company continues to invest in commerce capabilities.
Magento Commerce vs. Four51 OrderCloud
There are several key differences between Magento and OrderCloud to keep in mind when evaluating your options:
1. Architecture – Traditional vs. MACH Architecture
The key difference in the Magento Commerce platform and the OrderCloud platform lies in the architecture. Magento is a full-stack application offering one single instance of code. There is an open-source option, offering limited customization and configuration capabilities. Of course as part of the Adobe family, it’s likely that they will continue to focus on and invest in product enhancements and improvements. You’ll hear them talk about the addition of new APIs and the ability to support your desire for more of a headless approach.
But Magento is not built as an API-first, headless platform as OrderCloud is, which does bring some disadvantages.
OrderCloud is built on MACH architecture (architecture that is microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless) which delivers more flexibility and speed than traditional software stacks like Magento. It’s built to support your need to continuously evolve the customer experience and take a best-of-breed approach to technology, leveraging existing back-end systems (like ERPs, CRMs, CMS, etc.) and integrating new best-in-class technology for everything from tax to payments to loyalty programs and more. Being cloud-native offers limitless scalability and endless freedom for growth. It also eliminates the need to manage costly and time consuming updates and upgrades, as those are released through continuous delivery and generally deliver no breaking changes.
Because Magento is not a true MACH platform, things like customizations, updates, new integrations, and general customer experience evolution is possible, but requires much more effort and much higher budgets.
2. Customization Capabilities – Customization capabilities are dependent on your pocketbook.
Magento serves a customer base primarily composed of smaller to midsize companies that require little customization when it comes to online commerce. Of course, Magento does serve some larger enterprise customers with unique workflows and needs.
But, since small- to mid-size is their sweet spot, Magento tends to attracts customers looking for its large number of useful, out-of-the-box features. For most companies in that bubble, it’s enough to start with an out-of-the-box type of solution and then perform the required customizations as necessary. Typically, a “customize from a base application” type of solution takes around 3-4 months to build and deploy and serves a lot of companies that work with Magento.
OrderCloud offers a different approach that is better-suited for companies who have truly unique workflows and need a larger amount of customization. Instead of providing a business with a solution that comes with many out-of-the-box features, OrderCloud enables you to pick and choose components that meet your needs, or start completely from scratch with a truly headless approach.
At Four51, we have relaxed the set of assumptions that comes with out-of-the-box software and have left it up to our customers to decide what eCommerce features they need. Then, Four51 builds a custom solution with exactly those capabilities powered by the OrderCloud platform.
3. Future-Proofing – The last replatform you’ll ever do.
There’s been a lot of buzz over the past year about the sunsetting of Magento 1, requiring Magento 1 users to migrate to Magento 2. Magento has discontinued its support of Magento 1 as of June 30th, 2020. This put hundreds of companies in a tough spot: they had to migrate entire databases and repeat months of work in order to move to Magento 2. Magento users were not necessarily aware of their need to replatform in the future when they signed up for Magento.
The modern architecture of Four51’s Ordercloud platform allows our engineers to release platform updates using a continuous delivery method, without any downtime or breaking changes.
OrderCloud, and it’s MACH architecture, was built to be the last eCommerce platform our customers ever need to use. As our platform grows and evolves, our customers will as well without having to incur additional re-platforming costs.
B2B eCommerce Comparison: Magento Commerce vs. Four51 OrderCloud
For smaller companies just getting started in the B2B eCommerce space, Magento is often a great option to get you launched and taking orders online.
But for highly complex businesses with very particular opinions about how they want their commerce experience to run, Magento can cause roadblocks – especially as your needs change over time and the business expects adaptability and evolution of the customer experience.
An API-first, headless eCommerce platform like OrderCloud is going to give you the speed, flexibility, agility, and customizability you need to create the exact experience you’re looking for. Robust integrations framework will support your unique integration needs today, and allow you to swiftly swap out to other best-of-breed integrations down the road (without rebuilding your backend).
So ultimately what we tell our customers is, “if you’re looking for the last replatform you’ll ever do, choose OrderCloud.”
Download the OrderCloud Feature Guide for more details on the OrderCloud Platform.