For anyone looking to set up their first online store, understanding facing the large array of ecommerce solutions available today can be a bit daunting. Here, we’ll take a look at two popular ecommerce solutions: the household name Shopify and its lesser-known but robust competitor, SAP Commerce Cloud.
Shopify: A quick look
Shopify is an ecommerce platform that allows you to set up and sell your products through an online storefront, expand into multiple sales channels — including social media sites and online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay — and harness built-in marketing tools to boost sales and audience engagement.
One of the more popular options, Shopify also provides two distinct advantages for business owners:
- Shopify App Store: an ecommerce app marketplace offering 4,100-plus Shopify store integrations, ranging from drop shipping and social media marketing to inventory scanning bots and SEO tools.
- Shopify developer platform: a community of developers specializing in building custom storefronts and apps to amplify the Shopify experience — ideal if you’re a business owner who prefers a hassle-free way to set up your store so you can focus on cultivating your products and keeping customers satisfied.
SAP Commerce Cloud: A quick look
SAP Commerce Cloud also includes its Context-Driven Services module, a suite of tools to help you tap into real-time individualized customer insights and drive conversions with behavior-based product recommendations and personalized promotions.
Feature breakdown and comparison
The main features business owners look for in an ecommerce solution typically fall into five main categories:
- Intuitive, easy-to-navigate, and responsive storefront experiences
- Analytics tools and dashboards
- Logistics features like inventory management, order tracking, and shipping support
- Store integrations
Let’s take a deep dive into what Shopify and SAP Commerce Cloud offer in all of these categories. As you’ll see in the table below, both platforms offer a wide range of features for storefront management, growth and analytics, third-party integrations, cross-platform support, and more.
The optimal solution for you will depend on your personal preferences, business needs, and use cases. Here, we compare each platform’s key features and unique offerings.
Shopify vs. SAP Commerce Cloud: A comparison table
The following is a bird’s-eye comparison of the two platforms and their associated features.
Shopify equips store owners with a variety of tools and capabilities to help showcase their products, process payments, and more. Features vary based on the plan selected. There are three main plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.
It also offers two spin-off solutions: the enterprise-grade Shopify Plus as well as Shopify Lite, a lightweight plan that allows you to add products to any blog or website and accept credit payments.
For now, let’s take a closer look at the core feature set available to Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify users.
- Drag-and-drop store builder. Build out your store with no coding knowledge.
- Responsive, mobile-friendly design. Shopify designs are mobile-friendly by default, so customers can enjoy a seamless experience across their favorite devices.
- Ready-to-go checkout experience with Shopify Checkout. Customers can use local payment methods, digital wallets, and multiple forms of currency.
Growth and analytics
- Analytics dashboard. You can take advantage of a dashboard displaying sales, orders, and traffic to gain insight into how your store is doing.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). Shopify helps make your store and product pages “findable” with SEO best practices (such as optimized H1 tags, meta tags, titles, and URL handles).
- Marketing automation. You can create and manage marketing automations in Shopify that help capture new customers and improve online conversions. Automations might include actions like setting up abandoned checkout recovery emails to encourage shoppers to complete their purchase, or Google Smart Shopping campaigns to showcase your store’s products in Google searches.
- Easy access to inventory. Add products, take product photos, change prices, and manage inventory through your Shopify account and the Shopify mobile app.
- Seamless shipping experience. Shopify shipping allows you to connect with Shopify’s shipping carrier accounts and take advantage of flexible shipping rates, reduced rates for shipping labels, and printable shipping labels via Shopify admin.
- Mobile app. Shopify offers a comprehensive mobile app with one-click order fulfillment, data syncing, inventory management, customer contact information, and a mobile dashboard providing a bird’s-eye view of your business.
- Shopify Experts. Shopify Experts is a marketplace of agencies and freelancers offering specialized services in store setup, design, marketing, copy, visuals, and branding that you can delegate aspects of your business to and free up time to focus on your products.
- Shopify App Store. The Shopify App Store is a marketplace with free and premium plug-ins to help you add various features to your store. Take advantage of product reviews, digital marketing tools, SEO site audits, and more with Shopify apps.
SAP Commerce Cloud features
SAP Commerce Cloud offers an enterprise-grade digital commerce platform equipped with tools that allow store owners to interact with customers, drive initiatives to increase engagement and conversions, and cater internationally to multiple currencies and languages.
- Personalized product recommendations and promotions. SAP Commerce Cloud offers machine learning powered recommendations and personalized promotions to help you convert site visitors into buying customers.
- Multilingual catalogs. SAP Commerce Cloud supports multilingual product catalogs to help you cater to a global audience.
Growth and analytics
- Real-time individualized insights. SAP Commerce Cloud provides insight into individual customer preferences and purchasing behaviors, such as what they click on and how long they stay on a particular page.
- Endless-aisle fulfillment. SAP Commerce Cloud enables customers to buy out-of-stock items from a store.
- Self-service returns. Store owners can provide customers with omnichannel and self-service return options.
- Website editing. SAP Commerce Cloud offers a WYSIWYG-style website editor to enable you to edit and customize your storefront.
- Content management. SAP Commerce Cloud includes features to support easy content production, management, and editing — including built-in validation and workflow review and approval, bulk-edit, and mass-upload capabilities.
- Plug-and-play integrations. SAP Commerce Cloud offers plug-and-play integrations, including a shopping cart, checkout experience, payment services, and tax management.
According to Datanyze, Shopify currently powers about 270,000 stores, with an approximately 12.68 percent market share. On the other hand, SAP Commerce Cloud powers a little more than 18,000 sites with a 0.85% share. They are the third and 14th most-used ecommerce solutions, respectively.
Other similar platforms include WooCommerce, Squarespace Online Stores, WixStores, Magento, and Amazon.
Which solution is best for you?
While both SAP Commerce Cloud and Shopify provide a full, robust range of ecommerce functions, the best solution for you will depend entirely on your organization’s needs and preferences.
Shopify is great for beginners — it’s fairly inexpensive, and its user-friendly interface allows store owners to pick it up almost immediately and get the ball rolling. However, special customizations will require developer knowledge, and the platform can be a bit limited.
On the other hand, SAP Commerce Cloud provides enterprise-level support, including extensive user data and inventory management, and the SAP Commerce Cloud team is available for direct support if needed. The platform also makes localization fairly easy, and features like personalized product recommendations can help maximize conversions and boost sales.
That being said, SAP Commerce Cloud is significantly more expensive than Shopify’s basic plan, offering only quote-based pricing. Its platform, while packed with features and less limited than Shopify’s, has a steep learning curve and requires intensive training to master. This might make the platform less appealing for small business owners.
While Shopify and SAP Commerce Cloud are both comprehensive, full-featured ecommerce platforms, the right solution for you will ultimately depend on your budget, shop preferences, technical knowledge, and support needs.
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