Magento vs Episerver for B2B Digital Commerce: Revisited

For B2B business, digital commerce represents a key sales pathway, one which is supported by having a capable digital commerce platform. For those looking for a new platform, Magento is likely to be on the list. I have been creating digital commerce sites for the last 20 years, with a focus on the B2B space. I know from experience that B2B companies often overlook important criteria when selecting their digital commerce software.

Nearly nine in ten (84 percent) of B2B decision-makers in Episerver’s 2019 B2B Digital Experiences Report say increasing digital expectations from their customers or partners is their top external threat.  Online ordering is a critical tool, but by itself, is not enough.  Vendors like Amazon and Grainger are masters of the online shopping experience ongoing investments much larger than yours. Your path to growth in the age of Amazon is based on focusing your digital experience on the intersection of your subject matter expertise and your customer’s pain points to create your unique digital focus.

For you to grow against much larger online competitors, you need to select a software platform that enables you to demonstrate that you understand your customer, their pain points, and your products and services.

Differentiating Through Content and Digital Tools

To demonstrate your expertise, you will create content and self-service tools that will be more valuable to buyers than the larger digital giants.  Episerver is a stronger fit for content and unique digital tools.  Magento is an eCommerce platform.  While Magento has some content management capabilities, they are limited.  (Magento acquired Bluefoot to help address their content management gap, but lacks several capabilities including content versioning and content staging.)

Episerver was started as a content management company and offers a common software framework that drives both the content and commerce tools.  Episerver offers rich content management capabilities alongside a powerful commerce engine with less complexity and greater capabilities than Adobe Experience Manager and Magento, combined.

Data-Driven Personalization

Episerver offers a suite of personalization tools that enable you to drive more revenue through a more valuable experience for your end-user with product recommendations, dynamic content areas that show information that is tailored to a specific audience (visitor groups), personalized search results, personalized triggered emails, marketing automation and a customer data platform (Profile Store).  These tools al leverage a unified data model that enables you to realize value from Episerver faster. You can add 3rd party data from your CRM and ERP to the Profile Store and then filter by a variety of attributes to create segments to use for your marketing.

To achieve similar levels of capabilities with Magento you will be adding on several tools, and dealing with the management, cost, and complexity of maintaining those different solutions.

Innovation

One of the main reasons I love Episerver is its low total cost of ownership.  While a Magento site typically will take months to upgrade, your Episerver site can be on the latest version in a single business day.  That represents cost and time savings that you can invest in innovating and responding to customer feedback to try out a new feature for your customers.  It also means that you can more quickly leverage new capabilities that Episerver is releasing.

B2B Capabilities

Magento and Episerver both have solid B2B customer bases and have the features and functionality to support those customers.  Magento has some missing capabilities that can be accomplished with customizations, but customizations cost money to build initially and money and time to maintain.  On this list are: workflow, support for different buyer roles, customizing content based on customer role.  Episerver has a built-in workflow framework, can customize displayed content based on customer role, and different buyer roles is an extension of core capabilities and supported by Brilliance’s Catalyst for Episerver

Comparing Apples to Apples

Another advantage of Episerver is that the Episerver Digital Experience Platform includes many services that you would require you to license additional 3rd party products with Magento.  Examples include search, marketing automation, product recommendations, content management, content recommendations, A/B testing and more.  When you dig into the details, the capabilities offered by Episerver’s suite of tools are a better match for B2B.  Episerver’s search (called Episerver Find) enables you to search across different content types - articles, blogs, products, data sheets (including Word docs and PDFs).  Episerver’s cloud hosting service supports auto-scaling and Magento’s does not.

What About Adobe Commerce Cloud?

Adobe sees their gap and as such, they are now bundling Magento Commerce, Adobe Experience Manager (Content Management), Adobe Target (personalization and A/B testing), and Adobe Analytics.  They are targeting this at larger enterprises, many of whom are already Adobe clients and where they would be inserting Magento into their Adobe implementation.  Implementing Adobe Experience Manager and Magento have two different technical foundations and as such, Episerver provides a more streamlined solution that will be simpler to maintain.  In addition, Episerver has a longer track record for implementing complex B2B use cases in their combined content and commerce solution.

Episerver is a Better Fit for B2B Digital Commerce

To position your business to compete well against your larger digital competitors, I would recommend that you look at Episerver.  It’s capabilities enable you to demonstrate your unique value through content, self-service tools, personalization, and ongoing innovation to better meet their needs.  My experience is that developers love the technical architecture.  Marketers love its ease of use and marketing capabilities. Business users love the low total cost of ownership.  If you would like to learn more about Episerver or see a demo, we would love to talk.

Lori McDonald

President & CEO

About

Lori McDonald

Lori graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer-Electrical Engineering and leads Brilliance Business Solutions with over 20 years of computer engineering and software development experience.  She is an Episerver EMVP, a Microsoft Certified Professional and a regular contributor on Practical eCommerce. Her status as a recognized industry expert has resulted in regular speaking engagements at business conferences.

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