Adobe Open Source vs. Commerce: Which Version Is Right for You?
In this blog post, I want to go over the difference between the Open Source and Commerce versions of Magento – now known as Adobe Open Source and Adobe Commerce.
We're going to do a deep dive into a lot of the different features.
At IWD Agency, we've been doing eCommerce for the last 15 years and have helped companies from small businesses to large enterprises grow their brands online.
This includes household names like Penn State, Bobcat, and a lot of other big brands, but we’ve also helped smaller mom-and-pop shops grow, too. So, if you need help – from a large project to a small one – hit us up. We handle everything from website development for platforms like Magento and others to eCommerce SEO and a whole lot more.
For this comparison, we’ve created a helpful graphic that goes through some of the major features that differ between the Open Source and Commerce versions of Adobe. I’m going to try to keep this spreadsheet up to date with features that Adobe is offering as they're continuously updating their offerings, especially for the Commerce platform.
With each new release, this graphic will be updated with the latest feature. So, make sure to check back for the latest version.
20 Features Adobe Commerce and Open Source Both Bring to the Table
To start, the first thing that everybody asks about is the price differences. For Open Source, the price is nonexistent. It’s completely free for you.
However, you will need to pay to host the Open Source version.
Adobe Commerce is the version with an actual price tag. It comes with a lot of features, including Adobe support. We'll go through all those in this article but sufficed to say they cost money.
That being said, if you’re serious about eCommerce for your business, this kind of investment shouldn’t scare you away. For something that is as powerful as Adobe Commerce, it's worth the money.
Also, our agency works with Adobe closely, so we can get you a rebate on your license to help bring that cost down substantially. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more. We can also set up a demo for you to show exactly how Adobe Commerce would work for your unique business.
1. Endless Customization
Alright, I'll try to go through the rest of these features pretty quickly. I could definitely go much more in-depth on each one of them, but I want to keep this high-level.
Again, if you'd like to dive deeper into any of them, feel free to hit us up. We're always happy to help business owners learn more about all that Adobe has to offer.
Okay, moving on to the second feature I want to discuss, which is that both. Open Source and Commerce are fully customizable and extendable. That's one of the most powerful things about Adobe: it can be changed to however you need it for your business.
And it can be extendable with apps and extensions that can be customized for your company’s needs.
A lot of other platforms say they're extendible, but they're only extendable to a limited degree because they are a hosted SaaS solution, so you can’t change all the code.
With both Open Source and Adobe Commerce, you have complete freedom to make whatever changes you want to create the eCommerce experience your customers will love.
2. Unlimited Products, Customers, and Order Amounts
The next thing to mention is that both versions of Adobe can support an unlimited amount of products, customers, and orders.
Now, there’s a caveat.
If you do have a huge database of customers, orders, and/or products, you will need a hosting platform that can handle this kind of volume.
Furthermore, you’ll need to optimize Adobe in a certain way, because once these databases get this large, they need to be set up properly so they can handle this load and still function quickly.
3. Integrated Checkout, Payment, and Shipping
Moving on, both Open Source and Adobe Commerce have integrated checkout solutions, payment methods, and shipping.
So, they support all your major checkout providers, such as PayPal, Authorize.net, and Braintree. They also support your major shipping providers: UPS, USPSA, FedEx, and DHL.
And, once again, they’re also extensible. If you need additional payment providers and shipping methods, those can be easily added to your store.
Unfortunately, both versions of Adobe fall a bit short when it comes to their checkout solutions.
Obviously, checkout is the most important part of your entire website. Settling for anything other than your best option guarantees lost revenue.
But there’s good news.
We've created a solution to handle this problem: Dominate. We actually partnered with PayPal to create it, but it’s completely free, so go take a look at this checkout solution today if you’re interested.
4. Mobile-Friendly Right Out of the Box
The next reason to love Open Source and Adobe Commerce is a quick one but no less important: they're both optimized for mobile devices right out of the box. So, they’ll work on your desktop, tablet, and smartphone.
Of course, you’ll still want to make sure to optimize each of these screen devices to make sure that it works properly as you're building out your solution.
5. Friendly to International Customers, Too
Adobe is also a fantastic eCommerce solution for sellers who serve international markets (or plan to in the future).
Open Source and Commerce can support multiple storefronts, currencies, and even payment and shipping options depending on the region.
6. The Magento Marketplace
As I touched on earlier, Magento became popular largely because of how extensible it is.
Even better, it’s incredibly easy to take advantage of this powerful feature. Just head over to the Magento marketplace to add whatever extensions you need to create your world-class eCommerce store.
On the Magento marketplace, all of these extensions have been vetted by Adobe to ensure they use good quality code. So, this is the perfect place to go to easily add to your store’s capabilities and to get ramped up with new features for your store quickly.
7. Progressive Web Apps
Support for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) is yet another great feature that Adobe offers out of the box – whether you choose Open Source or Commerce.
This fantastic technology will help speed up your store so that it loads as quickly as possible – something customers and Google both love.
8. WYSIWYG Editor
Thanks to Adobe’s WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Editor, it’s never been easier to make basic edits to your eCommerce websites. Just about anyone can use this tool to modify simple images and text – even certain webpages (i.e., the “About Us” page) without having any coding experience.
To be clear, you wouldn’t want to use the WYSIWYG Editor to build your entire website. Even Magento Open Source is robust enough that you should work with an experienced agency to build the kind of site your customers will love.
9. Import and Export Tools
Speaking of simplifying important tasks, Magento Open Source and Commerce offer really user-friendly data import and export tools.
They’re great for importing all your products from another store, which makes all the difference when you’re going through a website migration.
Business owners also love these tools when they have suppliers that send them with CSV files to update their products. Handling those essential updates is a breeze when you’re using Adobe.
10. Adobe’s APIs
Commerce and Open Source both offer outstanding REST APIs. This is a technical term for connecting your stores to another tool. So, if you need to connect your store to an ERP system or a shipping tool, or it needs to talk to a customer service tool, this can be done through Adobe Commerce or Open source’s REST API.
11. Search Functionality
Both versions of the eCommerce platform also offer basic search functionality.
However, I wouldn't actually recommend using this version for your site. The reason is that people are used to the type of search experience where misspellings or searches that are a little bit off will still bring up the correct result – think Amazon.
Unfortunately, Adobe’s basic search functionality doesn’t do this.
So, this is one of the areas that we always recommend our merchants upgrade their Adobe sites.
The Commerce version gets a lot closer to the Amazon-type experience shoppers now demand. Adobe provides it through an absolutely amazing platform called Sensei (which is powered by Magento Commerce’s Product Recommendations).
Adobe Commerce’s search functionality utilizes machine learning on your database to ensure that searches come up with the right results. With each search, it continuously “learns” what people are searching for in your store and what your catalog has to offer to provide your end-users the best possible results.
Another great thing about Adobe Sensei is that they recently began including it with Commerce. In the past, it was an add-on service, but now this high-powered search feature is completely free to Commerce customers.
So, this is a huge benefit for Commerce customers to have on their websites right out of the box.
12. Choose Your Product Types
The way that Adobe sets up products and has different types of products is a very powerful tool for your eCommerce store as you're building out your catalog and your shopping experience.
You’ll have access to:
- Configurable Products
- Bundle Products
- Virtual Products
- Group Products
- Downloadable Products
Most other eCommerce platforms don’t have such a wide range of product types out of the box like this so that you can configure your store in the way that fits your store best.
But all of the aforementioned product types are available to both Open Source and eCommerce users.
13. Product Attributes
Another great feature that both of these solutions offer out of the box – but one that gets overlooked a lot of times – is product attributes. You can think about product attributes as any kind of adjective of your product.
Common examples include:
Basically, anything that describes your product.
And so the great thing about this is if you set up product attributes, you can do a lot of things with this inside the Adobe platform, such as layer navigation, where you can filter down on price and color, or maybe material type or whatever is particular for your needs.
This offers a lot of options that are a lot more powerful as far as how your products are configured, but also how your customers can navigate through the system.
14. Managed Inventory
Both platforms also offer a managed inventory system that will allow you to manage your inventory right inside of Adobe.
Among other things, this means that when products are out of stock, they're automatically marked that way.
Open Source offers a single-store basic version of this, while Adobe Commerce will give you a multi-store version, so you can manage the inventory for a number of different stores across your whole enterprise.
15. Color Swatches
Adobe also offers color swatches for both versions of the platform, so you can click on a little swatch and see the different colors of a product. And, again, this is out of the box, whereas, with a lot of other platforms, you have to add this kind of popular functionality separately.
16. Creating Customer Groups
With Adobe Commerce, you can even elect to give both of these customer groups their own pricing.
This way, if you want a different customer group for your B2B customers – so they have, say, a 30% discount – but you don’t want to give the same price cut to your retail customers, you can easily create different customer groups to accomplish this.
You can also have different B2B customer groups. So, maybe you have a B2B “Plus” group that gets 55% off. Create whatever customer groups you need to manage the different levels of discounts you want to offer.
17. Tier Pricing
Similarly, tier pricing is a big one for both Open Source and Commerce users because it rewards your customers for placing bigger orders.
Basically, you choose “tiers” for different order sizes for specific products. For example, you might give customers 10% off if they purchase two of a specific item or 20% off if they buy three.
It’s one of the easiest ways to increase your average order value and customer satisfaction.
18. Marketing Functionality
Another area where Adobe has always been extremely strong is marketing functionality. There's no way that I can cover all the ways Magento makes it easy to market your site (or sites), but I’ll give you some examples.
Out of the box, they are both designed to support SEO best practices. So, you can change your title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and your pages’ URLs so they include your most important keywords instead of some random cluster of numbers and some garbled text.
They both have a great coupon or promotion engine built into them, so you can set up different coupon codes for different products in different groups or for different groups of products.
20. Google Content Experiments Integration
Both Adobe Open Source and Commerce are integrated with the Google Suite, too. So, you can do AB testing with Google Experiments and they're both integrated with Google Analytics. This means you have two analytics built into Adobe Commerce with eCommerce functionality built-in, as well.
Just make sure you've enabled the eCommerce function now on your Google Analytics. If you want better analytics, then be sure to check out Adobe Analytics, as well.
Now, if you want to use Google Tag Manager and some of their other advanced technologies, this feature is only available with Adobe Commerce.
On that note, let’s now talk about some of the other benefits that you’ll only enjoy if you use Adobe Commerce.
15+ Features You’ll Only Get with Adobe Commerce
In this last section, I’m going to highlight 17 amazing features that you’ll only enjoy if you run your store on Adobe Commerce.
1. Visual Merchandiser
Let’s begin with the Visual Merchandiser, which is a great tool to help you set up your catalog and to visually select which products will go where on your site and even what attribute sets will accompany them. This amazing tool could not be simpler to use.
2. Product Recommendations and Related Products
As I mentioned earlier, this is a newer feature from Adobe, which is absolutely amazing.
It works through Adobe’s Sensei platform, which utilizes machine learning technology to automatically recommend products to your customers and show them related products – two effortless ways to really get your average order value up and serve your customers the products that they might need during their purchasing process.
3. B2B Functionality
Now, let’s talk a bit about B2B functionality.
This is another area where the platform is very strong, which is why we have another entire blog post dedicated solely to why B2B companies love Adobe so much.
For now, I just want to cover a few areas where Adobe Commerce really shines with B2B companies.
First, it can handle multiple stores, which is amazing if your company does B2B and B2C – no need to run two different storefronts through two completely different administrative panels.
All of your inventory is held in one place.
All your customer data is also held in one place.
So, this is a very powerful tool for managing both stores’ inventories without the hassle of unnecessary workarounds.
4. Gift Registries
Commerce also offers gift registries out of the box. The Open Source version does not do this, which is a major disadvantage if your products make for popular presents. Lacking a gift registry could really cost you.
5. Rewards Programs and Private Sales
Adobe Commerce also makes it easy to build Rewards and Loyalty programs, so you can reward your customers for coming back to your store.
Commerce also lets you hold Private Sales and Events. This is where you can use your customer segmentation to set up private sales for your most loyal customers. So, you increase that loyalty even further while also making extra revenue in the process.
6. Reusable Dynamic Blocks
Another great feature you’ll get with Adobe Commerce right out of the box is reusable, dynamic blocks.
This is a fantastic tool because it allows you to build important pages for your eCommerce store really quickly without sacrificing quality.
7. Business Intelligent Dashboards
With all the improvements and upgrades you’ll be able to make to your site with Adobe, it’s important that you can track those changes and their results.
That’s why I love their business intelligence dashboards.
Both tools offer basic reporting, but with Adobe Commerce, you’ll get a lot better reporting, including better business intelligence.
8. Advanced Marketing Tools
Of course, many of these updates will probably be for marketing purposes, which is why so many users of Adobe Commerce love all of the advanced tools you get with this powerful platform.
With Commerce, you’ll get a number of advanced marketing tools, especially through the Marketing suite. There are so many that I’ll actually be doing another post about all of them in the future, so check back on our blog in the future if you’re interested in those.
9. Content Staging
This feature is great for when you're trying to go live with a promotion – for example, Black Friday or another big event that you have for your store – and you want to set it up where it will look like it's going to go live. You can test out everything in a preview staging mode to make sure it looks the way you want and then set it to go live on black Friday at 2:00 in the morning.
Now, you don't have to worry about clicking the “Publish” button the morning of Black Friday, even though you might be planning this promotion in July. Set the event now and Adobe Commerce will take care of publishing it later.
10. Loyalty Tools
Yet another great feature that Adobe Commerce offers is loyalty tools built into their Commerce platform to entice your customers to keep coming back to your store and to make repeat purchases. These kinds of tools are essential for making sure you’re maximizing the lifetime value of each customer who comes to your store.
11. Customer Segmentation
Long before you can increase customer loyalty, though, you need to actually convert your shoppers.
Adobe Commerce makes this much easier to do with its customer segmentation suite of tools that will let you organize your shoppers by different demographics, such as age and gender.
So, if you want to send out targeted emails or targeted pages to different segments of your customers, Adobe Commerce will give you this capability right out of the box.
12. Buy Online, Pickup in Stores (BOPIS)
One of the newer features that Adobe Commerce now offers is the ability to set up “Buy Online, Pickup in Stores” (BOPIS) for your customers. This has become an especially popular option since COVID changed the way people shop.
While this is a newer feature for Adobe Commerce, it’s an extremely exciting one because the world has changed so much in the past couple of years. More people are expecting this type of functionality.
So, if you have a brick-and-mortar location, as well as an eCommerce store and you want to connect the two so that customers can buy your products online but pick them up in-person, this functionality makes that incredibly easy to do.
13. Gift Cards
Another amazing feature that Adobe Commerce comes with out of the box is the gift card feature, which – as you probably guessed – will let your customers purchases gift cards to use on your site at a later date or give to other people.
14. Adobe Support
While all these features are super powerful and will do incredible things for your business, this next area is actually where I think Adobe Commerce is really worth the money, especially if you're serious about eCommerce.
Because Adobe is such a powerful platform, it’s smart to have the Adobe team behind you to support and help where you need it.
They’ll also take care of all of the security and hosting that comes out of the box with this solution. These are two critical areas that a lot of Open Source users struggle with, so it might be one of the best reasons to opt for Commerce instead.
Imagine the worst-case scenario: your site actually crashes – maybe it even does so because you’re so busy making so many sales.
If this happens as a Commerce user, you’ll have a technical support and customer success manager to help get your store back up and running so you can get back to making sales.
15. And Much, Much More…
As I’ve mentioned, I would need a lot more of your time to run through each and every B2B feature that Adobe Commerce brings to the table.
So, before I finish this post, I’ll just leave you with a handful that I know have made a world of difference for a lot of other business owners:
- B2B Quote and Approval Process –To make sure the right team members are in charge of offering and approving quotes for your B2B customers
- Managing Teams and Hierarchy –Give permissions and access to different team members based on their positions
- Order Approval Process –Ensure that specific B2B orders are approved by a team member before it’s sent out to eliminate costly errors
- Custom Catalogs –Curate your company’s product catalog for specific B2B customers to increase the likelihood of them purchasing – and purchasing in bulk
- Order via CSV File –Allow your customers to place large orders by sending them in a CSV file their system automatically generates and then uploading it into yours to pull the products – huge orders have never been easier.
And, of course, I’d be happy to go into more detail about any of these if you’d like to set up a call to discuss your business’s unique needs.
Need Help Deciding Between Open Source and Commerce?
Alright, so that was a basic walkthrough of the differences between the Commerce and Open Source versions of Adobe.
If we missed anything, please let us know in the comments below. We'd be happy to update this post and our spreadsheet so that we can keep it current.
And, one more time, if you have any questions, hit us up and we’ll get back to you ASAP.