Cutting right to the chase, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a big investment. And it’s not a one-time investment (although that initial site build and launch will cost you). The steep licensing fees and maintenance costs are long term.
That doesn’t mean Salesforce Commerce Cloud isn’t the right choice for your brand, but it does mean you need due diligence in examining all the alternatives. Some Salesforce competitors may be able to provide you greater agility and free up more funds to fuel innovation.
What is Salesforce Commerce Cloud?
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a multi-tenant SaaS ecommerce solution available in separate products designed for B2C and B2B customers. The cloud-based ecommerce software was formerly called Demandware (founded in 2004), until it was acquired by Salesforce in 2016.
As a SaaS product, Salesforce Commerce Cloud markets itself on its ease of use and speed to launch. It also is heavily invested in omnichannel customer experiences—creating unified experiences and allowing brands to communicate with customers across all touchpoints.
The platform comes with a wealth of ecommerce features including various templates, tools for developers to extend the platform through APIs, and data analytics to gain insights about customer shopping behavior. The embedded Einstien AI technology helps recommend the right product to the right customer at the right time.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is actually two separate products, one for B2C customers and one for B2B customers. Each has features tailored for the audience. The B2C product focuses on building digital experiences while the B2B product includes features like contract-specific pricing and custom catalogs, fast reorders, order management, custom shopping carts, and account hierarchies.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is the software solution behind the online stores for New Balance, Kate Spade, Michaels, and Madewell.
3 reasons you’re looking at a Salesforce Commerce Cloud competitor
All of that sounds great, right? But you’re here looking at Salesforce Commerce Cloud alternatives, and there are some very compelling reasons why Salesforce might not be the choice for you, or why you’re looking to replatform from Salesforce if you’re already using it.
Here are some common reasons.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is very expensive
As you might expect, Salesforce Commerce Cloud comes at a very steep cost. The fee to license the software is based on the business’s GMV (gross merchandise value) and ranges from 1% to 3%, depending on the edition of the product chosen. The 3% of GMV product is the B2C Commerce Plus, which has the greatest number of features. Depending on your sales, this can be a large amount.
Beyond the license fees, the cost to build a Salesforce Commerce Cloud store is quite large, with some sources reporting it averages from around $350,000 to $575,000. Sinking this kind of investment into the procurement of a new ecommerce site may make some businesses reluctant to cut their losses and replatform. But when they do, they may find they can get much of the same functionality and innovation they need at a much lower price point.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud requires heavy developer resources
The heft of the Salesforce Commerce Cloud product and its breadth of features is a double-edged sword. Although it's a SaaS product, meaning you’re off the hook for handling updates and hosting, there’s still a lot of time and money that will likely go into building and making updates to the site.
Learning curve to use Salesforce Commerce Cloud is high
Again, the power of the software can also be its undoing. Some users report the number of features actually makes using simple functions difficult, thus slowing down progress. Mastering the full product is a time-consuming process that can slow down innovation. Businesses have particularly found extending the platform by designing in new features using the Salesforce API to be a challenge. And provided customer support is not always as helpful as it could be.
8 best alternatives to Salesforce Commerce Cloud
At the end of the day, you might have a business with extremely high profit margins and a need for a boat-load of digital commerce features. Or you might prefer a more nimble, cost-effective alternative. Here are a few to consider:
- Shopify Plus
- Magento/Adobe Commerce
- Oracle Commerce Cloud
- SAP Commerce Cloud
- Elastic Path
Like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify Plus is a SaaS ecommerce platform. Shopify has many of the same core ecommerce features as Salesforce Commerce Cloud and a huge ecosystem of 6,000 solutions, including specialized plug-ins and software integrations. You can customize Shopify to meet the unique needs of your business—without committing development resources for every new feature you add. Rebecca Minkoff, Allbirds, and Magnolia Home all run their ecommerce stores on Shopify Plus.
- Drag-and-drop website builder is easy to use and leads to quick launches in an average of 90 days.
- Highly cost-effective without compromising on enterprise features and modules.
- Has its own point of sale (POS) that integrates seamlessly with the platform for easy omnichannel and multichannel selling.
- Shopify Flow automates and optimizes tasks across your stores and apps.
- Run your B2B and DTC business from one place with the power and simplicity of an all-in-one platform.
BigCommerce is another SaaS alternative to Salesforce Commerce Cloud. BigCommerce Enterprise is the more full-featured product designed to support (as the name would suggest) upper midmarket and enterprise businesses. BigCommerce customers include Solo Stove, Skullcandy, and Natori.
- Known for its open architecture.
- Cost effective compared to Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
- Good SEO tools.
- If you want to operate globally, its multi-language tools require some workarounds.
- Somewhat of a learning curve to operate on the back end.
- May not integrate with all your needed business solutions.
Unlike the other options so far on our list, Adobe Commerce/Magento is an open-source platform that was acquired by Adobe in 2018. We’re using both names here because both still exist in the ecommerce ether. Because it has a higher price and strong cadre of ecommerce features, Adobe Commerce could be a feasible alternative for a brand considering Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Land Rover, Christian Louboutin, and Olympus are all customers of Adobe Commerce.
- Very customizable.
- It has a ton of complex ecommerce features, especially helpful for handling multiple stores/languages/currencies.
- Scalable and can handle high product loads, complex inventory management, and transactions.
- Expensive; comparable to Salesforce Commerce Cloud in price.
- Complex architecture can make it slow to innovate on or make fast updates.
Oracle Cloud Commerce
For those who use Oracle Netsuite as an ERP and want an easy integration, Oracle Commerce Cloud is a SaaS ecommerce solution with features for both B2B and B2C sellers. The technology is built on ATG, which was bought by Oracle in 2010. Oracle customers include Bruno Fritsch, Banco Nacional, and Delly’s.
- Strong ecommerce and content management features, especially for multi-store.
- Integrates with other Oracle products like Netsuite.
- Oracle may not be continuing to invest in its ecommerce solution.
- Documentation is lacking.
SAP Commerce Cloud
SAP Commerce Cloud is a cloud-based commerce solution serving B2C, B2B, and hybrid businesses. The platform includes a suite of tools designed to support omnichannel selling through platforms like social media. SAP Commerce Cloud powers over 2,500 stores including Flexi, Caseys, and Moen.
- If omnichannel is a foundational part of your strategy, SAP is a good fit.
- It can handle hybrid businesses well.
- Strong customer support.
- Very expensive—comparable to Salesforce Commerce.
- Implementation and management requires specialists.
If your enterprise is looking for a microservices-first solution, commercetools is one alternative to consider. Commercetools is an API-driven SaaS platform that takes a modular approach. So you swap out different parts of your tech stack as you grow. Customers of commercetools include Audi, Express, and Eurail.
- APIs cover the full range of ecommerce functionality for the platform and can be easily extended
- Modular, microservices approach can be cost-effective, as changes can be made without affecting the whole system
- Complex architecture does require a level of digital maturity
- There’s no storefront—in addition to managing the commerce platform, you also have to figure out the front end.
Like commercetools above, Elastic Path is a headless-first ecommerce solution targeted to enterprise brands. As a microservices offering, Elastic Path is great for brands that want to customize and take a modular approach to growth. HarperCollins Publishers, Deckers, and Pella are all powered by Elastic Path.
- Seamlessly integrates with front-end technologies, but also includes a front end so you have options.
- Possible to cloud host or host on premise.
- Need some digital know-how, and the documentation to help could be improved.
- Depending on the level of customization, the build can be time-consuming.
If your business mainly sells wholesale, Intershop is one alternative to consider. The ecommerce platform mainly serves B2B companies and manufacturers. Intershop was founded nearly 30 years ago in Germany by the same man who would later found Demandware (which would in turn become Salesforce Commerce Cloud). Intershop offers commerce management, experience management, and product information management to help optimize sales channels for B2B businesses. Customers include Staples, Dover, and Wurth.
- Good global commerce management for handling digital storefronts in multiple countries.
- Robust catalog of features.
- Only suitable for B2B businesses.
- Proprietary development studio diverges from industry standards and documentation could be stronger.
Migrating to Shopify Plus from Salesforce Commerce Cloud
If you’re considering moving platforms because you’re tired of the expense and feature bloat of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify Plus might just be the platform you’ve been looking for.
Shopify Plus has the power and scalability of an enterprise business needs but is more user friendly and cost effective.
Both platforms offer key features like customizable online stores, international payment methods, the ability to manage multiple sites, the ability to easily go headless, and integration with a number of secure payment gateways. However, Shopify Plus includes some added conveniences that can save you both time and money, such as an easy-to-use drag-and-drop store builder, a full-featured mobile app, and a POS system for easy connection with offline stores.
Other reasons why Shopify Plus should be your alternative:
- Shopify Plus integrates with a huge ecosystem of systems and tools, workflow automations to make your job easier, ecommerce-optimized templates, and tools to create innovative shopping experiences built in.
- Feel supported from first conversation to launch and beyond, with ongoing strategy, resources, and access to the largest partner and app ecosystem in the industry.
- Industry-leading security, compliance, data encryption, and fraud and bot protection
- Convert carts with the best customizable checkout and conversion tools on the internet Migrate and launch your online store on Shopify fast with a customizable, easy-to-use platform.
While it can be daunting to replatform after a long and expensive build process on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the resulting savings and more nimble, innovative platform can outweigh your sunk costs. And the average launch time for a Shopify Plus store is just 90 days.
2 businesses that migrated from Salesforce Commerce Cloud to Shopify Plus
To illustrate why some businesses choose to leave Salesforce Commerce Cloud for Shopify Plus, here are two customers who found greater success after they made the switch.
Cambridge Satchel Company
Once a small business, this seller of hand-crafted leather handbags quickly became a multimillion-dollar international brand. However, the business was hampered by both the high prices and hefty development required to maintain and add to its site on Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
By switching to Shopify Plus, Cambridge Satchel Company streamlined its tech tech and transitioned from significant spend in custom integrations to seamless plug-ins. The business was also able to go global with online storefronts in multiple currencies selling bags in the UK, Europe and the US.
NYDJ has made a name for itself by creating jeans that are comfortable and flattering for all women. Its online store was originally powered by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, but found it both expensive and difficult to use.
By moving to Shopify Plus, NYDJ was able to decrease its total cost of ownership by 65%. At the same time, the business grew, because its teams were able to more efficiently test and deploy new apps and plug-ins. The team was no longer bogged down in maintenance, but could focus on building the business.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is undoubtedly a powerful ecommerce platform with a wealth of features. It may be the right choice for some business models. However, the vast majority of use cases can likely find greater savings—without sacrificing scalability, features, or innovation—by going with an alternative like Shopify Plus.
SFCC alternatives FAQ
Why do businesses choose Salesforce Commerce Cloud?
Businesses who thrive on Salesforce Commerce Cloud are usually large, midmarket or enterprise brands with high profit margins that require a large number of specialized ecommerce features (and thus don’t mind paying for them).
Why are businesses seeking alternatives to Salesforce Commerce Cloud?
Businesses on Salesforce Commerce Cloud might seek an alternative due to the high cost and heavy maintenance required to run a site on it. They might seek a more nimble solution that can allow them to invest in more revenue-driving innovation.
What are some alternatives to Salesforce Commerce Cloud?
There are a wealth of ecommerce platform out there, but some that offer the enterprise-level features and functionality that would make them suitable alternatives include Shopify Plus, BigCommerce Enterprise, Adobe Commerce, Oracle Commerce Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud, commercetools, Elastic Path, WooCommerce, and Intershop (but only for B2B).