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Salesforce Commerce Cloud vs. Magento 2 On-Premise

Salesforce Commerce Cloud 1200x630 1
Ryan Nicholson
Ryan Nicholson
VP of Commerce, Americas
11 min read
9 February 2023

Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Magento 2 are both industry-leading e-commerce platforms. They offer B2C and B2B solutions to small businesses, large enterprises — and everyone in between. 

Both platforms have comparable offerings in many areas. However, they take radically different approaches to e-commerce—and there are some major differences to focus on if you’re going to make the right decision.

A note about Magento Cloud Commerce

We are aware of Adobe’s new Magento Cloud Commerce and Adobe Cloud offerings. However, these products are still in their infancy and are too new to review.  

Magento has changed radically since Adobe’s purchase of the platform. This year, they finally started making changes and integrating Magento into Adobe, which is always a chaotic process.

We simply cannot speak on the quality of the platform if it isn’t fully set up yet. What we will say is this: Becoming a Magento Cloud user in the midst of a massive transition period will come with its own problems, such as a lower quality of support from Magento developers and complexity using a brand new platform.   

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is more established and proven, and Salesforce developers are laser-focused on supporting their users — not facilitating a major platform shift. If you are looking for a hosted and cloud-based platform to switch to as soon as possible, then Salesforce is your best bet. 

Don’t approach it alone

Before you go any further, we have some advice for everyone looking to select a commerce platform:

  • Find a partner you trust, tell them what your goals are, and get their advice. It shouldn’t cost anything to chat through it. This discussion is only to be done by your business once every 3-7 years, but companies like DEPT® have hundreds of these talks.
  • Engage your partner to help with pricing if possible. With both Salesforce and Magento, there’s a lot of wiggle room in the price if you approach it right.  
  • Make the vendor show, not tell. Have them genuinely demonstrate the capability of the solution and how it is managed on your end. Perfect example — promotions. Both platforms can handle promotions. But what does actually creating your typical promotion look like? How does it integrate with checkout? Show me the edge cases. Do they really work? These are questions you need to be asking.
  • Shopify and Salesforce each have thousands of customers that are happy to share feedback. Talk to them. Get feedback from one that is aligned with your needs. If you are Nike, don’t let them put you in touch with Papa John’s. Talk to Adidas.
  • Think long-term. You don’t want to have to do this twice. What is your roadmap for the next three years? What do your needs look like if you are successful? Where are the opportunities to grow? 

Review the basics

As premier commerce solutions, both Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Magento 2 have a lot in common — but their differences can determine whether they are the right fit for your brand.  

What they have in common:

  • Native internationalization & multi-store capabilities
  • Support for managing complex catalogs 
  • B2B and B2C businesses can use the platform
  • Strong content management offering
  • Global scalability
  • AI for site personalization
  • A powerful omnichannel offering
  • Access to community support and learning resources 
  • A development team is required for the implementation

Where they differ:

  • Salesforce is a fully hosted SaaS, cloud-based platform
  • Magento 2 is primarily a self-hosted, on-premise platform, but they have a brand new cloud offering as well
  • Salesforce offers three levels of pricing and takes a percentage of GMV
  • Magento starts with a base licensing fee, then development and maintenance costs depend on requirements, as well as your in-house rates or the price of a third-party agency

Cost of ownership

There is no winner in this category, as the price of each platform largely depends on the requirements of your business. Generally, costs will be lower if you know exactly what you want the site to look like, and the functionalities your business needs to have.

With Salesforce, the costs will be more upfront since a lot of services are handled by the platform. Since Magento 2 on-premise is self-hosted, the price of maintenance will come down to what you can handle in-house, and what you need to outsource.  

The smartest move you can make is to figure out exactly what your business needs, and then get a direct price quote for how much each platform will cost. If you’re not sure exactly what you need, we can chat about that as well.


If you are looking for maximum customization, Magento 2 on-premise is the best option. However, that level of freedom comes with a variety of major sacrifices that you should be aware of. 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce’s model prioritizes stability and performance over absolute control. They are positioned to offer an effective balance of customization and support. In our experience, the level of customization granted by Salesforce works for nearly all cases.

Users have full control over the front and back-end — but the servers, core, and code are closed off to you. Adjustments to your code can be made with approval from Salesforce developers — but the bar is set pretty high. 

Why is it closed off? Well, when you have personal control over those parts of the system, there are a host of stability issues and vulnerabilities that arise — and can frequently cause major issues that take significant time and resources to solve. 

Magento 2

Magento 2 grants merchants access to the entire system, which means everything can be changed — from writing custom code to making core adjustments. You will have freedom over every part of your storefront because you are building and maintaining it all yourself.

This can be a solid option for companies who need absolute control and have the resources to handle their entire systems on their own.

Time to market

A general rule of thumb is that SaaS platforms are usually faster to set up than PaaS because various parts of the system are already set up when you lease the software. However, neither one of these platforms is an out-of-the-box storefront. They both require varying amounts of customization.

Plus, time to market is only a relevant question if you are building a storefront from scratch. Otherwise, DEPT® offers a seven-week accelerator package for both Salesforce and Magento 2.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce provides merchants with access to a host of powerful tools and pre-built functionalities right out of the box, which generally results in faster market times than a self-hosted solution.

Magento 2

When you have to write your own code, optimize your own core, set up your own servers, and build every single customization — it can take longer than a hosted platform. Again, third party agencies like DEPT® pre-build a lot of the functionalities you will need ahead of time. 


Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce is well-established as being the perfect system for businesses who know exactly what they want. The simplicity of Salesforce coupled with the platform’s highly polished tools makes it a powerful turn-key solution for most businesses.

Magento 2

Magento 2 is a better option for businesses who are less sure of exactly what they need and require a platform that grants the absolute freedom to test out and use highly unique customizations.  

Native ecosystem

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce is well-known for the sheer power of its native product suite, which is widely considered best-in-class. An important advantage of Salesforce Commerce Cloud is that it comes with far more than just e-commerce tools. 

Users get access to the world’s #1 CRM platform, Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Order Management, and Salesforce Einstein which all team up to provide a unified solution from the early stages of marketing through customer support and satisfaction. 

Magento 2

Magento has a native product suite as well, which includes OMS, WMS, MBI, Social, Adobe AEM, Sensei (Magento’s AI). The platform is fully-focused on e-commerce.

  • Order Management Software (OMS)
  • Warehouse Management System (WMS)
  • Magento Business Intelligence (MBI)
  • Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)

Third-party extensions

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce is positioned as a one-stop-shop for e-commerce and CRM. They offer several native integrations with 3rd party solutions through the LINK Marketplace, but the platform is designed around their own exclusive tools. Just like Apple, Salesforce operates as a cohesive ecosystem where their best-in-class products are designed to work seamlessly together. 

Magento 2

Magento 2 doesn’t have a native product lineup that’s as powerful and established as Salesforce. As a result, they provide more native integrations with 3rd party tools and are generally more open to users who want more control over those decisions. 

Security & compliance

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce’s singular approach to security is well established and reflects the sheer size of the companies using their platform — Toyota, American Bank, and American Express to name just a few.

Plus, Salesforce is industry-leading when it comes to compliance standards. ADA, CCPA, GDPR are all becoming more of a focus for companies — so this is an important advantage. Salesforce is ahead of the curve on CCPA compliance, and they are second to none in meeting ADA standards.

Magento 2

Magento provides various security including 2FA, reCaptcha, a strong coding standard to protect against exploits, and PCI compliance. However, self-hosted platforms leave all server-side security measures up to the user.

Security is more like a spectrum on Magento  — some businesses are strong, some are normal, and some are weak. Self-hosted also means that Magento cannot guarantee any compliance standards. That responsibility is passed off to the user.  

Hosted vs. self-hosted / cloud-based vs. on-premise

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce is built for merchants who want their system hosted and maintained by a team of experts around the clock. You don’t have to worry about infrastructure, uptime, software bug fixes, software updates, compliance standards, etc. A team of Salesforce experts shoulders those responsibilities while constantly monitoring the performance of your store.

Magento 2

Since Magento 2 is self-hosted, every Magento user houses their own servers or has a third-party agency house them. When you’re responsible for your own servers, you have no help from Magento should anything go wrong, and you’re responsible for everything that’s covered for Salesforce users. 

Magento 2 users require complete control and full access to the hardware that’s running their site — and they have an extensive IT team to manage it. 


Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce’s B2B offering is a completely separate platform than its B2C. The amount of customization available to B2C users does not translate to the B2B platform. However, all of Salesforce’s CRM tools, including Einstein, are available to B2B users. 

Magento 2

Magento B2B grants more freedom to make customizations. The platform also offers a unified B2B and B2C solution for businesses that do both.

Artificial intelligence

Both platforms offer their own versions of artificial intelligence — Salesforce Einstein and Adobe Sensei. Each comes with industry-standard AI features, such as machine learning, predictive sort, and task automation. However, there is a key difference between them. 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce Einstein is the leading comprehensive AI for CRM. An important selling point for Einstein is that it comes included with the license of the platform, and it’s baked into every single application, without the need for any setup or data scientists.  

Magento 2

Adobe Sensei is geared more towards e-commerce. It is not baked into the platform or automatically available for any employee to use, regardless of their position or application. 

The right decision largely depends on the nature, priorities, and budget of your business — but remember, these platforms are not the same. Magento 2 is the leading on-premise e-commerce platform. They are aimed at providing absolute control with minimal to no support. You have freedom over everything because you are managing it all yourself. 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is the leading SaaS, cloud-based e-commerce, and CRM platform. They are focused on delivering the world’s best native product sweet, providing enough freedom for any brand to create a highly unique e-commerce experience — and hosting everything else. 

Selecting an e-commerce platform is a significant decision that requires both an expert understanding of the solutions you are considering and consideration of your own roadmap. Navigating through these waters with a strong, unbiased partner who helps assess your needs against platform strengths and informs the end-to-end ecosystem can save you substantially in the long run. 

DEPT® is experienced on several platforms, including Salesforce and Magento 2, and can help you determine what product is best for you to get started and to support your growth.


VP of Commerce, Americas

Ryan Nicholson

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