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magento & ecommerce

Can Demandware rival with Magento?

Although some E-commerce shores may use the same platform, their needs could be very different. Setting up an online store requires you to take into account customer needs, scaling potential, and unique needs based on the niche you’re operating in.

Demandware and Magento are two of the most popular E-commerce platforms. Magento is the industry leader and a very complex platform where the sky’s the limit. Demandware, now known as Salesforce Commerce Cloud after the acquisition in June 2016, is very different in many aspects.

Even so, many people ask themselves whether the new Demandware, now backed by a Wall Street darling, can actually rival Magento. Are we nearing the point when Magento can actually lose its dominance after so many years at the top?

For Demandware to truly rival Magento, it would need to flat out beat it or at the very least match the platform’s offerings in certain segments.

Have a look at some of the features that make Demandware unique and see for yourself if it’s worthy of the hype.

Advantages and disadvantages of Demandware


  • Cloud-based platform
  • No need for third-party hosting
  • Omni-channel marketing
  • 24/7 Support
  • M-commerce viable
  • Can upgrade the infrastructure up to eight times per year


  • Complicated customization process
  • Sales-based license fee
  • Doesn’t handle bulk ordering requirements as well
  • Harder to scale
  • Expensive

Advantages and disadvantages of Magento


  • Tons of resources available
  • Affordable
  • Flexible pricing
  • Free version available
  • Easy to customize
  • Omni-channel marketing
  • M-commerce viable


  • Requires third-party hosting
  • Comes with a learning curve
  • Complex setup

Pricing differences

Magento has been the market leader for a long time and it doesn’t look like anything is going to change anytime soon. Even an annual subscription for the paid Magento Enterprise Edition is considerably cheaper than Demandware.

Demandware is not only more expensive but it also comes with additional costs. E-commerce businesses have to pay a licensing fee as well as a commission for every sale made through the platform. This makes pricing at least one area in which Demandware doesn’t even come close to Magento.

Platform flexibility

Any E-commerce platform should offer a great deal of flexibility and support for business owners. And the support should be extended to other areas than the core issues. Demandware does a good job at this. It offers support for a number of issues that a business owner might face, such as:

  • SEO customization
  • Cross-selling and up-selling options
  • Email management
  • PLP merchandising

This all makes Demandware look very powerful and reliable for E-commerce businesses. But it’s still not enough to rival Magento. With all the 24/7 support and flexibility that extends past core issues, Demandware still carries around a hefty price tag.

Magento offers the same level of support at a lower cost. Not to mention the fact that it even offers support for major code issues, customized coupons, visual merchandising, and more.

Both platforms offer a wide range of features. However, Magento has the advantage of being able to cater to both small businesses and large enterprises, whereas Demandware is a platform well-suited only for successful large businesses.

Demandware hosting and maintenance

Demandware makes things a bit less complicated for business owners than Magento. All the infrastructure of the business is managed in-house by Demandware. They tackle everything from plugin integration to maintenance and security.

This allows the users or client businesses to focus on selling products and marketing. The platform embodies everything you could want from a cloud-based service.

However, this comes at a cost and not just the financial aspect. Because Demandware handles everything, minor customizations can take a long time to implement. Demandware has a bunch of restrictions and guidelines that each add-on module has to follow.

Therefore, E-commerce companies might be disappointed when trying to implement new marketing, payment, or shipping solutions.

Everything has to go through Demandware and needs to be approved before being implemented. This translates to big changes as well as minor plugins that have minimal impact on the infrastructure.

Magento, on the other hand, leaves total control of the infrastructure to the storeowner. This is both good and bad. Magento has a learning curve to it. It can be complicated to manage if the storeowner lacks coding knowledge. However, with the community being as large as it is, it’s not that hard to find help.

At the same time, being a self-hosted solution, it does mean that any implementations of new extensions can be done on the spot. There’s no need to wait for approval nor is there a need to wait for someone to upgrade the infrastructure when needed.

Design flexibility

This is another area where Demandware comes up short. Magento has amazing design flexibility. There are thousands of templates available, including a few hundred that are free of charge. The potential for customization is through the roof.

With this complete freedom of choice, it’s no wonder that there are more than 250,000 Magento-powered stores up and running. Among them are brands that everybody has heard of, including Nike, Samsung, Coca-Cola, and Ford.

So where does Demandware fall short? – It’s simple. The in-house infrastructure management also extends to templates and layouts. There are fewer themes available on Demandware and it takes relatively much longer for any changes to take effect.

This is also noticeable when you compare store numbers. The number of Demandware-powered websites is well under 100,000. Even though there are some big brands like Puma and Adidas that chose Demandware, the popularity and accessibility of Magento are still miles ahead.

Design flexibility may seem like a minor issue until you crunch some numbers. Mind you that the previously mentioned brands are powerhouses. Demandware’s comparative lack of popularity with small business owners almost makes this debate a moot point.

A final thought

Not all E-commerce businesses are the same, nor are they run by the same type of people. For some, Demandware may be worth the extra money simply for the fact that the platform encourages a self-sustaining infrastructure.

In a way, this is a lazy approach. Considering how superior Magento is in terms of customization, implementation speed, and pricing, Demandware is just not on the same level. And, even if you’d rather not manage your own Magento store, there are plenty of web design companies that can manage it for you.

By interactivated • on February 5, 2019

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