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Shopify or Salesforce Commerce Cloud… Which Ecommerce Platform is Right for Your Brand?

Technology

Compare Shopify and Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) with our latest blog article and downloadable white paper. Discover key differences in ease of use, customization, and support so that you can choose the best ecommerce platform for your brand.

5.28.2024

Headshot of Chelsey Debalsi, Director of Marketing at Domaine.

Chelsey Debalsi

Director of Marketing

A geometric graphic background, with "Shopify vs Salesforce" superimposed on top

Selecting the right ecommerce platform impacts just about everything for a brand. Conversions, revenue, customer experience, speed-to-market, customer support, staffing decisions, supply chain and fulfillment partners…

It’s a big deal.

Two of the biggest players in the ecommerce platform space? Shopify and Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC). Both are household names. Both have big teams behind them.

But they’re also very different.

Here’s what brands need to consider when deciding between the two.

Shopify 101

Shopify is a purpose-built ecommerce platform that, as of January 2024, powers over 4.8 million online stores. In the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, the platform facilitated over $75 billion worth of gross merchandise volume. Globally-recognized enterprise brands like Arhaus and Bare Minerals use Shopify. So do rapidly scaling brands like Ariana Grande’s r.e.m. beauty and Benchmade.

Brands of all sizes, across all verticals have flocked to Shopify in droves.

Core to its approach, Shopify focuses on making the nuts and bolts of ecommerce easy to stand up and manage so brands can invest more time and resources into their brand and the customer experience. For example, instead of getting bogged down by things like tax calculations and protocols, a beauty brand can focus its efforts on creating a virtual lipstick try-on experience or a fashion brand can create an immersive virtual runway.

SFCC Basics

In 2016, Salesforce acquired Demandware, a cloud-based ecommerce platform. In that same year, the company rebranded Demandware to Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC). As of Q1 2024, SFCC hosts a little more than 5,000 online stores. The platform offers a range of features and customization options that fuel brand story optimization and integration with Salesforce's other products, such as Tableau and Einstein 1.

Why Ecommerce Platform Choice Matters for Growing Brands

A brand’s ecommerce platform is so much more than a place to receive orders; it is the primary digital touchpoint with customers. Customers expect a fast, intuitive user experience. They expect to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly. They expect frictionless search and secure checkout experiences.

In addition, a brand’s ecommerce platform touches numerous business centers. A high converting checkout drives top line revenue and informs product development decisions. Predictable costs enable forecasting and increase leverage with suppliers. Management and maintenance requirements impact staffing and support expenses.

Choosing the right ecommerce platform might not mean everything to a brand… but it’s up there.

Comparative Analysis: Shopify vs. SFCC

Let’s break down how Shopify and SFCC compare across high-level categories today’s brands care about: ease of use, customization and scalability, marketing and SEO capabilities, and total cost of ownership (TCO).

Ease of Use

The Shopify platform has an intuitive design, easy setup process, and navigable user interface. Not only does this make it easy for brands to get up and running quickly, but it makes ongoing management a breeze. This comes in handy for flash sales, new lines and product launches, and other fast-moving customer engagement moments.

While not impossible, the learning curve for SFCC is often steeper, depending on the user’s technical experience.

“In helping brands migrate from SFCC to Shopify, ‘hard to use’ has been one of the most common feedback points. Running a smooth ecommerce operation shouldn’t be overwhelming. And it shouldn’t take them away from focusing on customer engagement, product innovation, and everything else that goes into brand building.”

Customization & Scalability

Both Shopify and SFCC offer a wide range of customization capabilities. Shopify offers hundreds of off-the-shelf templates. These are ideal solutions for nascent brands. Shopify also allows custom, from-the-ground-up development. For brands looking to stand out and differentiate, this is the way.

Shopify makes it dead simple when it comes to customizing product pages. Everything from copy updates and image swaps, to pricing and shipping details are intuitively editable.

Where the two platforms really split in terms of customization, however, is checkout. Shopify has fully engineered its checkout for throughput, speed, conversion, personalization, familiarity, and extensibility.” The result? Eye-popping conversion rates up to 36% higher than brands built on SFCC.

“Checkout is where the money is. Getting checkout right is how brands scale, regardless of their current size.”


Related: This August, Shopify’s all-new Checkout Extensibility will replace checkout.liquid as the sole way for Shopify Plus merchants to tailor their checkout experience. Read our guide.

SEO & Marketing

Both platforms offer foundational search engine optimization (SEO) functionality: page and product titles and descriptions, feature images, blogging capabilities, etc., that can help brands tell their stories and put their best foot forward towards Google and other search engines.

“With Shopify, all the SEO and foundational marketing boxes are checked. But it’s what else the platform can do from a marketing perspective that really sets it apart. Think high-quality imagery, video, and 360-degree product renderings.”

Shopify comes with a suite of go-to marketing tools, including email marketing, segmentation, automation, social selling functionality and Shopify Inbox, which “lets brands manage customer conversations, create automated messages, and get insights to focus on chats that convert.”

But where Shopify really lets brands supercharge their marketing and customer engagement is through its app store and integrations. (More on Shopify apps in second.) For example, brands can connect custom email and SMS marketing platforms like Klaviyo to power “highly targeted, personalized emails and texts that strengthen digital customer relationships and drive sales.”

Beyond search, SFCC offers a suite of marketing tools that are designed to feed other Salesforce products, like their CRM. (Think lead capture, nurturing and campaign management.)

Apps

Shopify has a massive app store that brands can leverage to build out unique functionalities, craft custom user experiences, fuel customer engagement, and so much more. Over 8,000 apps (and growing!) are tested and vetted by Shopify developers to ensure seamless integration and Shopify-level security.

Salesforce has its AppExchange and touts 7,000 apps, but not all of those apps are for SFCC. In fact, a quick filter by “ecommerce” yields just 293 apps. The rest are for Salesforce’s other products.

Partners

Shopify has created an entire industry of Shopify development agencies and a Shopify Plus Partners Program that “combines world-class industry and platform expertise for high-growth businesses.” This unlocks huge opportunities for brands looking to create truly unique ecommerce experiences for their customers.

Shopify also has a roster of Salesforce migration partners that can help brands make the move. (Recognize that first logo on this page?)

The Shopify ecosystem – apps and partners – alleviates brands from having to be ecommerce experts. Instead of figuring out the core components of ecommerce, they can focus on what makes them not just better, but different: their brand.

Pricing

Shopify’s pricing structure is designed to scale with brands. This subsequently offers a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) over time compared to competitors, including SFCC.

Download our Shopify vs. SFCC white paper for a comparison of the TCO between the two platforms for a sample enterprise brand.

Shopify Success Stories

Here at Domaine, we’ve helped hundreds of brands create extraordinary Shopify websites that deliver unique customer experiences while simultaneously accelerating revenues and growth. Laura Mercier. Buxom. Bare Minerals. Milk Makeup. Lip Lab. And we’ve helped dozens escape SFCC including Timex, Keen, Melissa & Doug, Guess Watches, Sage, KVD Beauty, Laura Canada, Melanie Lyne, and more.

Obviously we’re biased…

But the reality is that Shopify is an ecommerce platform that is head and shoulders above SFCC (or any other ecommerce platform for that matter). Getting up and running is easier. Total cost of ownership is less. There’s an entire universe of integrated apps and developer partners to support any brand’s wildest ideas.

Shopify just works.

Ready to take your ecommerce experience to the next level with Shopify? Regardless of your vertical and company size, we’re ready to help.


Chelsey Debalsi

Director of Marketing

Chelsey Debalsi is the Director of Marketing at Domaine, overseeing all agency marketing efforts including events, content marketing, thought leadership, partnership marketing, and more.

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