Enterprise eCommerce Comparison: Choosing Between Demandware and Magento

Yet another on-going discussion in the eCommerce industry with no black and white answer: which is the better enterprise eCommerce platform. With the growing demand for a more innovative and improved platform, top key players in the industry always update, release new add-on upgrades and extensions, add more features and functions, and provide a support system wherein developments from both the inside and from third-parties can flourish. Enterprise-eCommerce-solutions providers always keep their competitive edge in check.

This is the current competitive playing field – fast and always changing – for enterprise eCommerce providers. For the merchants and business owners who need eCommerce solutions, this competition is always an indication of progress. This however, comes with a slight downside. It makes choosing a bit more difficult – what enterprise eCommerce platform should you choose?

In this case, is it Demandware or Magento Enterprise Edition? Which enterprise eCommerce platform offers more benefits, but with fewer downsides?

It is no doubt that these two eCommerce platforms are both well-established providers. Each of these platforms, however, attract different types of merchants. To help you come up with a better and informed decision, let’s take a closer look.

Hosting Comparison

One of the very first considerations when choosing an eCommerce solutions provider is the type of hosting that you want for your eCommerce website. Hosting accompanies a certain degree of technical responsibility. Others want to have a self-hosted website so they can take full control at the expense of additional costs and additional technical maintenance. Still, there are some who would prefer their eCommerce websites to be hosted in the cloud – less headache for technical maintenance at the expense of having limited back-end customizations.

Magento and Demandware are two different platforms for this hosting comparison.

Magento offers an open source platform that allows owners to take full responsibility of the website-hosting process, while Demandware offers cloud-hosting services.

Your decision on this comparison would depend on what you need and how you need this type of service. Take note that while Demandware offers fully hosted websites, it also has some disadvantages. This is also true for Magento.

Let’s examine the two.

Cloud hosting service for Demandware is on an approval basis. What does this mean for your eCommerce business? If you want to scale up your enterprise eCommerce website and add more customizations for both your back-end and front-end systems, you will need to request an approval first before you can implement any changes to your website. This process ensures that Demandware can support all approved major changes to your websites and allocates necessary loads for the servers so that the uptime for each existing website can be maintained at an optimum level.

But if you want more flexibility and control, regardless of cost and technical maintenance, an open source Magento platform is your best option. Your team of developers and designers can have full access to the entire architecture of your eCommerce website, that is, for both back-end and front-end systems. Because of this, you need round-the-clock monitoring to ensure that your website has a very high uptime level, making it possible for your customers to access your website without any downtimes. For this reason, Magento has also built a partnerships and strong relationships with third-party hosting providers, offering your technical team more support and any form of assistance relating to hosting services.

Thus, if you frequently implement changes or any form customizations for your website, Magento would be your top contender for this very reason. But, there are other factors, of course, that you should take a look, which are discussed in the next comparisons.

Pricing Cost Comparison

  • Licensing:

Magento covers a cheaper cost of licensing, starting at $18,000 per year for a single server. However, with the release of its new update – Magento 2.0 – Gross Merchandizing Volume is now charging a tiered percentage for its merchants. These charges are estimated at 0.3% – 3.2%.

Demandware also offers an annual subscription, and reportedly costs at a higher price compared to Magento – an average of $700k per year. Demandware implements a shared-success model to its clients, charging them 1%-3% of the total monthly sales.

  • Implementation:

Implementation of each platform varies widely depending on what features and functions are integrated and what technical customizations are put in place. For purposes of comparison, this is the average cost of all potential expenses during implementation, including total cost of ownership.

Magento – average of $325,000.

Demandware – average of $400,000.

  • Recurring Expenses

This is the annual total expenses that include the following:

  • Hosting
  • Professional services
  • In-house IT staff labor expenses

This however, is dependent on the eCommerce store’s complexity – how often it implements updates, upgrades, and other additional enhancements to both the back-end and storefront systems.

Magento-run website stores usually covers $35,000 for hosting services, $175,000 for professional services, and $160,000 for in-house IT labor expenses.

Demandware recurring expenses start at $250,000 to as high as $600,000.

Platform’s Ecosystem Comparison


Recent data from Magento reports that the platform is currently servicing an estimated of 3,100 paying enterprise-level merchants. Magento Connect, the platform’s marketplace for add-on upgrades and extensions, currently offers 8,400 extensions both from Magento and from third-party providers.

Some of Magento’s Enterprise Clients:

  • Nike
  • Zumiez Inc.
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • Bjorn Borg
  • Fraport
  • Burger King
  • Venroy
  • Kurt Geiger
  • International Military Antiques
  • Health Ceramics
  • Byredo
  • SOL Lingerie


Demandware has over 1,590 enterprise eCommerce stores, operated by the platform’s 349 merchant clients. Additionally, Demandware includes 52 enterprise clients from the Internet Retailer Top 500.

Demandware was actually acquired by Salesforce in June, 2016. News of potential integration of Salesforce’s platform opens up new opportunities to improve customer experience.

Some of Demandware’s Enterprise Clients:

  • Adidas
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Cole Haan
  • Deckers Brands
  • Fila
  • Godiva
  • GoPro
  • L’Oreal
  • Crocs
  • Converse
  • Callaway
  • Bossini
  • Cortefiel

Partners and Networks Comparison

Magento thrives in a community of more than 70,000 developers spread across the globe, bringing together years of enhancements and other improvements to the platform. This includes coming up with new integrations and extensions for the growing number of Magento users.

Demandware on the other hand, has a unique network of partners under its LINK Marketplace. Demandware’s LINK offers a huge collection of extensions and integrations to improve existing basic and core functions of the platforms. These improvements are serviced by LINK’s 275 unique partners.

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