Battle of the Clouds: SAP Commerce vs Salesforce Commerce

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CX Jedi

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When talking about e-commerce platform there is a wide range of systems that can support a customers’ needs. So deciding which one best suits your preferences can be difficult. This article is a comparison of two key systems that are best of breed software, SAP Commerce Cloud and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, based on their platform functionality, architectural flexibility, B2B/B2C capabilities, omnichannel commerce and pricing models.

Platform Functionality:

Salesforce Commerce cloud has most of mainstream e-commerce functionalities built into their system like omnichannel capabilities, internalisation and catalogue management capabilities which are incorporated with machine learning, in-line reporting and personalisation via Einstein. It also has access to all the tools present in the Salesforce system.

However, Commerce Cloud comes from Demandware acquisition which was not built for, which means it has not yet been fully integrated with other Salesforce products. Further research on whether the other useful tools for business are propped by Salesforce Commerce Cloud or not. If not than a custom development (bespoke integration) would be required to leverage the optional features available and may create complexities, complications and a creeping cost overhead if those tools or extensions do not exist in Salesforce marketplace.

SAP CommerceCloud in contrary, provides a single system for product, content, order and customer experience management. It fits well for large organisations and comes with basic e-commerce features like order management, cart and checkout, Omni-commerce, promotion and rule engine which can be used up front to get your business up and running.

SAP Commerce Cloud has modules and accelerators designed for B2C and B2B industries for easy setup with an OOTB range from apparel, electronics and to any type of business.
SAP Commerce Cloud is an SAP product, so it gives the flexibility to integrate it with other SAP products like SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Sales Cloud, SAP Service Cloud, and SAP Customer Data Cloud without any custom implementation. This really gives an edge to customers who choose to use SAP products as they negate the need for third-party intervention. However, for salesforce, there may be custom implementations required to get the same capabilities as SAP Commerce cloud which, more times than not, lead to the inevitable scope creep and increase in the overall cost of the project.

Architectural Flexibility:

Salesforce is extendible. It has very comprehensive APIs and there are lots of existing extensions and integration available in Salesforce marketplace. Salesforce Commerce Cloud has a good, though smaller community. It has the LINK Marketplace, which can help you find value-added services for your store but due to a smaller community it does not have the same amount of integrations as SAP Commerce Cloud and ultimately comes at a higher cost, but this is part of Salesforce’s stability selling point as well, as all code is examined by them and they do not allow heavy customisations.

SAP Commerce Platform and its modules are built for extensibility and adaptability. Existing features can easily be customised or completely replaced. To make things even more simple, SAP Commerce offers accelerators which help clients to further reduce the time and cost required for e-commerce projects.

Many parts of the SAP Hybris Commerce can be heavily customised. The business model is very flexible and can be tailored to one’s exact needs using an MDA (Module Driven Approach). Each service that is exposed in the ServiceLayer can be customised or even completely replaced.

B2B/B2C Capabilities:

B2B e-commerce stands for business to business electronic commerce and refers to online transactions between businesses, often involving wholesale distributors selling products to retail buyers. Manufacturers may also sell directly to retailers through B2B e-commerce.

B2B was a weakness for Salesforce Commerce Cloud which they overcame last year by acquiring CloudCraze which gives consumers personalised shopping experience. Cloud Craze integrates with all of the Salesforce applications and offers essential B2B functionalities like:

  •  OOTB integration with CRM
  •  Multicontract management
  •  Invoice and PO capabilities
  •  Multi-Site management

But there are few things that can be improved like its multiple commerce platform, one for B2B and one for B2C. Each is built on a different platform, and they are not currently integrated. One seeking both a B2B and B2C solution on the same platform should understand what plans exist for integration and it should be understood beforehand that the solution they will receive will be CloudCraze, not Salesforce Commerce Cloud as mentioned in 2018 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce by Gartner.
SAP Commerce Cloud has been a leader in B2B, focusing on B2B since its creation. It is still preferred by many B2B, B2C and B2B2C clients for the same reason that it was rated the #1 B2B Commerce Suite by Forrester Research and a leader in the 2018 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce by Gartner. SAP Commerce Cloud has consistent and extensive capabilities for B2C and B2B such as flexible architecture, deployment models and data management in SAP Commerce.

Some of SAP Commerce Cloud B2B features include:

  • Self Administration: Clients can get to a self-administration region to set up and deal with their company, request endorsement work processes and cost centre budgets.
  • PunchOut Integration: The B2B site can be integrated with customer procurement systems, with all the orders turned into purchase requisitions (pre-integrated with Ariba).
  • Quote Negotiation: The quote can be negotiated by both user and seller until a mutual agreement is reached.

Early Login: This feature requires users to log in before allowing them to view the storefront.

Omnichannel Engagement:

Omni-channel revolves around developing a holistic view of the customer experience, regardless of the channel.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud provides a simplified, cloud-based approach that gives retailers a number of capabilities including merchandising, marketing, order management, operations, and more all in one centralised platform.

SAP is one of the Omni-channel commerce software that seamlessly integrates all selling channels and solutions into a single platform. It helps you provide consistent, meaningful experiences to your customers at every touch point and on every device.

Some SAP Commerce Cloud capabilities:

  • Omni Commerce Connect (OCC), a commerce API that exposes key commerce functionality via a RESTful Web service API
  • Built for the global marketplace. Whether you’re B2C, B2B, or B2B2C, SAP Commerce Cloud has the architecture to handle high volumes of data, traffic, and orders
  • Assisted Services Module: a customer service tool that can be used to support both online and in-store channels 
  • Agile, flexible, and extensible architecture merchandising for easy use and customisation

Pricing Model:

Deciding which platform to use for your business also depend on the cost of the system. For both systems, implementation is provided by partners. So pricing can look a bit different than the initial estimate.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud has an income sharing pricing model. Part of Salesforce’s contractual obligation is they take a license fee based on a percentage commission of your online sales. They have recently changed their pricing, to allow for smaller merchants looking to use the platform. 

The new pricing model which is applied to smaller retailers is more in-line with the following:

  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud Starter Tier – 1 website/store and 2 price books – ~1% GMV
  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud Growth Tier – 5 websites/stores and 10 price books – ~1-2%
  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud Unlimited Tier – Pricing reduces as you grow or for higher GMV retailers, but likely to be closer to the 2% region

SAP Commerce Cloud offers a subscription-based licensing plan which is incurred according to the requirements of companies such as integration points, sites (domestic or international), stakeholders, system complexities and development model used


The world of e-commerce is diverse and there isn’t a fix-all solution for everyone.

Both SAP Commerce and Salesforce Commerce are excellent platforms, however, when choosing yours, you must emphasise on each solution’s advantages and disadvantages, and pick a platform that can support your business needs.

Pricing is often another big factor, note that Salesforce Commerce Cloud takes a cut from your sales. So, if you are not comfortable with this pricing model, you would want to go with another provider. 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is one of the proven B2C options at the enterprise-level and it has stronger native capabilities, but may cost you more and may impact your agility around the development. 

On the other hand, SAP Commerce Cloud omnichannel capabilities and proven track record make it a leading solution. The stability, large global implementation of partner networks, and vertical industry solution focus have put SAP Commerce Cloud at the top of Forrester and Gartner’s list for Commerce platforms.

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