In the spring of 2018, the multinational software giant Adobe announced they had entered into an agreement to buy the ecommerce platform Magento Commerce, making it a part of Adobe cloud services.
According to their press release at the time, this acquisition meant that Magento Commerce could now be “seamlessly integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud.”
Many saw the move as a natural one for Adobe to take. Magento had a strong reputation as an ecommerce platform for both B2C and B2B instances, and was a logical choice to fill a hole in Adobe’s existing offerings.
Less than a year later, in March of 2019, Adobe announced the official launch of Adobe Commerce Cloud. This solution is essentially a fully managed, cloud-based version of the Magento platform that easily syncs with already existing Adobe Experience Cloud tools like Adobe Analytics Cloud, Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Advertising Cloud, and Adobe Experience Manager.
If you’re already a fan of Adobe products and interested in learning more about their digital commerce offering, this is the article for you! We’re diving deep into what Adobe Commerce Cloud can do, who it’s a good fit for, and how it compares to other products on the market.
We touched on this above, but here’s a description of Adobe Commerce Cloud right from the source:
Adobe Commerce Cloud (ACC) is a new bundled offering that provides companies with a flexible and scalable end-to-end platform to manage, personalize, and optimize the commerce experience across every touch point and across the entire customer journey.
Marketing speak aside, what does that mean? Adobe Commerce Cloud was built on the Magento platform. Magento is an open source ecommerce platform written in PHP. Magento has historically had a free version (Magento Open Source) which anyone can download, self-host, and customize. They also offer managed Enterprise versions (Magento Commerce on premise and Magento Commerce).
Adobe Commerce Cloud takes Magento Commerce (the enterprise offering, not the open source version of Magento) a step further by making it possible to integrate with Adobe Experience Manager seamlessly.
Adobe Commerce Cloud operates with the same model as Magento Commerce Cloud, meaning their public pricing is not available. However, here is some general information to help you estimate pricing.
To create, launch, and maintain an Adobe Commerce Cloud store, you will need a developer, in-house IT team and/or an agency to manage the build and upkeep. Magento (and thus Adobe Commerce Cloud) has an extremely extensive setup which leads to high costs to complete the builds. Building an Enterprise-level store can cost over six figures and can quickly scale with the complexity of the build, design, extensions and additional integrations required.
That doesn’t cover the licensing fees for the use of the Adobe software. This will vary based on the size and complexity of your business.
Now let’s dive into Adobe Commerce Cloud’s core features. We’ll also be comparing them against what can be achieved on the BigCommerce platform.
Adobe Commerce Cloud, as explained above, is a cloud-hosted deployment model of Magento (equivalent to Magento Commerce, but integrated into the Adobe Suite.) We’ll cover how “cloud-hosted” is different from Software-as-a-Service or SaaS below, but you can also find a more detailed breakdown here.
As the name would suggest, Adobe Commerce Cloud is cloud-hosted. This means hosting is provided by Adobe as part of the cost of licensing the software. Where cloud-hosting differs from SaaS is that the onus is still on the merchant to make updates and handle maintenance.
Keeping up with the security patches and version updates necessary to have the latest secure version of Magento or in this case ACC is time-consuming and labor intensive. It’s also work that’s best handled by Magento certified developers.
Let’s consider the level of lift that merchants on Magento had in the past year, as Adobe Commerce Cloud is built on the Magento system. In 2019, Magento released a range of security patches in addition to 3 different version updates (2.3.1 to 2.3.2 to 2.3.3). Merchants wanting to stay on the most current version would have had to install 6 different security patches over 2019 and an additional 3 patches by the end of April 2020.
As a SaaS platform, BigCommerce not only provides hosting as part of the monthly cost, but also handles maintenance, security, and updates. You’re always on the latest version, and your development team can save time and resources on making these changes.
Data is increasingly important so ecommerce stores are better able to measure their successes and failures and make business decisions based on concrete information. Choosing an ecommerce platform that provides tools for data analytics may be an important factor for your business to consider.
One of the advantages of Adobe Commerce Cloud is that it integrates with Adobe Analytics which can help businesses better visualize and understand their data.
BigCommerce embraces an open platform for data. Our platform facilitates an open ecosystem that makes it easy for best-in-breed solutions to share data between systems so that data can be used to generate key customer and business insights.
Your store needs to be where your customers are shopping. Is that on Amazon or other marketplaces? On social media? Internationally? On mobile? Having a good omnichannel strategy means your site can reach your customers or potential customers wherever they choose to shop.
This platform has the core features and order management to provide an omnichannel experience to host your product catalog across some channels; however, you will need to do the heavy lifting. This isn’t native functionally, so the extensions still need to be installed, which can come with issues. The extension to sell on Amazon does not have the best reviews. There was also a Google Shopping integration that was sunset in April of 2020. Additionally, Adobe Commerce doesn’t have any native social integrations. The documentation seen here only directs you to code for adding a button.
BigCommerce also has the features necessary to create a seamless omnichannel experience so that businesses can easily manage inventory across all the channels where they sell including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Google Shopping, Pinterest, and more. Some of these channels are extensions, but it is overall a much easier set-up process.
Flexibility can mean a lot of things when it comes to your ecommerce platform. Here we mean: Is it able to be customized to work with your business specifications and also scale with your growth?
Because Adobe Commerce is built on the open source Magento system, it has the ability to be highly-customized for your needs. If you need the ultimate in flexibility having access to the source code may be a benefit. However, these changes will require heavy development costs (see section on costs above). Additionally, the more you modify the source code, the more complexity your developers will have to manage. (This incidentally, is what causes those costs to go up.) Essentially, having the ultimate flexibility is also a double-edged sword that comes with some serious drawbacks depending on the amount you want to invest just in your tech stack.
BigCommerce is an open SasS platform which means while the source code is not available, the platform is geared toward providing flexible, extensible solutions. This is accomplished through APIs that make it possible to connect to best-in-breed solutions. This can provide a comparable flexibility as with Adobe Commerce Cloud — without the cost and maintenance of modifying the source code.
As ecommerce has grown significantly over the last two decades, so too has what consumers expect from an ecommerce site. They want an engaging digital experience with a friction-free journey to checkout.
Standing out from the crowd in ecommerce means having a site that makes it easier to have the customer experience that will draw in and convert your audience. Headless commerce is one way to achieve this by allowing you to use a frontend CMS, DXP, PWA or other solution that specializes in your needs and then connecting it to your ecommerce platform on the backend through APIs.
One of the exciting advantages of Adobe Commerce is that it connects seamlessly with Adobe Experience Manager. If that’s your frontend of choice for creating your shopping experience, then Adobe Commerce may be a good fit. Adobe Commerce also supports the use of progressive web apps (PWAs). Beyond that it’s up to you as the merchant to develop your own extension or vet third-party solutions.
BigCommerce is one of the leading open SaaS platforms for midmarket and enterprise brands. This is in part because we’ve invested heavily in making our platform open to a number of popular frontend solutions through pre-built integrations and flexible APIs. BigCommerce has pre-built integrations for WordPress, Sitecore, Drupal, Bloomreach, Adobe Experience Manager, and Deity Falcon. The platform also makes it easy to connect other third-party and custom-built solutions.
Adobe Commerce is marketed as a tool to help both B2B and B2C businesses. For businesses who need a great deal of customization or who already use a number of Adobe products, there are some definite advantages to working with Adobe Commerce Cloud because you have a hosted website with a lot of ecommerce features that integrates with Adobe Experience Manager.
However, Adobe Commerce Cloud is far from the right fit for all merchants. Adobe describes it as an enterprise product, while Magento commerce is marketed more for midmarket. For many lower to upper midmarket businesses, the cost of Adobe Commerce Cloud and the development work necessary to not only get it up and running but to maintain it, are not worth it. For these businesses, working with a SaaS platform like BigCommerce that allows for customization but has a lower total cost of ownership, can be a better choice.
Do the math for your business. What are your priorities and must haves? Can they be met on a platform that will allow you to spend less on tech and free up cash flow for innovation or do you truly need extreme customization? These are questions only you can determine answers to.
Adobe Commerce Cloud is a powerful ecommerce platform and the combination of the Magento platform and Adobe Experience Manager can be a good fit for the right merchant.
However, many merchants can achieve much of the same features, functionality, and flexibility with a lower total cost of ownership and without the maintenance headache by using an open SaaS platform like BigCommerce. You will also want to be cognizant of time to market and how quickly your chosen platform will be able to help you launch.
Use this free RFP guide to help you better understand what will be the right fit for your business needs. You can focus on just the criteria that’s important to you.