E-Commerce Software Comparison: Adobe vs. Intershop

We reviewed Intershop and Adobe Commerce using our Composable Agility Score rating system. Learn how they are similar and where each platform stands out.


Adobe Commerce Cloud (Magento) and Intershop are both popular e-commerce solutions with long histories on the market. Having reviewed both companies using our proprietary Composable Agility Score (CA Score) rating system, we explain below how Adobe Commerce compares to Intershop. Continue reading to learn more about the similarities and differences between the two platforms and which usage cases they best serve.

Adobe vs. Intershop: a brief overview

The software behind Adobe Commerce Cloud was initially called Magento, and was developed by Varien, Inc. in Culver City, CA, USA. Magento was launched publicly in 2008 and acquired by Adobe in 2018. In 2019, Adobe released Adobe Commerce Cloud, which is built on Magento and offered as a cloud-hosted solution that is integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud.

For the sake of clarity, it’s worth noting that Magento is also available in two other versions: as a free, self-hosted, open-source software called Magento Open Source, and as a managed enterprise version called Magento, which is not integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud. This review covers the Adobe Commerce Cloud product.

Intershop was founded in Jena, Germany in 1992 under the name NetConsult. In 1995, the founders created both the first German online store and “Intershop Online,” an early e-commerce software. The software was a global success and Intershop now serves over 300 companies internationally, with 340 employees from 23 different countries in 11 offices worldwide.

Adobe Commerce vs. Intershop: how are they different?

As far as composable agility goes, the two platforms are fairly similar. They are both built on older, monolithic architecture and offer limited customizations. However, Intershop offers true headless e-commerce, which Adobe Commerce does not.

Adobe’s overall CA Score was 5.1, while Intershop earned a slightly lower 5.

Adobe’s highest-rated category was for Headless, where it earned a modest 6.1 points, while its lowest category was Modularity at 3.3. Intershop also scored highest and lowest for Headless and Modularity, with 7 and 3, respectively. 

Except for Headless, Intershop scored slightly lower than Adobe in each category. Let’s take a more detailed look at how the two platforms compare in five key areas.

The largest difference in scores between Adobe and Intershop was for Headless

The Headless score tells us how decoupled the front end and back end are for each platform. Although Adobe is the more modern software in all other regards, it secured a score of only 6.1 for this criteria, whilst Intershop scores higher at 7. Let’s take a look at how these scores were arrived at.

Both platforms offer a variety of customization options, and both include a Progressive Web Application (PWA). Adobe offers a variety of front-end skins and the UI can be customized using Adobe Experience Manager. However, in Adobe’s case, the front end and back end are not decoupled. The original front end cannot be removed, and so Adobe cannot be considered truly headless.

Intershop, on the other hand, is considered headless. It features a fully decoupled front end that supports omnichannel and multichannel commerce. The architecture was not built headless from the ground up — the platform’s CMS is coupled with the business logic. Nonetheless, it garners a higher score for this category than Adobe Commerce.

Cloud Nativity: moderate differences between Adobe vs. Intershop

The Cloud Nativity score tells us if the software is designed to take full advantage of cloud architecture. Potential advantages of cloud nativity include elasticity and seamless updates for customers. Adobe Commerce scored moderately higher in Cloud Nativity, with a score of 5.6. Intershop scored only 5.

Both Adobe Commerce Cloud and Intershop Commerce are hosted in the cloud, but neither takes full advantage of cloud technology. Both platforms require customers to manage their own updates and patches, which is inconvenient and results in a lower score for both companies.

Intershop has taken a cloud-first approach since 2018 and completed their cloud transition in late 2021 with the introduction of Intershop N. Unlike Adobe, it offers auto-scaling, which means it is better able to adapt to sudden traffic spikes. However, Adobe includes modern features such as on-demand self-service and resource pooling, which is reflected in its slightly higher score in this category.

API First: a slight difference between Adobe Commerce and Intershop

The API First score tells us if this software is built around APIs, which allow it to communicate with other applications. An API-first architecture means that virtually all data can be accessed by other applications, offering businesses the chance to customize their software stack with best-of-breed integrations.

Adobe Commerce scored a satisfactory 4.9 in the API First category, whereas Intershop received a slightly lower score of 4.4. The two platforms are similar in terms of APIs, but Adobe offers more robust back end API coverage.

Adobe Commerce uses the Magento API framework, but it was designed with a permanently coupled graphical user interface (GUI) and the API layer was added as an afterthought. Intershop is comparable, offering a fairly standard selection of APIs on top of their monolithic legacy stack.

Intershop makes a variety of front end APIs available, but few for the back end. Adobe’s PWA framework, on the other hand, communicates with the back end via APIs, which is reflected in its higher score in this category. Adobe’s APIs follow several industry standards such as OAUTH and REST, but are mostly hard coded and don’t provide versioning. This limits flexibility.

Both platforms get the basics of API security right and documentation is solid.

Adobe Commerce and Intershop are similar in terms of Modularity

The Modularity score tells us how easily the software can be customized by adding and removing individual software functions. Older software is generally monolithic, which is the opposite of modular.

Both platforms received low scores in this category, with Adobe scoring 3.3 and Intershop scoring only 3.

Both Adobe Commerce and Intershop are based on monolithic architecture. Adobe offers very limited additional services at an extra cost. They are not granular or functionally independent like a true microservice.

Intershop has started the process of breaking up the monolithic platform into distinct services, but this is still in progress. Some modular-type integrations can be added with relative ease.

Adobe Commerce and Intershop score similarly for Composability

The Composability score tells us how easily the software lets you build scalable and customized software solutions. Adobe Commerce and Intershop earned virtually the same score in this category, with 5.8 and 5.7 points, respectively.

Adobe Commerce Cloud and Intershop are both precomposed. Neither software allows users to piece together the desired functionalities from the ground up; unused features and integrations cannot be removed.

Nonetheless, they are fairly customizable. Adobe’s platform makes many apps and third-party integrations available, and custom-coded solutions are also possible. In Intershop’s case, the most composable aspect of the software is the out-of-the-box set up for new instances or sites.

Adobe vs. Intershop: who is the winner?

Both options are quite similar in terms of their overall composable agility. Adobe Commerce Cloud received slightly higher scores in all categories except Headless, resulting in its slightly higher CA Score. However, Intershop offers more headless functionality and omnichannel capabilities, so it would be the better option if headless commerce is an important part of your business strategy. Businesses who already use the Adobe Experience Cloud might find Adobe Commerce Cloud to be a good fit, but neither platform would be suitable for businesses who need a truly modular commerce platform.

Evaluation methodology.

Working together with scientists and industry leaders from the respective cloud areas, our evaluations are based on an industry peer review standard that meets the highest standards of objectivity. All the insights are combined in a single figure, which means they can be applied more easily and effectively from both a technical and a business perspective.

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