When evaluating the right platform for your ecommerce needs, Sitecore traditionally hasn’t been top of mind.
The Sitecore Experience Platform is a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader across content management and digital experience offering enterprise-grade commerce functionality. Despite this, Sitecore XP has been pigeon-holed as a CMS in the ecommerce world and retailers have typically chosen platforms such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud or Magento.
Sitecore Experience Commerce (XC) has made huge steps by leveraging headless commerce and showing the right content, to the right customers at the right time. This is where Sitecore can bypass its competitors and why it should be a credible choice when evaluating your preferred ecommerce platform.
How ecommerce platforms are changing
Historically, an ecommerce retailer's main requirement was to get its products and services quickly available online and purchased easily.
This paved the way for traditional product-first platforms such as Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware). These platforms initially focused on the product pages, the cart and checkout experience, with content simply in the form of product images. Content was never top of mind.
The rapid emergence of ecommerce meant platforms simply focused on what they did best. The demand for their products and services was so high, there was no need to offer a one-size-fits-all platform. Now, however, it seems everyone is trying to do everything.
Platforms, in an effort to improve or maintain market share, are now focusing on delivering the right tools and technology that the ever-evolving customer is demanding from their shopping experience.
Content management platforms are offering ecommerce; and ecommerce platforms are heavily pushing their content capabilities; and it’s not just content. Email marketing, payments and shipping are now pre-installed, meaning there is less need for multiple third-party systems.
Keeping everything under one roof makes complete sense. It keeps the total cost of ownership (TCO) low for retailers and should make development, upgrades and contract negotiations a lot simpler.
Therein lies one of the strengths of Sitecore. Having a product that can deliver an integrated, seamless content and commerce experience for both brands and consumers.
How Sitecore XC compares to the competition
Shoppers today want more out of their experience. To beat your competitors, you need to deliver a digital experience that creates desire, and makes the customer feel part of something bigger.
To do this, you need an ecommerce platform with seamless capabilities between content and commerce. Not only that, you need a platform that can deliver the hyper-personalised experiences customers expect.
Achieving this is easier said than done when it comes to traditional ecommerce platforms such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Magento. Third-party systems are required with numerous integrations, data in multiple places and customisations moving you away from out-of-the-box. This introduces increased issues, risk, complexities, and ultimately, more cost.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud
If you have a lean ecommerce team with little reliance on IT and infrastructure set-up, then Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a good option.
Being a true SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, the hosting is taken care of. It simply scales with demand, which means less worries during peak trading time. Built correctly, an ecommerce site developed on Salesforce Commerce Cloud will give your customers a great multi-channel experience.
On the other hand, you don’t have complete control over your platform. Updates and patches happen typically on the provider's schedule. Salesforce also has a revenue-share model which isn't for everyone, particularly if you’re protecting margins, or perhaps you're a boutique retailer with a high average order value and small order volumes.
Now titled, ‘Adobe Commerce powered by Magento’, this is an open-source platform with a license-based commercial model for Enterprise. Magento 2 is offered as on-premise, cloud-hosted or through Magento cloud.
Magento Cloud is not a true SaaS ecommerce offering like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, although they will manage the hosting for you. A popular platform with a large community of developers loyal to the technology, Magento covers both B2C and B2B ecommerce offerings well. Its strong B2B features include:
- Various price books per customer type
- Marketplace management
- Purchase orders
- Requisition lists
- Advanced 'my account' features
This hasn’t been without teething issues since the launch of Magento 2, particularly around the cloud offering, however, this seems to be on the right track.
Sitecore Experience Commerce
Sitecore XC is an enterprise-grade commerce solution that delivers a fully personalised experience throughout the customer life-cycle. Looking ahead, this is where Sitecore wins out in the content/marketing/commerce ‘one platform for all’ stakes.
It has the ability to deliver content and personalisation easily and at scale. Plus its campaign management, marketing automation, and other digital marketing business tools are all in one single platform.
Sitecore XC allows you to fully define and personalise a customer’s digital experience. This delivers an improved purchasing journey, leading to customer satisfaction, advocacy and increased conversions.
What’s really exciting with Sitecore Commerce is the headless commerce options available. These offer technology freedom, including Sitecore Experience Edge and the recent acquisition of Four51, a SaaS-based ecommerce order management platform. Through open APIs, these headless ecommerce options can plug directly into your existing Sitecore platform.
Sitecore XC is like a rally car on its way to winning in the ecommerce race. High performance ability, fast and agile, but it needs a navigator; an experienced agency partner like Codehouse to point you in the right direction.
How we can help
Choosing your ecommerce platform is determined by your organisation’s requirements and the experience you want to deliver to your customers.
We recommend keeping an open mind to the capabilities of headless. With this option, as Sitecore has, you no longer need to adjust your requirements to fit a big platform. You work the technology to your requirements.
Our team has over 15 years’ experience in delivering Sitecore solutions for brands looking to personalise the digital experience. These experiences make a lasting impression that drives better marketing results, and ultimately, more revenue.
Talk to our team about your content and commerce challenges and how we can help improve your business. Get in touch.