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Does Shopify’s Plus Features Match Up Against Magento Enterprise?

does-shopifys-plus-features-match-up-against-magento-enterprise

If there’s a ranking system in the ecommerce industry today, the top two contenders would, no doubt, be Shopify Plus and Magento Enterprise.

But is Shopify Plus really that great compared to Magento Enterprise? Or does it fall short in Magento’s shadow?

Magento is the leading ecommerce platform today with a market share of around 30%. Magento’s success could be attributed to certain factors, but many would claim that this is because Magento is an open source platform, allowing its customers to fully develop a website from scratch and implement virtually unlimited customizations without the hassle of the approval process from the platform’s provider.

Unfortunately, for Shopify Plus, it’s a different case.

While both caters to enterprise ecommerce merchants, the two are actually total opposites.

So what’s the big difference between Shopify Plus and Magento Enterprise?

If you’re contemplating on choosing which between the two is best suited for your enterprise ecommerce, then, this review will give you some insights on what you need to look at so you can make a better decision.

Let’s take a closer look and examine these two enterprise-ecommerce-solutions provider.

Ecommerce Website Hosting

The type of website hosting that you would choose will determine all the other components of your website store. So, in comparing your two options, you always need to start with this criteria. Otherwise, you’ll have to make compromises at the long run if you make up your mind based on a different criteria than website hosting.

Before moving forward, take note that both Magento Enterprise and Shopify Plus are cloud-based providers and are fully-hosted.

Okay, moving on, you’ll have to choose either:

  • A SaaS platform or
  • A PaaS platform.

                What are these SaaS and PaaS platforms?

In simple terms, SaaS is short for Software as a Service. PaaS means Platform as a Service. The two have different purposes, along with their own pros and cons. Depending on what you choose, a platform’s weakness could be actually beneficial to your business needs.

Have you already built your own ecommerce website store? Or are you just starting out and want to build your own from scratch?

Choosing between a SaaS and a PaaS software would depend on your answers to those questions.

As a SaaS provider, Shopify Plus manages all the back-end and front-end systems of your website store. This means that any customizations that you want to implement would be limited to what Shopify allows. This could either be a disadvantage or an advantage for you depending on how you’d like to build your website. Shopify Plus compensates this limitation by providing a huge collection of aesthetic templates and designs, to which the platform is widely known for.

While it’s obvious that this is a limitation to what Shopify Plus can potentially offer in terms of customizations, many would still choose a SaaS platform like Shopify Plus.

Why?

Simply because, the technical aspect for both the back-end and front-end systems are taken care of and the less technical business owners would see this as an advantage – less hassle and less worry. With this, all the features and functions that you can enjoy are streamlined in the admin dashboard. You can’t go beyond this, except for integrating additional extensions and APIs for your ecommerce website store.

Magento Enterprise Edition, on the other hand, provides you with all the customizations that you want. As a PaaS platform, you can access and manage the following on your end, the back-end system:

  • Applications
  • Data

A PaaS platform like the Magento Enterprise Edition would be your best pick if you want your hands to get wet with all the technical stuff in your back-end and front-end systems. This would be most advantageous if you want to build your ecommerce website from scratch and planning on implementing a lot of modules and customizations.

With Magento Enterprise Edition, you are free to customize your website store to your heart’s content – the sky is the limit!

Pricing and Related Expenses

Since these two platforms are totally different structures, their pricing and related expenses would also be based on different components.

For Magento, costs and related expenses would revolve on the following components:

  • Implementation – This is the total cost of the website deployment, including the implementation of all the included modules for the website store. For an enterprise ecommerce website, average cost is around $325,000.
  • Licensing – Magento charges a yearly fee for this, which starts at $18,000 and could go as high as $32,000 depending on how big your enterprise ecommerce website is.
  • Recurring Expenses – The total cost for your recurring expenses would greatly depend on the required maintenance for your website store. For an enterprise level business, this would range from $200,000 to as high as $700,000 per year.

For Shopify Plus, however, the pricing would be quotation-based. This means that you pay for only the features and functions that you need. But, the licensing would start at $1,200 per month. Additional expenses would be for paid and premium add-ons such as:

  • Website Templates or Designs
  • Extensions and Other Integrations
  • Website Customizations

Ease of Use

Shopify Plus has a more user-friendly set-up.

Magento Enterprise’s complex admin dashboard makes it difficult to navigate, especially for the less technical person. There’s certainly a learning curve. This is, however, brought about by Magento’s extensive features and functions that are all integrated into a centralized command system, accessible via the dashboard:

  • Create new product listings.
  • Organize product attributes.
  • Set-up private discounts and other exclusive promotions.
  • Use the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor for updating and creating contents in the landing pages.

Shopify Plus, on the other hand, simply uses the same admin panel of the lower tiered package plans. The fewer features and functions makes the admin panel more streamlined and convenient. This makes it easier to navigate through the entire set-up:

  • Navigate between the limited features and functions.
  • Add new products to the catalog.
  • Edit and update existing product listings.
  • Set-up tax and shipping details.
  • Edit and update the storefront with basic and allowed changes.

Key Features

Since both are enterprise level ecommerce platforms, you can expect them to have the core features and functions in order to handle and manage an enterprise level website store. Both offers:

  • Scalability
  • Reliability
  • Virtually Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Virtually Unlimited Storage
  • Unlimited Sales Growth
  • 0% Transaction Fees
  • 99% Uptime

One important aspect that these two differs is the one-page-checkout feature. This is a very important feature that adds convenience to your customers when shopping in your website store. Shopify Plus is currently not offering this specific feature. A separate provider, called CartHook, is offering this feature for Shopify Plus owners at a price of $300 per month, as an extension integration.

Magento Enterprise Edition, fortunately, has this feature as one of its core functions.

Comparing the two, Magento Enterprise Edition has more advanced features and functions. Shopify Plus lags behind in this criteria.

So, Which Platform is Better?

The typical response would be “it depends.”

It always depends on what you need and how you need the platform.

Surely, the Magento Enterprise Edition has more features and functions compared to Shopify Plus. But, do you really need all these? Or is your business good enough and better off with the fewer features of Shopify Plus?

The cost and related expenses are also a factor, along with the type of hosting.

All these, when put together, will always depend on your requirements. In enterprise ecommerce, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. You’ll have to examine what features and functions you need the most and start your decision from there.

Cloud Computing Giant Hints eCommerce Introduction, Acquires Demandware for $2.8 Billion

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Salesforce, one of the biggest names in cloud computing, recently completed a $2.8 billion deal with Demandware, an enterprise-focused-eCommerce solutions provider. With the said acquisition, Salesforce is now offering $75 per share for all outstanding shares.

The announcement was made public on June 1, 2016 and the actual $2.8 billion acquisition deal was reportedly completed in July 11, this year.

In July 11, Demandware’s COO (Chief Commerce Officer), confirmed the final agreement of the acquisition deal in the company’s blog by stating:

“What a tremendous day this is for Demandware, our customers and our partners. Today Salesforce completed its acquisition of Demandware and we are officially part of the #1 CRM Company and Customer Success Platform. “

In the previous years before the acquisition, eCommerce has been one of the lacking industry in the Salesforce’s platform of customer engagement products.

Now, Demandware has become a Salesforce company and will be more widely known as Salesforce Commerce Cloud product. Salesforce interest in the eCommerce industry is not without a substantial precedent. This was made clear to the public when Alex Dayon, Salesforce CPO (Chief Product Officer) mentioned the said interest about an eCommerce gap, in June 1, the same day the announcement of the deal was made: “The only blank spot we had in CRM was commerce. And we think the market is now ready for disruption. The future of commerce is really through solutions like Demandware.”

Salesforce’s company president, Keith Block, reiterated the same interest by explaining that the four pillars of a CRM (customer relationship management) platform includes ecommerce, along with sales, service, and marketing.

The decision to acquire Demandware has also been influenced by many of Salesforce customers who are eagerly urging the company to integrate a world class digital commerce platform in its CRM system. Now that Demandware is a Salesforce company, existing platforms and systems under Salesforce can now be synched and synergized in many possible ways. Salesforce is already looking into this to form new ways on how to best integrate Demandware with its existing family of clouds.

It is interesting to note that this is not Salesforce’s first acquisition deal. The cloud computing giant is no stranger to acquisition deals. In fact, according to reports and press releases, Salesforce has more than 30 acquisitions to count, dating back from 2006 up to the present.

Among its most recent acquisition deals in 2016 are:

  • MetaMind – a startup company for deep learning using the AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology.
  • PredictionIO – also a startup company studying on deep learning with an open source platform that also uses the AI technology.

With a host of multiple technologies in its system, Salesforce has become bigger. With Demandware, Salesforce has now joined the eCommerce industry. This means that the eCommerce competition has now become steeper for the top players in the industry.

How important is this deal for Salesforce?

Moving forward, it is evident that Salesforce, along with its many existing family of clouds, will be able to make an upsell for additional services related to eCommerce. This potentially grows the funnel in which Salesforce can make a larger profit. With Demandware in the cloud, Salesforce can now forward proposals with higher priced bundles or packages from its existing plans. This newer pricing would include ecommerce services and would certainly benefit existing customers that have ecommerce businesses.

There’s also an additional group of customers that Salesforce can target – existing customers that are still running the Demandware platform. These existing customers include some of the biggest names in different industries such as L’Oreal and Marks & Spencers. Thus, Salesforce existing services such as analytics, marketing, and IT solutions will also be offered to Demandware’s existing customers. This unique proposition will also allow Salesforce to boost profit revenue and thus use Demandware’s platform to synergize with the existing service in Salesforce.

Salesforce opportunities with this acquisition deal are actually endless. In fact, this also means that Salesforce is now in direct competition with some of the biggest names in the eCommerce industry such as Shopify, and Magento (which is also one of Salesforce services in the past) along with the biggest marketplaces today – Amazon and Ebay. Interestingly, Amazon and ebay is not only an eCommerce platform but is also widely known for their services in payment transactions – Amazon Payments and eBay with Paypal.

It is interesting to note that Demandware’s customer base is mainly focus on B2C retailers or business to consumers. The customer base also includes big brand names, but usually these merchants have an annual revenues reaching to $50M to $100M. Catering to B2C retailers is not the only service Demandware currently operates on. It also has capabilities in:

  • OMS – Order Management Service
  • POS – Point Of Sale
  • Personalization

With this, it would be expected for Salesforce to continue servicing B2C retailers given Demandware’s big market share in the said category, along with its current capabilities in the said category. Accordingly, by 2020, spending on digital commerce would reach $8.5 billion, projected from an annual growth of 14%.

Joining forces together, Salesforce and Demandware as a single unit has become a bigger platform with a more competitive technological capability. With its current customer base combined together, it is not farfetched to imply that Salesforce could possibly be a heavy-hitter in the very near future when it comes to the retail industry, or to eCommerce as a whole.

The new technology roadmap with this acquisition deal will only mean one thing – innovation and collaboration. The eCommerce industry can expect bigger changes in the following months as Salesforce will possibly soon make another announcement regarding the plan on how to maximize Demandware’s capabilities with its current cloud platform. The end result would be to benefit the customer by adding more services in the current platform, integrating more third-party applications that are already currently handled by Salesforce, and Salesforce promise to deliver a more comprehensive and personalized consumer experience.

These possibilities are all hinted by Demandware’s CEO Tom Ebling, in a blog post, explaining that the two companies share the same goal with their “customer first” mentality.

Ecommerce Review: Is BigCommerce Enterprise a Good Choice?

bigcommerce-enterprise

Just like with all the ecommerce-solutions providers today, BigCommerce is equipped with the core features and functions that can run an ecommerce store, even at an enterprise level.

But, would this be enough for my growing ecommerce needs? Would this be a good choice, a good investment?

Let’s take a closer look and examine what BigCommerce Enterprise has to offer.

BigCommerce has been in the business since 2009. Its enterprise-level platform, however, is just relatively new in the market, which was launched in 2015.

BigCommerce Enterprise platform’s top clients are some of the big names in different industries – automotive, clothing, health and beauty, electronics, outdoor and sporting, and specialty shops:

Electronics:

  • Gazelle
  • Native Union
  • Focus Attack
  • V-Moda

Automotive:

  • Toyota
  • Wisconsin Harley Davidson
  • Ford Racing Parts by Don Wood
  • Enjuku Racing
  • Sportbike Track gear

Outdoor and Sporting:

  • Slumberjack Outdoor Gear
  • 33-Off
  • Camelbak
  • Bike Somewhere

Clothing:

  • 3×1
  • Neck of the Woods
  • Two Guys Bowtie
  • LaQuan Smith

Health and Beauty:

  • Cloud Nine
  • Eco Modern Essentials
  • Jose Maran Cosmethics

With BigCommerce development and improvements, there are now over 100,000 merchants who are using the platform for their ecommerce website stores.

Would you follow their lead?

Let’s see.

BigCommerce Enterprise – As a SaaS Platform

As a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, BigCommerce Enterprise offers cloud-hosting for your ecommerce website store:

  • You don’t have to avail of hosting services from a third-party provider or build your own expensive server infrastructure to accommodate your growing website.
  • Additionally, you don’t have to invest for an in-house IT team to take care of the maintenance of the back-end system of your website store.
  • No more worrying about the complex and technical aspects of your website store.
  • This also means that the uptime for your website store is maintained by the provider.

If your technical expertise is not on par with that of a professional developer, then this might just be what you are looking for.

However, there’s a little downside. Because the back-end system is monitored, managed, and maintained by the provider, there would be a limit to what you can implement in your website store. In particular, the level of customizations. You would have limited access to the source code, since BigCommerce Enterprise is a SaaS platform.

Instead, available customizations are streamlined in the platform and if you want to implement additional customizations, you will have to ask for approval.

BigCommerce Enterprise – Pricing and Other Expenses

As far as pricing goes, BigCommerce Enterprise pricing varies from client to client. It is the usual quotation-based pricing. This means that the pricing that you would get would be also based on your monthly revenues.

For a baseline pricing, it is reported that the cost of licensing starts from $900 to $1,500. This is a recurring monthly charge. Again, this does not constitute the actual pricing range that you would get from a quote. The pricing would greatly depend on how big your enterprise business is and what features and functions you need to implement for your website store.

BigCommerce Enterprise – Ease of Use

Just like with other ecommerce solutions providers that include lower-tier plan packages, BigCommerce Enterprise is also using the same admin dashboard as with its basic plan. Reportedly, there’s not much learning curve. In fact, BigCommerce University’s page allows you to access a list of video tutorials, to help you navigate through the entire set-up of the admin panel.

Many merchants would consider BigCommerce’s admin dashboard as one of the most organized and cleanest set-up in the ecommerce industry.

After signing into the admin dashboard, you’ll be welcomed with some video tutorials, showing you where to look for the basic functions. Of course, you would not be needing these tutorials since everything you need are conveniently laid out in the left toolbars.

Since it’s a SaaS platform, BigCommerce Enterprise does not include a lot of complex features and functions. All available features and functions are streamlined inside the admin dashboard, making it easier to navigate through each component of your website store.

The admin panel also includes a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) so you could add:

  • Specific contents to your webpages.
  • Banners
  • Product descriptions, and;
  • Descriptions for categories.

There’s also the Stencil editor, which allows you to edit the template, theme, or design of your storefront. If you’re not the tech-savvy type, it would best to watch the video tutorial first before tinkering the codes in the Stencil editor.

BigCommerce Enterprise – Key Features

All the features and functions in the low-tier package plans are included in the Enterprise plan:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth.
  • Social Media Integrations so you can market your products to more channels.
  • Single Page Checkout
  • Paypal One Touch Checkout

 

The Enterprise features include the following:

  • Specialized Conversion Management Tools – BigCommerce is well-known for its effective conversion tactics. The conversion tools include the following:
    • Abandoned Cart Recovery
    • Filtered Search
  • Specialized Support – If you’re an Enterprise customer, your concerns will be prioritized. In fact, there’s a special feature called “Prioritized Call Routing.” There’s also a dedicated account manager that will assist you in maintaining your website store. As an enterprise customer, you could also avail of special consultations to improve your sales and marketing.
  • Specialized Shipping Support – As an enterprise customer, you could use ShipperHQ. ShipperHQ is a tool for calculating the shipping rates of your products. With this, your customers will be able to know in real-time the expected expenses for shipping – no guessing game and no surprises in the checkout page.

 

BigCommerce Enterprise – Payment Gateway

While still relatively new in the industry, BigCommerce Enterprise has already partnered with at least 38 payment processing gateways, including the biggest names in the industry such as Stripe, Paypal, and Square to name a few.

With these payment gateway, your customers will be able to enjoy hassle-free payment transactions and the utmost security of their sensitive data.

BigCommerce Enterprise – Security Mechanism

Since BigCommerce Enterprise is a SaaS platform, you don’t have to worry about security. Security mechanism is an included service in the enterprise package plan. Its PCI-Compliant certification is a level 1 PCI DSS.

With BigCommerce Enterprise’s security, you can expect that any breaches or fraudulent transactions are caught right off the bat. The platform ensures this by integrating a built-in Sift Science detection system, along with a specialized bank-level DDoS protection system.

With this security feature, your entire ecommerce website store is protected 24/7 round-the-clock and maintains an uptime of 99.99%.

BigCommerce Enterprise – Conclusion

BigCommerce Enterprise is a good choice, a good investment for your ecommerce business. Unfortunately, it would take more than a good choice and a good investment to make the final words.

You have to ask yourself if you are the right merchant that BigCommerce Enterprise is targeting. It’s always a matching game. With the given core and key factors above, you should be able to match your specific needs to what the platform is offering. If you find anything that could help you grow your ecommerce business, then add that up to the pluses, but do not compromise on the negatives.

At the end of the day, a single review won’t be enough for you to make an informed decision. There’s still a lot to consider, but, at the very least, the insights that you have learned from this post will help you choose the correct path for your ecommerce business.