2024 Buyer’s Guide to Adobe Commerce for Enterprise: Costs, Features & Alternatives

TMO GroupMay 3, 2024
2024 Buyer’s Guide to Adobe Commerce for Enterprise: Costs, Features & Alternatives

The success of any digital commerce operation begins with something as basic as the choice of eCommerce platform on which to develop an online store, as the right tool needs to offer features according to your specific line of business as well as support your brand’s needs even as they evolve with time.

When it comes to custom eCommerce development, Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento, although we’ll get to that in a second) is one of the best Enterprise-level eCommerce solutions given the high degree of customization and scalability that its framework provides. This is why hundreds of thousands from the top eCommerce websites—including multinational brands such as multinational brands like T-Mobile, Coca-Cola, and Krispy Kreme—are powered by Adobe’s software.

But, is Adobe Commerce (Magento) right for your business?

As a custom eCommerce development agency that has built online stores over the years for international customers from a broad range of industries, we often get asked questions such as:

  • How do Adobe’s Open Source and Enterprise versions Compare?
  • How can I avoid going over budget on my eCommerce project?
  • What are my alternatives to Adobe Commerce?

To answer this, we’ve put up this straightforward Buyer’s Guide covering the ins and outs of Adobe Commerce in order to help you make the best choice for your business. Here, we will also explore some of the key functionalities that make Adobe Commerce (Magento) a no-brainer for particular use cases, the difference between its Open Source and Enterprise versions, as well as examples of successful implementations and our recommendation on when you should and shouldn’t go for this eCommerce platform.

Adobe Commerce (Magento): Pros and Cons

Adobe Commerce (Magento) is one of the leading eCommerce platform solutions in the market. Its many features enable both B2B and B2C businesses to create and manage their online stores effectively and offer highly customized shopping experiences. Based on a PHP core code, and with the option for additional custom module development, its framework is perfect for large enterprises with complex business requirements and brands who want to develop a unique look-and-feel to their eCommerce.

✅ Rich customization options allows for the creation of a unique customer experience (eg. when you need to manage multiple brands/markets, localizing user experience across sites is crucial).❌ Costly license fees in the Enterprise version, as well as usually higher development costs.
✅ Multi-store function makes it easy to establish independent websites in multiple countries with unified back end management.❌ Richness and flexibility result in high operation complexity, requiring experienced developers.
✅ Powerful B2B-specific functionalities.❌ Steeper learning curve for day-to-day operation.
✅ Highly-scalable, able to handle large product catalogs and high traffic, suitable for growing operation and expanding into new markets.❌ Requires a lot of server resources to run efficiently, which may result in higher hosting costs.

When assessing the advantages and disadvantages of Adobe Commerce (Magento) summarized above, you can already sense that it is a platform aimed at businesses looking for more advanced eCommerce solutions.

Not sure where to start? We can help you assess and implement a winning digital commerce strategy.

On top of these already impressive out-of-the-box capabilities, using Adobe Commerce means being a part of the largest commerce ecosystem in the world, getting access to a robust global network of Adobe-certified developers and partner agencies, support communities, a marketplace of almost 5,000 extensions and add-ons, and perhaps most importantly, the possibility of integrating with other products from the Adobe Experience Cloud suite, such as Experience Manager, to create unique and engaging online experiences.

Now, let’s dig into the eCommerce development options that Adobe has to offer.

Magento (Open Source) vs Adobe Commerce (Enterprise)

If you have been researching your eCommerce implementation, chances are that you have run into the claim that “Magento is now Adobe Commerce”. While it is true that the platform went through a rebranding in 2021, this has sparked some confusion as to what it exactly entails.

A clearer picture is that there’s actually two eCommerce solutions by Adobe—a free to use open-source version aimed at smaller businesses and developers called Magento Open Source (formerly Magento 2 Community edition), and a paid version aimed at large firms called Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento 2 Enterprise).

While Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce share the exact same underlying codebase and hence the same level of flexibility and customization, the latter offers more features in its out-of-the-box state as well as the option to be cloud-hosted as a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) solution. Let’s look at the main differences between both platforms:

 Magento Open SourceAdobe Commerce
CostFree to download and use with no license fees.Requires licensing from Adobe starting at US $15,000/yr.
MarketingCore eCommerce features such as browsing products, managing shopping carts and customizing checkout.Integrates with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) and other Cloud products for a personalized customer experience.
AnalyticsRequires third-party services for reporting and analysis.Built-in tools provide in-depth reporting and analysis.
Additional ModulesDoes not have additional features.Live Search, seller-assisted shopping, B2B and Business Intelligence features, Adobe App Builder, and more.
HostingMust choose an external provider to host the storefront.On Adobe Commerce Cloud (included in fee) or on-Premise.
SupportNo official support, community-based self-service supportOfficial Adobe maintenance and support from Service-level Agreement (SLA) included in fee.

While one version obviously offers more convenience and functionalities—as paid versions should, both platforms offer excellent performance and there is no clear-cut answer when choosing one over the other, so your decision will mainly boil down to your budget and specific business needs.

For a more detailed list of functions and use cases, check out our Adobe Commerce Services overview page.

Adobe Commerce (Magento) Cost Overview

Cost is undoubtedly an element that needs to be carefully considered in any project. As mentioned above, Magento Open Source can be used for free, although these license fees represent only a part of the equation that is the overall eCommerce development. We can roughly divide the costs into the following:

  • License Fees
  • Development Costs
  • Hosting Fees
  • Maintenance and Support

Adobe Commerce’s annual license ranges from US $15,000 to over $100,000 depending on the size of the project. In terms of development costs, Adobe Commerce also tends to incur higher costs as it’s correlated with more complex implementations.

For specific assessment of your needs, you can contact TMO for a quotation for your eCommerce development project.

On the other hand, Magento Open Source implementations tend to carry additional costs for self-hosting and troubleshooting, while enterprises using Adobe Commerce can benefit over the long run from Adobe Commerce Cloud’s included hosting and maintenance support services.

Purely in terms of price, Magento Open Source appears to be more cost-effective, but for larger enterprises, especially those with very particular business functionalities to be developed, Adobe Commerce may prove a more affordable long-term choice, since Adobe’s official support and hosting can also lower your total cost of ownership.

If you are assessing an eCommerce project and fear that you risk going over budget, let’s take a look at some options that exist for controlling development costs.

How to Control Development Costs on your eCommerce Project

Option #1: Using predefined templates or third-party modules on your Adobe Commerce (Magento) setup

For most customers with no prior experience with Adobe Commerce (Magento), using third-party modules or predefined templates might seem like an effective way to save budget and development time. While true, each external component that you plan on including into your online store is a decision that must be examined very carefully, as there’s the potential for this method to bring very high costs down the line.

Using third-party modules or predefined templates may expose enterprises to compatibility risks, security vulnerability issues, and more, leading to higher maintenance and development costs over time or in the future. We cannot stress enough how important it is to evaluate the quality and suitability of these add-ons.

Especially when large companies have considerable customization requirements, pre-made templates or modules might not be the best way to go. In these cases, at TMO we often insist on customizing all core eCommerce processes, such as user registration, login, and payment processing, to avoid additional issues or risks.

Option #2: Going for lower-cost SaaS alternatives like Shopify

Another feasible option depending on your business needs might be going for a Software-as-a-Service solution, such as Shopify.

Apart from Adobe Commerce, TMO Group offers eCommerce development services on SaaS platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce.

Let’s take a look at the differences between Adobe Commerce (Magento) and Shopify:

 Adobe Commerce (Magento)Shopify
Applicable EnterprisesSuitable for large enterprises and stores that require a high-degree of customization.Simpler, faster onboarding experience for start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses.
CostRequires greater initial investment.Relatively low-priced, offering different levels of packages from US $29-299 monthly.
HostingSelf-Hosted for Magento Open Source, while Adobe Commerce can be hosted in Adobe’s infrastructure or On-Premise.Shopify’s hosting solutions can reduce technology and maintenance costs.
OwnershipFull control over the website and its assets, including code, database, etc. You can modify the source code, integrate third-party extensions and control all aspects of your website, making it ideal for deep customization.Businesses can control the content of the website (products, categories, and design) but the infrastructure (servers, software) is owned and managed by Shopify, and you do not have direct access to the platform’s source code, so customization options will be limited.

Our recommendation is that for start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses, consider using Shopify as it offers a simpler, lower-cost solution with a decent user experience and support. For larger enterprises, especially in terms of asset ownership, open-source solutions like Adobe Commerce (Magento) might be the better investment.

For a full overview of the top eCommerce platforms by tier and use case, check out our 2024 eCommerce Platform Comparison including cost, usability, and features.

Option #3: Adobe Commerce (Magento) might still be a cost-effective choice!

While the initial investment cost of Adobe Commerce (Magento) is relatively high, the overall implementation cost of your project will be determined by the degree of customization, integration and data migration, performance and scalability, regular maintenance and support, and other requirements. Furthermore, a well-optimized online store with functionalities specifically customized to your business needs will prove a better investment over the long run when compared to a less-optimized store built with predefined modules.

Adobe Commerce (Magento) gives you more control and ownership of your website, making it ideal for businesses that require deep customization and flexibility. For example, if a brand hopes to highlight its brand style and provide users with a unique experience through a unique UI/UX design , it needs to achieve this through customized development. In terms of business needs, functions such as customized delivery timing and notification mechanisms may be required for cross-border orders. Furthermore, companies can customize development according to their own business needs in terms of customer service processes, product management processes, marketing and promotion processes, data analysis and reporting processes—this is because the company has full ownership of the code and can carry out extensive customization.

See how Henry Schein transformed it Singapore and Malaysia digital operations with an online store powered by Adobe Commerce.

It is worth noting that cost optimization should not be limited to implementation costs. Management should perhaps focus on the total cost of ownership of the project from the perspective of the company's interests. For example, the ownership and control of an eCommerce system, users and data can also be used as an important asset for the company's long-term development.

Use Cases for Adobe Commerce (Magento)

Based on TMO’s years of experience in understanding enterprise needs, we have identified three main use cases that can greatly benefit from Adobe Commerce’s (Magento) flexibility and functionalities:

  • For Cross-border & Global Expansion
  • For B2B Commerce
  • For China Localization

1. Cross-Border eCommerce & Global Expansion Key Features

For international cross-border e-commerce platform development, one of the main advantages of Adobe Commerce (Magento) is its multi-store functionality, which allows enterprises to run multiple stores from a single Magento system instance or a single management interface.

So how to achieve international expansion/growth with Adobe Commerce/Magento?

  • Setting up an e-commerce structure suitable for international expansion: We need to understand the four levels of the Magento system: global, website, store, and store. Each level offers different flexibility, with most international retailers opting for a combination of configurations to provide a localized experience for their customers.
  • Managing international customer experience: When a company needs to manage multiple brands and market players, the experience of international customers when switching between sites is very important! Adobe Commerce offers flexible customer management options in this regard.
  • Product catalog and sales: Build product catalogs according to business needs, and you can set product attributes for different target markets.
  • Currencies and Pricing: Pay in multiple currencies, display product prices, and more.
  • Other elements that need attention include multiple inventory/warehouses, promotions, multi-language e-commerce systems, search, payments, international tax, shipping and fulfillment, regionalized content and marketing, cross-border data protection, etc.

2. B2B eCommerce Key Features

Adobe Commerce/Magento is a leader in the field of B2B e-commerce development, providing ideas and insights for brands' B2B digital transformation.

When implementing B2B e-commerce, does your company also face the following problems: How to build user loyalty? How to build a personalized experience? How do I manage my account and ordering process? How to reduce order/inventory errors?

In fact, these can be answered through the key B2B e-commerce functions of Adobe Commerce/Magento:

  • Customer account level
  • Personality Directory
  • Quick order
  • Requisitions
  • Request a quote
  • Credit account payment
  • Automation rules
  • system integration

3. China Localization Key Features

The Chinese eCommerce ecosystem differs a lot from the rest of the world–interactions that are taken for granted in China often are not included in Western eCommerce platforms. To address this, at TMO we have developed a series of extension modules for Adobe Commerce to add a range of functionalities from top Chinese eCommerce platforms. Some of the features that a good China eCommerce localization should address are:

  • Mobile-first Login: Given the low usage rate of email in China, login via phone number is the easiest way to keeping your audience engaged, allowing you to send notifications and register your store's users.
  • WeChat Integration: WeChat registration is also a must-have, as it reduces frictions in the user journey and allowed businesses to connect through social media accounts.
  • Payment Gateways: Services like Alipay and WeChat Pay are essential to the success of any online store operation in China.
  • Localized Checkout: Features like address formatting to fit local writing conventions, ID check, and shipping status check are basics in China's online shopping ecosystem.

Read: 8 Adobe Commerce Localization features for a successful China Market Entry.

Examples of Successful Adobe Commerce (Magento) Implementations

Many multinational companies choose to use Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento 2 Enterprise Edition) to implement their brand eCommerce website development for good reason: It meets the unique needs and usage habits of different business use cases and allows for market localization and fast expansion into other national markets. Among these brands we can find Microsoft, Omega, Dyson, and more.

Take the case of Hewlett Packard (HP), one of the world's leading manufacturers of personal computers and printing equipment, which launched the first Magento-based online store in Thailand and Indonesia in 2013. When their business expanded to the Chinese market, they decided to upgrade to Magento Commerce 2 (Adobe Commerce). Since then, HP has delivered more than 600 new features and enhancements across 130 releases, and following its success in Asia Pacific, HP is working on expanding Adobe Commerce to 27 markets around the world.

At TMO we have compiled more market cases and functional use cases that you can take as an example:

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

Generally speaking, Adobe Commerce is a good choice for large enterprises and stores that require a high degree of customization or expand to multi-national markets, since it provides more out-of-the-box enterprise-level features compared to Magento Open Source. Furthermore, the possibility for Adobe’s official support and hosting with Adobe Commerce Cloud as a Platform-as-a-Service. Here's are bottomline suggestion:

  • For enterprises, while it is true that the initial investment may be higher, in the long term Adobe Commerce may provide a lower total cost of ownership and allow for continued growth of your online store with more flexibility and features that enhance your online experience, resulting in a better Return on Investment.
  • For companies with limited initial budgets but still have highly customized needs for e-commerce websites, Magento Open Source's core eCommerce functions is still a very reliable choice.
  • For startups and small to medium-sized businesses, consider Shopify as it offers a simpler, lower-cost solution with good user experience and support. Keep in mind, however, that the customization of user experience may be limited depending on your needs.

The importance of contract provisions cannot be ignored, such as important terms and safeguards, service level agreements, technical support, data security, and other considerations from an Adobe Commerce/Magento implementation. Working with an implementation team that has been officially certified by Adobe, to formulate clear contract terms can help companies reduce risks. As an Adobe-certified solution partner, TMO provides professional Adobe Commerce (Magento) implementation services and has rich localization project experience. If you have eCommerce platform development needs or want to know about other eCommerce development related services, feel free to contact us to discuss your project!

Share to: 

Related articles

All insights
Market guide
Industry report
Data pack

Let's Talk

Expand your Business with us
Get in touch