Magento Vs Salesforce Commerce Cloud: Differences and Similarities

December 26, 2023

Choosing the right ecommerce platform is one of the most important decisions you'll make when starting an online store. The platform you go with will impact everything from your budget to the features you can offer customers. Two of the most popular choices are Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. But how can you determine which one is the most suitable for your business?

This blog post will compare Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud in depth so you can make an informed decision. We'll look at cost, features, customization, security, and more. By the end, you'll have a good sense of the key differences and similarities between these two ecommerce powerhouses.

Getting to Know Magento and Salesforce

First, let's start with a quick look at what Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud actually are and why they're so popular. 

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform written in PHP. It was originally released in 2008 by Varien before being acquired by Adobe in 2018. Magento powers over 250,000 online stores from small businesses to global enterprises like Nike and Ford. It offers powerful marketing and SEO tools, extensive flexibility, and robust features.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a hosted, cloud-based ecommerce solution. Originally known as Demandware, it was created in 2004 before being acquired by Salesforce in 2016. It powers over 2,000 online stores globally from brands like L'Oreal and Toyota. Commerce Cloud runs on Salesforce's secure, reliable infrastructure and focuses on ease of use plus seamless integration with other Salesforce products.

Both Magento and Commerce Cloud offer enterprise-level ecommerce functionality. But Magento gives you more direct control while Commerce Cloud takes care of more back-end complexity on your behalf. Keep this key difference in mind as we dive deeper.

Cost Matters

One of the most important factors when choosing an ecommerce platform is cost. How much will it cost to not just implement the platform but maintain and grow it over time?

Magento is an open-source solution, so the core software itself is free to download and use. However, getting it up and running does require technical work. A basic Magento implementation typically costs $1,000 - $25,000. A more complex launch with custom design and extensions can easily exceed $100,000.

You'll also need to factor in ongoing costs for web hosting, maintenance, and support. Magento hosting often starts around $2 per month for a basic plan. Full coverage support plans range from $1000 - $19,000 annually. Maintenance costs range from $35 to $80 per hour, and support costs range from $250 to $3,000 per month. There are ways to reduce costs by handling tasks in-house, but you need the right technical expertise on your team.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud takes the opposite approach. It's a SaaS platform, so you pay a monthly subscription fee to access and use it. This covers the cost of hardware hosting, uptime, maintenance, support, and more. Plans start at $$ per month for a basic preset bundle of features. Larger custom packages can cost several thousand per month. 

This SaaS model means Commerce Cloud requires less upfront investment. However, the monthly costs add up over time. Compared to open-source Magento, your long-term costs are likely to be higher with Commerce Cloud unless you require minimal hosting and support.

When weighing cost, think about your budget now plus projections for future growth and complexity. An open-source model like Magento offers more control while SaaS like Commerce Cloud offers more convenience.

Smart Shopping with AI 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are not just trendy terms anymore. AI-powered features are starting to reshape the ecommerce landscape. Both Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud incorporate smart AI to create better shopping experiences. However, there are some differences in their approaches.

Magento Sense is the AI engine within Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce. It powers functionality like automated merchandising, predictive search, and personalized recommendations. For example, it can automatically suggest the most relevant products to each customer based on signals like past purchases and browsing history.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud also has AI-driven features like predictive search and Einstein Recommendations. However, Einstein is the core AI platform that extends across the full Salesforce ecosystem. This means Commerce Cloud can take advantage of AI innovations built for other Salesforce products. The shared artificial intelligence capabilities are broader and more advanced.

Both platforms aim to leverage AI to help customers find the right products faster. But the tighter integration with the Salesforce Einstein platform gives Commerce Cloud the edge when it comes to smart shopping experiences. As AI capabilities expand, retailers on Commerce Cloud will be able to deploy innovations quicker.

Where is Your Store Hosted?

Another key difference between Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud lies in where and how your ecommerce store is hosted. 

As an open-source solution, Magento offers flexible hosting options. You can choose to host your store on your own servers or use a cloud hosting provider like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Azure. Self-hosting takes considerable technical expertise but allows maximum control and scalability. Cloud hosting simplifies deployment and maintenance in exchange for ongoing costs.

With Commerce Cloud, your only option is cloud hosting directly through Salesforce. It takes care of everything from server hardware to security patches to uptime and performance monitoring. You don't need as much technical knowledge to launch or maintain your store. However, you also have less control over the infrastructure and stack behind it.

Magento gives you hosting flexibility and control at the cost of higher complexity. Commerce Cloud emphasizes ease of use and maintenance at the cost of vendor lock-in. As you evaluate platforms, decide how much you want to take hosting and infrastructure management into your own hands.

Adding More Features 

The default out-of-the-box features you get with an ecommerce platform just scratch the surface of what you may need. Add-ons, extensions, and apps allow you to grow your platforms capabilities over time. Both Magento and Salesforce support expanding your feature set - but Magento offers a lot more extension flexibility.

Magento boasts an extensive directory of over 7000 extensions submitted by developers all over the world. It supports add-ons for everything from payments to shipping to SEO to marketing and more. Installing and updating extensions does require technical expertise. But the huge selection means you can usually find an extension tailored to your needs.

The Commerce Cloud ecosystem is more locked down. Salesforce offers a number of first-party extensions and partners with qualified third-party developers. However, the volume and variety of extensions can't match what's available for open-source Magento. If you want maximum flexibility to add new features over time, Magento is tough to beat.

When you launch your store, think about what capabilities you may want to add in the future. The open nature of Magento lends itself better to a constantly evolving feature set.

Making It Your Own

Along with extending features, you'll also want to customize the design, branding, and front-end experience of your ecommerce platform. Once again, Magento's open-source nature makes it more flexible for modifications.

Magento lets you fully access and edit frontend templates, code, and stylesheets to tailor the storefront design. Developers have complete control over look and feel. You can also modify backend admin panels and workflows if desired. While advanced customization does require dev skills, the open-source license places no limits on what you can tweak and optimize. 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud also enables customization but with more guardrails in place. You can customize certain elements like headers, footers, and style sheets. However, the core Commerce Cloud infrastructure is not as editable since Salesforce manages it. There are change request tickets if you want deeper changes, but they may cost extra and require Salesforce involvement.

So while both platforms support customization, Magento gives developers more freedom to molded stores exactly how they want. Commerce Cloud customization occurs within defined parameters to maintain the SaaS infrastructure.

Keeping It Safe

Security is paramount for any ecommerce platform handling payments and customer data. Both Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud incorporate robust security protections - but their methods differ.

As an open-source platform, Magento gives you flexibility over security methods. Strong SSL encryption and PCI compliance come built-in. You can layer on sophisticated protection add-ons from the Magento Marketplace like malware scanners and firewalls. However, you need to stay on top of patches and upgrades yourself - security is a shared responsibility between you and the community.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud emphasizes security and uptime through its SaaS model. DDOS mitigation, intrusion detection, and redundancy all come built-in and managed by Salesforce. The platform undergoes rigorous penetration testing and provides verified PCI compliance. However, you have less visibility into specific security methods; you must trust Salesforce infrastructure.

Ultimately, both platforms provide enterprise-grade security. But Magento requires more technical skill to customize protections while Commerce Cloud manages security behind the scenes.

Getting Help When You Need It

Even the most well-planned ecommerce platforms require support at some point. When issues arise, you want help available quickly from knowledgeable sources. Let's compare the support landscape for Magento vs. Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Magento offers support plans from official Magento partners starting at around $5000 annually. This includes 24/7 access to the support portal for trouble tickets and documentation plus service level agreements. Support quality depends on the specific partner plan. The Magento community forums also provide crowdsourced help.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud support comes built into the monthly SaaS fee. You get 24/7 phone, chat, and web support plus robust help documentation. Response times vary based on your assigned support tier. Higher tiers with faster responses come with more expensive plans. Commerce Cloud support also includes direct patches, updates, and monitoring from Salesforce technical staff.

Magento support offers more flexibility with various partner plans. But Commerce Cloud provides very tight product integration and expertise from Salesforce support engineers. Both are viable options depending on if you prefer a crowdsourced community or direct vendor support model.


Deciding between Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud requires closely weighing your priorities. Magento offers open-source flexibility and control at a lower upfront cost but higher long-term overhead. Salesforce Commerce Cloud emphasizes usability and simplifying deployments through an SaaS model but at a higher ongoing price.

Here are some key factors to consider:

  • •  Magento has more extension possibilities but Salesforce has tighter AI/ML integration
  • •  Magento enables customized hosting while Commerce Cloud is cloud only
  • •  Magento provides open-source customization freedom while Commerce Cloud customization is guided 
  • •  Magento security depends more on your own technical skills while Commerce Cloud manages it for you
  • •  Magento support comes from varied partners while Commerce Cloud support is centralized 

The best choice depends on your ecommerce objectives, technical capabilities, and growth plans. Magento works well for organizations who want maximum control and customization. Commerce Cloud is ideal for those who value fast time to launch and built-in scalability. Carefully weigh the pros and cons for your needs.

With the right platform, you can build a successful online store that delights customers and grows revenue. Understanding the differences between Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud brings you one step closer to picking the best solution for your business.


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