online shopping

The right platform for the best online shopping experience

6 May 2020


Buying behavior is constantly evolving. Online sales are experiencing unprecedented surges, and so is global competition. Experiences of other consumers encourage consumers’ buying impulses, or in a worst-case scenario they can cripple them. This behavior is fed by the digital world in which it takes place. Companies need to keep moving. Great experiences don’t just happen: we have to create them. This is where platforms can help us. Which Digital Commerce solutions for building the optimal customer experience are the right choice for you? We have compared two popular platforms.

Integrate a platform for a bright future

In the age of digitization, companies are forced to reinvent themselves. Where is optimization needed? How do you optimize best to keep up with the competition? Are you implementing enough strong ideas in the day-to-day business to connect the future with today's reality? In short, is your digital flow up to scratch? A holistic view and clear strategy are needed for dealing with this. Choosing the right digital platform for your organization is a critical element of your preparations for future innovation.

In order to meet the challenges ahead concerning customer experience, a thorough review of the underlying technological platforms is often required. Depending on the investment capacity and expected ROI, one option is to replace the existing system with a brand new platform by one of the leading platform providers such as SAP, Microsoft or Salesforce. These generally offer extensive ecosystems with integrated tooling covering a wide range of processes that are usually customized to get the most out of the data. Another option involves a more gradual approach. In that case, you choose a platform that focuses on the part of the IT that generates the most value. The wide range of options does not make the choice any easier. Here we list a number of criteria and compare two popular platforms.

The right fit for you: Liferay Commerce vs. Magento

Liferay Commerce is a plug-in for Liferay DXP, an open-source, Java-based platform that recently celebrated its 15th anniversary in the Enterprise market. The plug-in can be used for both B2B and B2C markets. It is a hub where different channels come together: it is central to the organization. More specifically, you can compare it to an advanced, interactive product catalog. The link with an ERP system makes it possible to integrate certain product master data, such as quantities and price information. Sales people can place orders for their respective customers. It is also possible to create a wish list for each customer with products that they tend to purchase.

Unique to Liferay's product portfolio is the fact that they have designed and developed everything in-house, without any acquisition. This ensures seamless integration between both products. Liferay DXP and Liferay Commerce are freely available as the Community Edition.

Magento Open Source is an open-source B2B/B2C commerce platform based on PHP. It was first marketed around 2008. Magento has always been freely available, which explains its popularity. Today, it is one of the most widely used B2C solutions on the market. In 2018, Magento was acquired by Adobe because it was still missing a Commerce solution in its Experience Cloud portfolio. Although Magento offers some basic functionalities for Web Content Management, it is important to note that Magento is not a complete DXP platform. If you also need DXP-like functionality, you have to use Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) as well.


License fee

Both companies apply very different licensing strategies. Liferay is very transparent about its price, whereas Adobe's pricing depends heavily on the licensee's annual online revenues. For example, if your online turnover is less than 1 million, it charges a lower fee than if your turnover is 5 million.

As Liferay Commerce is a plug-in for Liferay DXP, two separate licenses are required. The Liferay OEM license model could prove to be a lower-cost solution depending on your specific requirements. In order to use Magento in a B2B context, you need the B2B plug-in that is part of the Enterprise Edition licensing model.

Expansion opportunities

Both solutions can easily be expanded with additional functionality based on the concept of third-party custom plug-ins. They both offer a marketplace where people and companies can share and sell platform extensions. No extensions are currently available (yet) for Liferay Commerce, mainly because of the function-rich core. Thousands of plug-ins are available for Magento, and these vary in quality and price. Some plug-ins are needed to take Magento up to the feature level of Liferay Commerce. This dependence on plug-ins also carries a risk, as there is no guarantee of support. For example, a plug-in may lag behind the platform's own evolution or may (temporarily) not support a higher version, which can significantly slow down or paralyze an upgrade path.


There is a considerable difference in terms of hosting, because Java hosting is usually more expensive than a PHP hosting package. Both solutions can be hosted on-premise, in the cloud or with a dedicated solution provider. It is important to check several factors, such as the technical requirements for both products and the hardware limitations of the license. Always make sure you compare like for like. It is not easy to design and dimension a cloud architecture (such as Azure or AWS), but there are expert that can help with this.

Both providers also offer a PaaS solution that allows you to outsource the hosting and focus fully on what's really important. Adobe Commerce Cloud is Adobe's PaaS solution that combines the flexibility of Magento with the Adobe Experience Cloud tools. Liferay DXP Cloud is Liferay's PaaS solution that manages the infrastructure for you.


Stressed out by all these choices? We get it.

Comparing products is always difficult, as there are so many parameters to consider. Everything depends on your own situation, preferences and requirements.

As a provider-independent technology partner, we can help you select the commerce platform that best suits your needs. We can help you explore your requirements, and we can handle the implementation for you too to create the optimal digital experience for your customers.

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