Which E-Commerce System is Best for My Business?

While some of the traditional Open Source ERP systems have B2B and B2C e-commerce capabilities, these capabilities cannot compare with the stand alone e-commerce vendors like Demandware, Hybris, Magento, Spree Commerce and to a lesser extent, Shopify and WooCommerce. 

The overall benefit to having a dedicated e-commerce system is the ability to put e-commerce at the core of your operations, whether B2B, B2C, retail, wholesale, distribution and any business model that transacts online. 

In addition, all of the platforms have robust, public API.  Just having an API by itself is not enough, and we’ll explain why a little later when we review what API’s are. 

If we didn’t list your e-commerce vendor above, you may want to compare your current platform with those options.

Of the vendors listed above, the majority are SAAS based, or have a SAAS option, meaning you pay a monthly fee and all of the security, maintenance, and updates are taken care of for you. 

When choosing between the platforms heavily consider your needs, as the platform you choose will be tightly integrated with the rest of your operational infrastructure.   Let’s go through the options here; pricing, and some high level take-aways for each.

We’ll start from high to low in terms of pricing, and then provide a conceptual understanding of the platforms. 

Of course if you talk to the vendors themselves, or an agency, they will undoubtedly tell you that the platform can do anything. This is why you should always get an unbiased third party opinion from a non-affiliate source, in other words someone who doesn’t get paid referral fees for referring business to the platform. 

If you are not sure, just ask if they are a platform partner or an affiliate.  They should tell you what their relationship is.

Demandware

Demandware, now owned by Salesforce, and called Salesforce Commerce Cloud is an enterprise e-commerce system and some of the largest retailers run on that platform.

You expect to spend somewhere between 200k to 700k a year in license fees and somewhere between 200k and 600k for implementation services.  Of course there is a robust API available for merchants, so integrating with other Open Source ERP Systems.

Hybris

As for pricing, Hybris offers a variety of options, including pay-per-use, long-term licensing, and revenue share. Standard licenses start at 54k and go up from there, depending on what modules and services you need. 

For Hybris, both a cloud edition, and a self hosted version are available.  Hybris, similiar to Demandware, is an enterprise system built for larger organizations that need tight system integration and a full onmi channel experience.

Magento

Magento has three flavors, the community edition, the Enterprise Edition, and ECE, where the vendor maintains the infrastructure of the application. 

The community edition, while free, lacks the tightly integrated environment of the Enterprise, and ECE editions.  If you desire a tightly integrated environment, you will want to explore Enterprise and ECE. 

If you decide to go with the self-hosted Magento Community, note that the infrastructure cost can be quite substantial and take you and your staff away from focusing on your core operations. 

Given that Magento 1 licensing expired at the end of 2018, merchants at some point will need to rebuild their store on Magento 2 or switch to another platform as it is not simply an upgrade from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

Additionally, Magento will still require a full time developer or 2 or 4 on staff to maintain the community edition of your website.

Magento Enterprise Annual License begins at 18k and their ECE license begins at 30k a year.  Of course, being open source, you can create any type of integrations with our ERP that are needed.

Shopify

The next level down from Magento is actually a SAAS product, or software as a service, meaning that you pay a continual monthly one fee for hosting, security, maintenance. 

This allows you to focus on building your e-commerce store without worry about the infrastructure.  The caveat of course, not being open source, you don’t always have the ability to make the code changes to the features and processes built on the platform.  

Shopify has two versions, Shopify, and Shopify Plus, which starts at 2k a month. The main difference with Shopify Plus is the ability to customize the checkout pages, as well as some additional features for growing merchants.

In addition, you will need to budget for extensions, and third party add-ons that do not come with the base pricing of Shopify.

WooCommerce

The final e-commerce provider, with market-share is WooCommerce.  While WooCommerce is both free and open source, you can change any aspect of your online store. 

Of course this also means you need to take care of your own hosting, security, maintenance – that is unless you use a WooCoommerce hosted vendor like Alpha Beta Commerce, where they provide all the WooCommerce infrastructure and all you need to do is focus on design. 

You will also need to find a couple of reliable designer or developers to help you manage the solution.  Given the popularity of the platform, this is not difficult to source.

If you don’t choose a WooCommerce hosted solution, you will need to pay for extensions, security, and maintenance.  For WooCommerce merchants, budgeting anywhere between 3k-5k a year for your online WooCommerce store is a good start.

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