E-Commerce Software Comparison: Salesforce vs Adobe (Magento)

How does Salesforce stack up against Adobe Commerce (Magento)? This article will provide a comprehensive review of both e-commerce platforms. The review is based on our Composable Agility Score rating system, which offers a clear and impartial comparison of their relative strengths and weaknesses.


Salesforce and Adobe Commerce Cloud (formerly Magento) are popular e-commerce solutions serving mid-size and enterprise businesses. We reviewed the two companies using our proprietary Composable Agility Score (CA Score) rating system and explain below how Salesforce compares to Adobe Commerce (Magento). Continue reading to learn more about the two platforms and which use cases they best serve.

Salesforce and Adobe Commerce (Magento): a brief overview

Salesforce was founded in 1999 in San Francisco, California as a CRM software. Salesforce broke new ground by offering their software in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. Over the years, it has expanded its service package through a large number of acquisitions. In 2016, Salesforce acquired the e-commerce software Demandware. Shortly thereafter, it introduced Salesforce Commerce Cloud, its e-commerce platform.

Salesforce now has 77,000 employees globally. It is still based in San Francisco, but operates in 88 cities, with 110 offices around the world. In the 2022 fiscal year, it served approximately 150,000 customers and generated $26.49 billion in revenue.

Magento, the software behind Adobe Commerce Cloud, was developed by Varien, Inc. in Culver City, USA. It launched publicly in 2008 — about 9 years after Salesforce was founded, but 8 years before Salesforce added e-commerce to its service range. Magento was acquired by Adobe in 2018 and, in 2019, Adobe released Adobe Commerce Cloud. The Adobe Commerce Cloud is a cloud-hosted e-commerce platform which is based on Magento and integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud.

Magento is also available 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 platform.

Salesforce vs. Adobe Commerce (Magento): how are they different?

The two e-commerce platforms are fairly similar, but our analysis shows that Salesforce is somewhat more modern and agile than Adobe Commerce. Salesforce received an overall CA score of 6.1, while Adobe Commerce (Magento) received 5.1.

Salesforce received its highest score for the API First category, where it earned 7.3 points. Its lowest score was in the category Modularity, where it received 3.9. Adobe (Magento) scored highest for Headless with 6.1 and lowest for Modularity for 3.8.

Salesforce and Adobe both received equal scores of 5.8 for Composability, but in every other category Salesforce scored higher than Adobe. This resulted in Salesforce’s higher overall score. Let’s examine the five categories in more detail.

The largest difference in scores between Salesforce and Adobe (Magento) is for API First

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.

Salesforce’s score of 7.3 points in the API First category was significantly higher than Adobe Commerce (Magento), which scored 4.9. While Adobe Commerce offers respectable API coverage for front-end applications, Salesforce earns a higher score in this category by taking a truly API-first approach.

Adobe’s architecture includes the Magento API framework, which is there to help integrators and developers communicate with the Magento system. That increases their score somewhat in this category. However, the API layer was added after-the-fact, and the graphical user interface (GUI) is permanently coupled to the back end, which makes the software less flexible than it could be.

Adobe offers fairly good front-end API access, as well as some back-end API access via its PWA framework.  These APIs meet industry standards like OAUTH and REST, but they are mostly hard coded and do not offer versioning.

Salesforce, in contrast, actually designs its APIs first, then builds a user experience on top of them. That gives developers and third-party software vendors access to data that even the Salesforce UI itself doesn’t use, which opens up a host of possibilities.

Unfortunately, Salesforce does not make pre-configured API connections available for 3rd party apps like ERP systems, inventory systems, etc. However, the API documentation is excellent and most APIs meet REST standards.

Ultimately, the API-first strategy that Salesforce takes sets it apart. Users who want to make significant customizations, especially to the back end, will be able to access any data they could possibly need. Adobe offers fewer APIs for back-office functionality, which limits the possible customizations.

Cloud Native: significant differences between Salesforce and Adobe Commerce (Magento)

The Cloud Nativity score tells us if the software’s design takes full advantage of cloud architecture. Potential advantages of cloud nativity include elasticity and seamless updates.

In the Cloud Nativity category, Salesforce scored a significantly higher 7 compared with Adobe Commerce’s respectable 5.6.

Salesforce is a cloud-native SaaS that is designed to take full advantage of cloud architecture. It uses a multi-tenant architecture hosted in AWS and features on-demand self-service, resource pooling, and seamless updates. Updates are delivered automatically several times a year, with only minutes of downtime.

In contrast, Adobe Commerce Cloud is hosted in the cloud but not designed for the cloud. That means that customers miss out on many of the benefits of cloud architecture. For example, Commerce Cloud customers must carry out their own updates, which can be time-consuming. Adobe does, however, offer on-demand self-service and resource pooling.

Scalability is an area where both platforms could improve. Due to its monolithic build,  Salesforce likely has less elasticity than software built on microservices. Microservices could be scaled up and down individually; with a monolithic build the whole software has to be scaled. Adobe Commerce Cloud does not offer auto-scaling at all.

Salesforce and Adobe Commerce (Magento) have slight differences in 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.

Salesforce received a score of 3.9 for Modularity, while Adobe Commerce (Magento) scored a slightly lower 3.3 points.

Both Salesforce and Magento (Adobe) were originally built using a monolithic architecture. Salesforce has added some microservice-based functions, but its core architecture is still monolithic. The few microservices that do exist offer helpful dashboards, but require customization and are not “out of the box.”

Adobe Commerce Cloud is fully precomposed; it does not include any microservices. Both platforms have robust marketplaces that offer additional services and functionalities, but these are not true, functionally independent microservices. Neither software makes it possible to remove unneeded core features at a code level.

Salesforce vs. Adobe (Magento): slight differences in Headless

The Headless score tells us how decoupled the front end and back end are for each platform. For this category, Salesforce received a score of 6.5, while Adobe scored 6.1.

Salesforce and Adobe are quite similar in terms of their headless capabilities. Neither solution is truly headless; the front ends are coupled to the back ends. However, they both offer extensive front-end customizations, including out-of-the-box PWA front ends. Salesforce’s PWA is powered by Mobify, while Adobe’s is powered by PWA Studio.

Salesforce earns an extra four-tenths of a point thanks to its built-in AI personalization capabilities for personalized commerce. Adobe Commerce Cloud does offer some AI-powered features, such as the recently introduced AI product recommendations, but Salesforce provides even more extensive personalization.

Salesforce and Adobe Commerce (Magento) receive the same score for Composability

The Composability score tells us how easily the software lets you build scalable and customized software solutions. In this category, Salesforce and Adobe Commerce (Magento) each earned a respectable 5.8 points.

Salesforce and Magento (Adobe Commerce) are quite similar as far as their core architecture and composability goes. Salesforce has added a few microservices, but they don’t really make the platform comoposable. Both softwares have robust app stores with a variety of themes and extra functions, but these are not functionally independent. What’s more, neither provider allows users to remove core functionalities at the code level. Salesforce and Adobe are both solid e-commerce solutions, but can’t truly be seen as composable.

Salesforce vs. Adobe: who is the winner?

Overall, Salesforce scores higher than Adobe Commerce (Magento) in our CA Score rating system. In four out of five categories, Salesforce received higher scores than Adobe, while the two platforms received identical scores for the fifth category. With its seamless updates, Salesforce takes full advantage of cloud architecture, while Adobe Commerce (Magento) users must manage their own updates. Although neither solution is fully headless, Salesforce offers superior API coverage and slightly better front-end customization. Businesses currently working with the Adobe Experience Cloud may find that Adobe Commerce integrates more easily into their workflow, but overall Salesforce provides a more composable and agile experience.

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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