Demandware (now Salesforce Commerce Cloud) is the Salesforce offering into the e-commerce platform race, but how does it compare to Shopify Plus?
Hosting and reliability:
Both platforms are cloud hosted (SaaS), allowing retailers to focus growing their business without the added technical headaches IT Infrastructure can bring. Both platforms boast 99.97% uptime and are updated with new releases and security upgrades. However, Demandware merchants must declare when they expect to launch sales (i.e Christmas or Black Friday). Whilst this shouldn’t cause operational issues, it does raise questions around how Demandware allocates bandwidth.
Price and terms:
The minimum Shopify Plus contract lasts for 12 months with a minimum fee of $2,000 per month, scaling dependant on revenue and payment gateways.
Demandware contracts are longer, between 3- 5 years, with a severance fee if merchants decide to leave early. Whilst Demandware are fairly closed about their pricing, they operate a “Shared Success” model, meaning, the higher the merchant revenue, the higher the monthly cost. For example, a merchant with £20 million annual sales would expect to spend an estimated figure of $200,000 per year in Demandware licensing fees, whilst on Shopify Plus would expect to pay $47,400.00.
*Just to note these are estimated “out of the box” totals that do not take into account any additional apps, payment gateways, integrations or subscription-based software.
Apps, partners and integrations:
Out of the box, both platforms give you the basics to get your business off the ground, however, both rely on apps and technology partners to supercharge their e-commerce offering. Shopify Plus has a large a large ecosystem of technology with over 2,300 reviewed and verified apps and services. Technology partners provide a myriad of apps for e-commerce success, ranging from Accounting and Shipping to Customer Service and Social Media. On top of the app store, there are the recommended partners and technology solutions providers for Shopify plus merchants, including technology partners such as Dotmailer, Klevu, Nosto and Trustpilot.
Demandware (Salesforce Commerce Cloud) provides a service called Link Marketplace, with 286 partners split into Technology (integrations) and Services (marketing) which range from payment providers such as Worldpay and Visa, shipping such as UPS and reviews and marketing such as Yotpo.
POS and Omnichannel:
One key selling feature of Demandware is their focus on Omnichannel, allowing merchants to sell seamlessly across multiple platforms. Demandware allows merchants to combine online and offline retail, combining POS hardware with the e-commerce backend such as order management and sales and fulfilment. Whilst Shopify Plus does offer a POS system, and orders are managed from the merchant's account, fulfilment and warehouse management is often best managed via a third-party ERP or WMS partner for merchants operating at scale. Demandware allows merchants to interact with customers on the shop floor and mobile devices (tablets) can be linked to additional inventory, however, this is achievable using Shopify Plus an iPad and a POS dedicated storefront (part of a multi-store setup).
Maintenance and development costs:
Whilst apps and partners can plug and play for most things, both platforms may need further integrations for high volume merchants, for additional customisations such as the integration of legacy systems, or bespoke brand needs, such as The Hummingbird Bakery’s custom cake builder.
Shopify Plus multi-store setup benefits from content syncing apps, pushing content and products from one main store to other subsidiaries and other integrations may include WMS or ERP legacy systems, that would need to be scoped and quoted before migration. The Shopify Experts section lists every verified Shopify Plus solution provider, allowing merchants to select the best tool for the job.
Demandware is a repurposed older solution (formerly Intershop) and isn’t built API first so integrations, whilst achievable, are best left to the experts, which can be costly and time-consuming involve extensive QA testing before launch. Demandware agencies are, at present, a bit thin on the ground, so sourcing an experienced agency to handle your technical requirements should be priority one.
The choice between Shopify Plus and Demandware really comes down to two things: POS and budget. Whilst Shopify POS is great for smaller bricks-and-mortar stores, on a scaled level, say a department store, it’s just not there yet. However, It should be noted that there are other technology partners with Shopify POS integrations that are worth checking out.
Budget, this is the big one. Demandware is aimed at high volume retailers (on and offline) and their client list includes Converse, New Balance and Ugg. However, the pricing reflects that, with licensing fees between $200,000 to $600,000 per year (based on revenue) and with additional services and development costs on top of that, it can be a costly venture.
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