Choosing an ecommerce platform is not easy. You need to consider both how your business currently functions and how you hope it works in the future. You have to ponder if your current audience will remain the same or whether you plan to expand your offering and add new sales channels and marketplaces.
You need the right tools to deliver the type of digital experience that customers have come to expect. And you need to consider the cost of the platform and the ROI of your investment.
Adobe Commerce provides a unique offering: Magento Open Source, formerly known as Magento Community. The free, open-source edition of Adobe Commerce is relatively potent and has many things to offer that are also included in the Adobe Commerce edition. But just how far can this Open Source edition take you, and what are your options when you get to the end of the road?
In this article, we’ll explore the capabilities and limitations of Magento Open Source and compare it to Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento 2 Enterprise) to help you decide which is the best fit for you.
Depending on your business, you may be a good candidate for the Open Source platform, or it may make more sense to avoid long-term technical debt by implementing Adobe Commerce instead.
Related Reading: Ecommerce Strategy 101: Choosing a Platform and Real KPI Metrics
What is Magento Open Source?
Magento Open Source is the free, open-source version of Adobe Commerce. This version is mainly suitable for small businesses and allows you to add functionality and Magento extensions to boost your store.
The popularity of the Magento Open Source is easy to understand. This free environment is downloaded and tested thousands of times per month. It has a robust community of developers and evangelists and a codebase marketplace of tools and extensions that the community is thrilled to share. It embodies the true nature of the open-source spirit.
If you have trained staff who understand how to code on the platform and spend time implementing and managing everything from hosting and support to backend needs (payments, shipping, order management, logistics), then the Open Source edition can seem like the best option.
But even if you are blessed with the talent to handle the technical side of Open Source, adding functionality takes time, and the reduced speed-to-market may hold back your growth.
What is Adobe Commerce?
Adobe Commerce is everything you get with Magento Open Source and much more. It includes drag-and-drop content management with designing and preview features to allow your content creators to manage and build content without involving a developer. This significantly speeds up the development process and will make your marketing team more agile.
Built for rapid innovation, Adobe Commerce is an enterprise platform that combines robust out-of-the-box functionality, limitless scalability, and powerful business tools to keep you ahead in the increasingly complex arena of digital commerce and growing customer demands.
What is the difference between Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce?
The main difference between Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce is that Open Source is distributed for free. Adobe Commerce, on the other hand, is a premium, paid-for option. It includes a long list of features and functionalities that you would need to build yourself with the Open Source edition.
Let’s compare the two options by looking at the following parameters:
As we’ve mentioned above, Magento Open Source is free, while Adobe Commerce has a license fee. The license fee is a percentage of your total annual revenue.
When considering cost, it’s also essential to consider the value something brings. And the value you get from the paid version is immensely higher, as we will show below. You also need to consider what it will cost you in terms of developer time to create things already incorporated in the paid version.
However, due to the pricing model for Adobe Commerce, this is primarily true once your store reaches a certain turnover. If your revenue is low, you will still have to pay the minimum license fee. In such a case, the minimum license fee cost could be too high for your business. If you don’t foresee rapid growth that motivates investment in the paid version, the free platform may be a better fit.
Planning for scale from the beginning is a critical success factor when choosing an ecommerce platform. If you’re anticipating rapid growth, it’s a good idea to go with Adobe Commerce from the start. Adobe Commerce comes with comprehensive features that give a growing business the level of agility it needs. If you opt for the free version, you risk being held back and slowed down by having to build each and every new component your growth journey requires.
From a security perspective, Adobe Commerce is considerably more robust than Magento Open Source. Open Source lacks credit card tokenization and advanced payment security, which can be problematic since these are features required for secured transactions. Another big issue with the free version is that it does not comply with PCI DSS security.
Adobe Commerce offers more advanced security solutions. The paid version is “PCI compliant” and has the Magento Secure Payment Bridge for handling card processing. The paid edition also has bug bounty programs, a regular scanning process, and secured payment gateways like PayPal, WorldPay, CyberSource, Authorize.net, and more. Additionally, Action Logs in Adobe Commerce ensure every change made by users with access to the admin panel is recorded and stored.
The Cloud supplies CDN and DDoS protection, along with the Fastly Web Application Firewall. By upgrading to the pro version, you receive additional security features such as New Relic infrastructure and logs and a dedicated technical advisor.
While the free and paid versions of the ecommerce platforms share similar core features, opting for Adobe Commerce provides advanced functionality across different areas, including
- Complete B2B suite: B2B quotes, company accounts, my purchase orders, quick order and requisition lists, company credit and payment on account, shared catalog, and configuring company email
- Advanced search functionality: Quick autocomplete functionality, smart corrections for misspelled queries and search for product attributes
- Cloud: PCI compliance, site-wide analysis tool, Fastly Web Application Firewall, New Relic APM, Magento BI (on-demand), CDN, and DDoS Protection
- Cloud Pro: Multiple environments, isolated and dedicated hardware setup, New Relic infrastructure and logs, B2B module, dedicated technical advisor on staff
- Catalog and system: Action logs, order archive, order management system, full catalog export, and scheduled data import/export
- Marketing: Google Tag Manager, private sales and events, related product rules, email reminders, visual merchandizer, product recommendations
- Advanced targeting and segmentation: Dynamic and personalized product display, customer attributes, and real-time segmentation
- Advanced content management: Drag-and-drop content management with staging and preview features, page hierarchy, and dynamic blocks
- Gifting options: Ability to offer customizable gift cards, gift registries, Reward and loyalty system, and vouchers
- Add to cart by SKU: Customers can add several items to the cart by entering the SKU list
- Sales: Returns, address search, cart thumbnails photos, and managing a shopping cart
- Support: 24/7 support available
As expected, the features that come with the paid version are more advanced and powerful than what you get with the free edition.
Related Reading: Ecommerce Replatforming – Is Now the Time?
The most important benefit of Adobe Commerce is speed-to-market. Adobe Commerce comes with the same open-source spirit and community but is complemented with out-of-the-box functionality far more potent than the capabilities of even a seasoned Open Source build. The most important benefit of having access to this robust functionality from day one is the agility and speed-to-market it brings you.
Whether you are entering a new market, creating a new sales channel, introducing new products, or even changing the entire structure of your business, speed is of the essence. In online sales, speed is everything. You need to be quick to take the lead and stay ahead of your competition. When forced to build too much from scratch, you will easily be left behind.
With the Adobe Commerce platform, you free up your team’s time and brain to let them focus on innovation and strategy, rather than testing, security, and worrying about up-time. This means your digital talent will be able to focus on staying cutting-edge and ahead instead of being tangled up in time-consuming implementation work. The highly flexible backend of Adobe Commerce allows you to quickly and easily change, adapt and configure the most important aspect of your site: the customer experience.
Adobe offers a solid foundation to build your ecommerce store whether you opt for the paid or the free version. Some of the functionality that both Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce offer include: responsive web experiences across devices, simple checkout, payment, standard shipping, and basic site administration. This is enough to run a basic site that offers a single path to purchase but limits how customers can interact with your products.
However, the paid edition will improve the customer experience in several ways. Some of the main drivers of Adobe Commerce are the out-of-box functionality, B2B suite, advanced cloud features, ElasticSearch, existing CMS capabilities, Content Staging and Preview, customized shipping, and integration with Adobe Experience Manager.
You also need to think about the future; will you need multi-site, multi-language, multi-currency capabilities? Will you use the data that comes from your transactions for business intelligence and commerce analytics? Will drag and drop visual merchandising help you go to market quicker? Will you want the ability to cross-sell or upsell? Do you want the ability to scale, grow or change your selling structures?
If the answer is yes, then Adobe Commerce is the right option for you.
How Vaimo Can Help
At Vaimo, we work with multi-brand, multi-currency, multi-language clients to sync all of their channels and create winning ecommerce strategies. We’d love to help you decide what platform is the best fit for your business and get you up and running. Get in touch with our team of experts to learn how we can help you take your ecommerce business to the next level.