Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tech Throwdown: Sitecore vs. Magento

Thomas John, Senior Director and Commerce Practice Lead
Technology / Platforms

The Sitecore Experience Platform™ (XP) Version 9 is the only experience platform that unifies all data and interactions from campaigns and other data sources into one platform, providing you with an ongoing, holistic, real-time view of your customers. Through a 360-degree customer view, Sitecore now helps you deliver personalized content in the context of how your customers interact with your brand across all channels and devices. And with native integration to Microsoft Azure and Sitecore Experience Commerce, you’re able to get to market faster, with a lower total cost of ownership, and manage seamless experiences before, during, and after the purchase transaction.

Magento is a robust platform with powerful capabilities. With over 250,000 merchants on board, Magento is one of the Commerce industry’s most popular self-hosted platforms, and it isn’t hard to see why. Magento’s expansive feature set and complete customizability make it an excellent platform for merchants who have the resources to best implement advanced technology. Currently, Magento comes in two versions: Magento Open Source (formerly Magento Community Edition), Magento Commerce (which is intended for enterprise level businesses with developers on hand).

Here is a quick roadmap of considerations in our Tech Throwdown between Sitecore and Magento:

Web Content Management Capabilities (WCM)

The Sitecore Experience Platform provides powerful web content and digital engagement management features. These tools and capabilities are also available to use with the Sitecore Experience Commerce (eCommerce module) sites. The content editing capabilities provides a very powerful experience editor, which allows you to edit site content inline on the page. This makes editing and managing your site as simple as browsing to the page you wish to edit. The content editors are also able to apply and manage marketing rules to ensure the right content is shown at the right time to the right user.

Magento has very basic WCM capabilities, largely intended for static pages. The Magento platform relies heavily on the extensions in the Magento Marketplace in order to improve or provide some functionalities. Some of the use of these extensions provide capabilities such as blogs, forum, analytics etc. It does not provide a WYSIWYG page editor or page preview capabilities.

ONE Platform Approach – Content + Commerce

Unlike any other competitor, Sitecore combines experience management with a highly seasoned and scalable commerce engine into a single platform. Commerce today is not simply about transactions & conversions, it’s all about the customers. With Sitecore Experience Commerce, you can use everything you know about your customers to deliver contextual shopping experiences that transform prospects into lifelong customers. The platform personzalizes the experience for each unique customer—from from one purchase to the next. In addition, it continues to grow its knowledge of the customer and thereby being aware of the progression in their preference —that’s how you continue to grow revenue.

Magento is a robust Commerce platform, with limited content management and personalization capabilities. Context is also not native to the Magento platform. Any personalized experience functionality is achieved via extensions which will have to be extended and customized to fit your needs.

True Omnichannel Platform

In addition to the robust content management and contextual intelligence capabilities, the Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) is positioned as a true Omnichannel platform. You will be able to collect data on real-time interactions within any of your channels such as web, mobile apps, in-store etc. Within the Magento platform, additional extensions will have to be installed and extended to fit your requirements.

Print outputs have known to be useful in offline marketing events and activities. Sitecore can store all your customer experience data which in turn can be used to create, publish, target, and deliver personalized print content—in context. Sitecore utilizes the Print Experience Manager, to consolidate these capabilities into the platform. Within the Magento platform, these capabilities would take extensions and customizations.

Geared for the Future

Sitecore has made heavy investments in ensuring the platform has capabilities into the latest cutting edge needs, while being positioned for the future. Magento boasts a very strong developer community but since the core is open source code, a lot of functionality is created by this community in form of extensions. They have a strong product planning and release like Sitecore. Some of the major capabilities that are in the latest 9.0 release or will be fully integrated in the future releases are:

  • Sitecore xConnect - This was deployed with the Sitecore Experience Platform 9.0 release. It provides a set of Data Services to the Experience Database (xDB) data repositor and allows you to customize the data you want to import/export, in order to provide the contextual experience. xConnect is designed for scale, such that any facet about your customer can be imported from any system such as CRM, ERP, IoT devices etc. This data can then be analyzed to create a highly personalized and contextual experience for your customer. This capability can also be leveraged to use Sitecore XP as a data collection point for other systems.
  • Marketing Automation - The Sitecore Experience Platform now has a fully integrated Marketing Automation functionality. This capability has been built with significant user experience research, and provides capabilities such as drag-and-drop interface to help orchestrate engagements across your channels. In addition, Sitecore ships with a set of sample engagement plans to help you get your plans running quicker.
  • Sitecore Experience Accelerator (XA) - This is a fully integrated into the Sitecore editing functionality and reduces your time to market by allowing content teams to design, assemble, and deploy content pages (see image below) across your channels with fewer development efforts and resources. This is also a great collaboration tool with your creative teams to ensure adherence to style guides and policies.
thomas john sitecore magento
  • Headless Content Delivery - In an effort to further increase the capability to serve any channel, Sitecore has released JavaScript Services (JSS). With this capability you will now be able to run Sitecore in a headless mode where you will be able to get content into IoT devices, mobile apps or something as simple as a web page.
  • Machine Learning aka Sitecore Cortex - Sitecore has gotten into the machine learning game with the introduction of Sitecore Cortex. It provides a scalable service for processing data in the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB), and offers capabilities like surfacing highest value audience segments or optimizing user paths through your site. In future releases, Sitecore Cortex will deliver such capabilities as automated personalization and intelligent segmentation for improved marketing performance.

Wrapping Up

Both Sitecore and Magento are strong contenders in our tech throwdown. You can utilize each platform in its own areas of strength. Even as Magento might have a low cost of entry, if you want to try to match the capabilities to be on par with Sitecore, the implementation costs will start to increase. In addition, trying to scale a Magento implementation to match Sitecore would require more infrastructure investment (even with Magento Commerce Cloud). Looking at both platforms, even with the commerce capabilities Magento brings, Sitecore provides a more complete and “One Platform” approach that sets it apart. So the winner of this Tech Throwdown is…Sitecore.

Find out more about our partnership and how we leverage Sitecore to create personalized commerce experiences. 

Thomas John is Senior Director and Commerce practice lead at Rightpoint. Follow Thomas on Twitter and LinkedIn.