Today, we're going to go over the main differences between Shopify Plus and Adobe Commerce, powered by Magento.
Both of these platforms are super feature-rich and power some of the most popular brands around the Internet. We're not going through all the features of each platform because they have thousands of features and many of them are the same.
Instead, we're going to focus on the main differences between the two platforms, so you can see what might be better for your business.
And if you're trying to decide between the two platforms and need additional assistance, please reach out to us to speak with one of our Shopify or Magento experts.
We've been working with both of these platforms for over 10 years, and we can help you dial in on what's best for your business.
Shopify Plus vs. Adobe Commerce: A Feature-by-Feature Comparison
To get started, we've made this chart, so you can see the main differences between Shopify Plus and Adobe Commerce at a glance. If you'd like to download this chart, you can go to the link below and I’ll send you to our site to download it.
Adobe Commerce vs. Shopify Plus: the 4 Most Important Factors to Consider
Hopefully, that chart helps with making your decision, but before you do, I want to go over four specific factors that are especially important.
As our agency works with Shopify and Adobe Commerce, we know firsthand that these next four points have made a big difference in their decision-making process.
1. Shopify Plus vs. Adobe Commerce: Pricing
Let's get started with the pricing.
The price of Adobe Commerce and Shopify Plus is very similar as far as their licensing fees.
Both are based on the volume of transactions going through your store. They both have a base transaction fee – monthly or yearly – but then depending on your volume, they charge more for how much volume is going through your store and how many transactions are going through your store.
And the prices of each platform are negotiable.
So, if you are considering Shopify Plus or Adobe Commerce, the pricing is really not that much different.
What you should be focusing on is what features are going to be most important for your unique business.
2. Shopify vs. Adobe Commerce: Ease-of-Use
Shopify wins this contest for a number of different reasons.
First of all, Shopify is a hosted platform.
Also, the code is not open source. Since it's a SaaS product, some of the code is locked down, so you don't really have to worry about breaking the system as much as you would have to do for Magento.
Also, their user interface for that administrative panel is slimmed down, so that basic users can use it quicker and learn how to use it faster.
3. Shopify Plus vs. Adobe Commerce: Automatic Upgrades and Patches
The second feature that Shopify Plus also wins is automatic upgrades and automatic patches.
Again, since Shopify is a SaaS solution and Adobe Commerce is an open source solution, Shopify has the ability to automatically push security updates and upgrades to their system. So, you don't have to worry about this.
As Magento is open source, you have to go in there and upgrade your system manually. And then, you need to make sure those manual changes don't break any of your customizations.
(If you do decide to go with Magento, this is a good reason to work with experienced Magento developers who can help you with these important changes and updates)
There is also an additional cost of maintaining Adobe Commerce because you have to make sure you have the latest security patches, and you will have to manually upgrade your system to leverage them.
4. Shopify Plus vs. Adobe Commerce: Code
The next big difference between Adobe Commerce and Shopify Plus is the code that they’re written on.
Now, I wouldn't necessarily say one is better than the other unless you are really familiar with one type of code more than the other.
Shopify is written on Ruby on Rails, which is also called Liquid. They have modified Ruby on Rails to have their own coding system inside of Shopify, so it does have some variations, but it's built upon Ruby on Rails.
Adobe Commerce is built on PHP or the Zend framework – which is a framework that uses PHP inside of it.
The ease-of-use and automatic upgrades are Shopify's biggest pluses over Adobe Commerce.
We'll go through some of the other features, but if that's all you're looking for – if you have a very standard eCommerce store – and you're looking for something really easy to use and you don't have to worry about upgrades and maintenance in the future, Shopify Plus might be the best option for you.
The reason Adobe Commerce can be harder to use is because it's more customizable and because it's open source, so you have a lot more options. You have a lot more flexibility if you're looking for a more powerful enterprise system.
Adobe Commerce is fully customizable.
Everything is yours and you can modify it for your business needs, which is a huge win for Adobe Commerce.
So, if you're looking for full flexibility, Adobe Commerce would probably be better for you than Shopify Plus.
At this point, if you know which of these two eCommerce platforms is best for your business, there’s no reason to keep reading. Contact us if you want help with next steps or getting any specific questions answered.
20 Powerful Features That Are Unique to Adobe Commerce
Otherwise, in the rest of this post, I’m going to dial in on some more of the other impressive features that you’ll get with Adobe Commerce – features that will really amplify your eCommerce system.
1. Unlimited Products
The first thing to love about Adobe Commerce is that it can support an unlimited inventory.
You can add as many products as you want whenever you want.
With Shopify Plus, you can eventually grow your inventory to as many products as you want, but it does have limitations.
Once again, because you're sharing their system, Shopify has to have limitations, so that people don't bog down this system.
So, let's say you have a million products.
Well, Shopify Plus will let you upload 50,000 products initially, and then, after that, you’ll be limited to about a thousand a day. If you have a million products, it’s going to take a really long time to upload your whole catalog.
2. Multiple Store Management
The next item we'll go through is that Adobe Commerce will let you handle multiple stores under one administrative panel.
There are a number of reasons business owners appreciate this advantage.
Let's say you have different storefronts that you're managing for, say, your furniture business. You have one store that's for outdoor furniture, one store that's for indoor furniture, one that's for high-end furniture, and one that's for low-budget furniture.
If that was the case, you could manage all these stores in Magento in one administrative panel, so you don't have to log in and out of different systems.
Multiple Storefronts for International Selling
But what if you need different storefronts for customers in different parts of the world?
For example, you might want a store for each of the different countries your customers shop from – so you have a storefront for England, France, Canada, Mexico, Australia, the US, and Germany.
Whatever the case, you could handle all of those storefronts with a lot more flexibility from one panel inside Adobe Commerce.
You could even set up different payment methods for different regions because you have the ability to set up different stores built into every aspect of Adobe Commerce.
You can have complete flexibility of different stores having different inventory, different stores having different languages, different stores having different shipping – whatever you need to serve your entire international audience.
While Shopify does have some international capabilities, it's hard to have completely separate stores and be able to manage all the content for every store separately.
Using Multiple Storefronts for B2B Businesses
The same thing goes for wholesale B2B businesses.
If you have one store for your basic retailers, but you have another store that you want to set up for your wholesalers for different messaging, you can handle that through one admin panel in Adobe Commerce. It will allow you to handle inventory for multiple different locations in one administrative panel.
With Shopify, you'd need a different administrative panel to handle each of these stores.
And if you have different warehouses, you can have these different warehouses all pulled into Adobe Commerce. You can see the inventories at different locations, storefronts, or different warehouses. This is a really cool feature that comes with Adobe Commerce, whereas Shopify doesn't offer this out-of-the-box.
3. Support for PWAs
Another feature that Adobe Commerce comes with is support for PWAs (Progressive Web Apps). We won't get into all the details here, but it's basically code that will speed up your site and make it feel more like an app, as far as it being super responsive and being able to work offline. This is something that comes native with Adobe Commerce.
Unfortunately, Shopify Plus doesn't have this, either.
4. AI Search Capabilities
The next is the artificial intelligence search that Adobe Commerce has powered by Sensei.
This is basically where your search will continue to learn misspellings, plurals, non-plurals, and, essentially, act more like Amazon or Google, where it will detect what people are really searching for, even if they don't search the exact phrase that's on your product.
Shopify Plus doesn't have this out-of-the-box.
If you want to get a better search functionality for Shopify Plus, there are apps out there that can help you with this. The same goes for other Adobe Commerce features we’re mentioning here. You may be able to get a version of that functionality by adding the right app.
That said, if you add too many apps, the price of running your site is going to go up, too. It can also be hard to get all these apps to work together seamlessly a lot of times.
So, adding too many apps to your Shopify Plus store can actually end up causing more harm than good.
This is why, if you need a specific type of functionality – one that might require numerous apps – you should find a Shopify developer first. They might be able to create the result you want without any of the potential problems.
5. Support for Different Product Types
Another one of the big features that Adobe Commerce has that Shopify Plus does not is the different types of products they have natively.
I’ll write a different blog post in the future to go over different product types in a little bit more depth because it is a huge feature of Adobe Commerce, but let’s do a quick overview for now.
So, a simple product is basically that. It's just a simple product that doesn't have a lot of flexibility as far as being able to group products together or to be able to customize them, either.
Then there are the other product types that Adobe Commerce has to offer that Shopify Plus doesn't.
Configurable products, bundle products, virtual products, group downloadable products – these are all products that are offered with Adobe Commerce out of the box and this gives you a lot more power when it comes to building your store and making sure that your products are set up correctly.
6. Product Attributes
The next thing that Adobe Commerce does really well with different types of products is that they support an unlimited set of product attributes.
Think of product attributes as the adjectives you would use to describe a product. They could be colors, shapes, what type of material the product is made from, etc.
These are typically areas that your customers are going to want to search for, filter for, and that you're going to want to be able to describe your products with.
This is a very important feature that Shopify Plus is lacking. Your attribute set is basically set out of the box. This is another area that Adobe Commerce is very strong in.
7. Layered Navigation
The next area is layered navigation.
Layered navigation is basically when you go to a catalog page or category page and you want to be able to filter down products from price to color to material type to weight.
And different types of industries will have different types of attributes that someone might want to filter for.
Adobe Commerce will allow you to customize this and add unlimited attributes for each product allowing that layered navigation to be super powerful and feature-rich. You can also add these to places like your advanced search.
Once again, this is an area that Shopify Plus is lacking because they limit you on the amount of attributes that you can add to your store.
8. Color Swatches
The next thing that Adobe Commerce offers out of the box is color swatches.
This is basically when you have different items and you want to click on whatever it is and the product image automatically switches to that color. You can add this to Shopify Plus with some different apps, but they don't have this natively built into Shopify Plus where Adobe Commerce has this.
Again, this is another area where Shopify Plus is lacking, and I don’t understand why the company doesn’t work to change that. It’s a great feature.
9. Visual Merchandising
Another thing that Adobe Commerce has is visual merchandising.
In the administrative panel, you can go and see all your products and easily categorize them as you see fit.
Say you're trying to categorize all the wood furniture in your store versus all the fabric furniture. You can do it by just selecting them all visually and being able to move them into different buckets. It couldn’t be easier.
You can do this with Adobe Commerce, but, once again, Shopify Plus is lacking this helpful feature.
10. Product Recommendations
The next feature is another example of Adobe Commerce’s use of artificial intelligence.
This time it’s with Adobe Sensei, which leverages AI to make product recommendations.
The artificial intelligence will be watching your store and seeing how customers react to different products. Then, they'll automatically add different product recommendations or related products so that you don't have to do this manually.
This technology will allow your store to continuously get better over time without you having to do anything. This is something that you would have to do manually for Shopify Plus or get another app to do this.
11. Built-in Promotion Engine
The next area where Adobe Commerce really shines is its promotion engine, which is super feature-rich.
It supports a wide range of options and all kinds of nuances and rules you can set up for how to offer your customers coupons.
Shopify Plus’s coupon engine lacks a lot of this functionality, so if you want to set up a more advanced coupon, you'll have to go get a different app here, as well.
The next area to talk about is SEO.
Adobe Commerce also wins here. It’s a great eCommerce platform as far as SEO goes.
One of the many reasons is because it's open source, so if you want to change your URL structure or be able to change the different code in your system, you have more flexibility to modify your store.
And if you’re looking for more options, check out our post on Magento search engine optimization.
On the other hand, if you just have basic SEO needs, Shopify Plus is good at generating traffic.
But if you're looking for more customization and more complex SEO stuff, Adobe Commerce is definitely the better choice.
13. B2B Functionality
The next big category is B2B functionality.
If you're doing B2B or wholesale, Adobe Commerce is hands down a lot better system than Shopify Plus.
Adobe Commerce is built really well for B2B customers, wholesale customers, manufacturers, and distributors. Here are just a handful of the reasons B2B business owners love using Adobe Commerce for their sites.
Handle Multiple Stores
The first one is being able to handle multiple stores – B2C or B2B – in one admin. We've already talked about this, so we can just jump to the next one, but I wanted to make sure I touched on it in this category.
Pricing Per Customer Group
Adobe Commerce allows you to offer different pricing based on specific types of customers right out of the box.
The ability to price per customer group comes down to two things: having different stores and the promotion engine that Adobe Commerce has out of the box.
So, you can have different customer groups, including your wholesale customers. If you want to take 50% off for that group, you can do that without giving the same discount to your retail customers.
You can also have completely different tiers across customer groups, too. This way, if they buy more volume, they get a bigger discount. It’s a great way to encourage more conversions and higher average order values (AOVs).
You can even have different discounts for different product categories, as well.
14. Requisition List
The next aspect that B2B business owners love about Adobe Commerce is theirrequisition lists.
This valuable asset comes standard with Adobe Commerce.
A requisition list can either be a list of products you’ve approved for a customer to buy from or a list of items they purchase frequently. In the latter case, providing this list makes it easy for a B2B customer to come back and make repeat purchases with ease.
15. B2B Quote Offering & Approval
The next really cool feature Adobe Commerce has is the request a quote feature.
This is incredible if you don’t always want to list the price of every product on your site. Maybe it makes more sense for your business to offer quotes to customers for certain items.
With Adobe Commerce, a buyer can request a quote for one of these items or even a quote for a bulk order of items. If they do, that request goes to your salespeople through the administrative panel.
They can then create a quote and it'll go back to the customer to either approve it or can send it back to the salesperson if they want to say, “Hey, that doesn't quite meet my needs. Can we make these couple changes for it?” So, you can have that back and forth through your admin panel.
16. Manage Teams & Hierarchy
With Adobe Commerce, your B2B customers can manage their teams and teams’ hierarchies.
So, an employee can request, “Hey, I want to buy 10,000 pencils” and then that request goes to their manager for approval.
Their manager can then either approve it or say, “You know what we don't need? 10,000 pencils. We only need 1,000 pencils.”
That way, the orders you receive are the ones the customer truly wants.
So, this is yet another cool B2B feature that also covers the order approval process – another valuable aspect.
17. Custom Catalogs
The next feature that business owners love is custom catalogs.
This is where you can create custom catalogs for any of your B2B customers.
So, maybe you want to set up a catalog just for suppliers. Say it’s the Dallas Cowboys. You want their items to only be shown to them versus the New Orleans Saints. You can have different catalogs set up for each of these suppliers.
This is something you can do natively in Adobe Commerce.
18. Allow Orders with a CSV File
The next feature I want to cover is being able to order via a CSV file in Adobe Commerce. Your merchants can just upload a huge file of all the items they need to order especially if it's a bulk order of a thousand different things.
Merchants love this because it makes it SO much easier to restock their inventory with ease.
And, again, this is something you can do natively in Adobe Commerce.
You can also assign sales reps per account to manage those accounts and earn commissions on them. You can even see sales reports per account that they manage.
If they need to, they can also log in to assist the customer with their items – finding them, adding them to the cart, assisting them with the checkout process – whatever helps to close the sale.
19. Store Credits
The next feature I know you’ll love is being able to offer customers store credits.
A lot of times, store credits are used when one of your merchants has a credit with you for, say, $20,000. They can buy from you using that $20,000 credit.
Then, they can pay for that purchase later depending on your terms with that merchant.
Once more, this is another way that Adobe Commerce makes it extremely easy to improve conversions and AOVs with your clients.
20. Managing Quote Requests and Pricing Terms
The final feature I want to highlight about Adobe Commerce is being able to manage quotes and negotiate terms with your customers.
This feature is also built into Adobe Commerce.
And I’ve gone through this already a little bit, but in Adobe Commerce, you can set up terms for each of your wholesale customers and negotiate pricing per customer.
A lot of times, in the B2B distributor world, you'll have negotiated pricing for each customer, and this is something you can easily set this up in Adobe Commerce.
Deciding Between Shopify Plus and Adobe Commerce
This is just a high-level list of the main differences between the two platforms.
I know this seems to lean a little heavier to the Adobe Commerce side, but they're really just two different systems.
So, maybe you don't need all these features and you have a very simple store and want something easy to use. Then, I’d recommend Shopify Plus all the way.
It's going to be easier for you to maintain. It's going to be easier for you to use, and it's going to make your life easier.
You can focus on your business.
But, on the other hand, Adobe Commerce is a different use case. If yours is a more complex business that need these kinds of features, then Adobe Commerce makes the most sense.