Comparison of eCommerce – Sitecore vs Shopify Plus vs Optimizely

Nov 22 2022
  • Written By
    Ketan Sethi, Engagement Manager

    Ketan is a distinguished Martech and Sitecore thought leader. His expertise is not just acknowledged; it's celebrated. Sitecore has bestowed upon him the esteemed title of Sitecore MVP, solidifying his status as a true pioneer in the realms of marketing technology and Sitecore innovation. He holds over a decade of experience helping organizations across many industries drive growth through digital experiences.

    Connect with Ketan on LinkedIn

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Lessons Learned While Choosing the Right CMS: Explaining the Real Business Problem

The decision to choose one CMS over another is an important one and will have many lasting impacts on your business. Because of that, you need to be sure that your development team works with a CMS that will sustain your business' data needs now and into the future.

A question that arises from many of our potential clients is if we should build a custom eCommerce site using Sitecore, Shopify Plus, or Optimizely. While all of them have their pros and cons, it is quite difficult to choose. We all want to make sure that we are making the best decision for our business.

In this blog post, we’ll showcase the best approaches we took to evaluate the right eCommerce platform.

What’s the Best eCommerce Platform?

The three platforms are remarkably similar in some ways, but they offer unique features that can be useful in different situations. If you are not sure which platform would be best for your business, read on to find out more about each one and how they can benefit your online store.


The Sitecore eCommerce Platform is an all-in-one solution that provides everything needed to build a robust online store. It includes a storefront builder, order management system and inventory management tools - meaning that there's no need for additional third-party software or services. This makes it quite easy to get started with this platform and get straight into building your site.

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is a premium version of Shopify which offers additional functionality over the basic version of Shopify. This extra functionality includes things like increased storage space and multiple payment gateways setup right out of the box. It also includes a dedicated account manager who will be there to assist you with any issues that may arise during the life of your store. If you are looking for more features and functionality than what is offered by the basic version of Shopify, then this would be a great option for you.


Optimizely is another popular eCommerce platform that allows you to quickly set up an online store website without having to worry about coding skills or technical issues. This platform makes it easy for anyone with basic computer knowledge to create a professional eCommerce site within minutes - even if they have never done this before! The only downside is that it does not come with as many features as Shopify Plus does but it still has enough functionality to be able to compete with the other platforms on this list. If you're looking for a simple eCommerce platform that does not require any coding knowledge, then Optimizely is a great option.

Approaches Involved in the Evaluation of the Right CMS

Last year we began research to build a Composable Commerce strategy that can easily be integrated with an existing CMS (Content Management System) for one of our clients in the luxury Industry. The primary value adds that we wanted to deliver were the quickest possible time to market and to increase the overall sales impact while building a foundation for future improvements and use cases of digital commerce.

The Composable Commerce Strategy

We started by looking at the current state of commerce and what future trends and progressions mean for the business. Understanding the trends helped us identify the set of business capabilities that are necessary in today’s market. Looking at the trends helped us provide insights into building a composable strategy focused on Business capabilities.

Not all businesses are built the same way, thus we started defining the business context. Next outline the constraints and key metrics that can help us govern the Strategy. Business context combined with the future trends of digital commerce gave us a wider perspective and defined key strategic principles we wanted to work with. For example:

  • Thinking through the implementation as API and modular first and then naturally progressing towards composability.
  • Customer Experience at the center of overall purchase experience
  • Faster time-to-market

To identify the best solution, we considered three options: a Headless Commerce implementation, Payment gateway integration with a custom commerce implementation, and SaaS integration.

Product Research

Although many commerce vendors claim to support composability, is that really true? We wanted to find the answer ourselves. eCommerce as an initiative is not a one size fits all and the product fit can vary from business to business. Following are the major core components that were considered for research:

  • Products
  • Orders
  • Customers
  • Marketing
  • Search
  • Multi-currency
  • Multi-channel
  • Multi-lingual


In order to identify the best of breed solutions, we shortlisted the following platforms, namely Sitecore OrderCloud, Shopify Plus, and Optimizely.

Built as a cloud-based, API-first, headless ecommerce platform, Sitecore OrderCloud® offers nearly limitless customizations and endless freedom for growth. Wherever your business needs to go tomorrow, you will be ready to lead the way.

Shopify Plus is a multitenant SaaS platform for small to midsize businesses, predominantly for B2C.

Optimizely Commerce Cloud for B2C is a hybrid PaaS/SaaS solution, and Optimizely Commerce Cloud for B2B is single-tenant SaaS.

The platforms were evaluated based on the following parameters:

  • core components of e-commerce and features within
  • core competencies of each platform
  • The strategic principles and architecture strategies were also considered during evaluation of e-commerce platform.

Top 4 Insights We Got While Identifying the Best Ecommerce Platform

There exists a platform for every organization, the right strategic fit and use case definition can help identify the best product-based solution.

This exercise helped us identify the approach as well as the necessary product that we can utilize while maintaining the key strategy. Below are the key insights that can be helpful in identifying the best product and strategy fit.

Insight 1:

For an existing website, where we need to add digital commerce capabilities, we need to start with an Experience Led strategy with a product that fits well for the business. If time to market is of prime importance, select a SaaS product such as Shopify Plus or Optimizely Commerce Cloud. If flexibility is required, then choose a flexible platform such as Sitecore Order Cloud.

Insight 2:

If multiple channels exist where brands and products compete for customers, then Shopify Plus is the best option for you. It's all about the scalability, flexibility and reliability of our platform. Shopify Plus offers a large range of app integrations, making it a good choice for merchants who want to quickly increase their reach by listing products on various platforms and social media.

Insight 3:

In case your business needs to support both B2B and B2C scenarios, start with Sitecore Order Cloud. Being B2B first, it can support a wide variety of scenarios.

Any of the implementation approaches can be suitable and can fit well with the product. Selection of implementation should be done according to current infrastructure and anticipated future needs.

Insight 4:

Supporting customizations can help ensure that your business will be able to support future needs. One of the biggest benefits of going API first is that it allows you to choose a modular strategy. Choose a modular strategy. Being API first has immense potential to shape the solution based on business needs in the future.

The Takeaway

Shopify Plus is a powerful solution for growing eCommerce businesses. Consider it if you need advanced features, more storage, and more bandwidth. Sitecore Commerce uses the power of Sitecore's content management system to deliver an excellent customer experience at a fraction of the cost of Shopify Plus.

The only real downside to Sitecore's eCommerce solution is the lack of outside integrations available. Shopify Extensibility and Commerce Integrations, on the other hand, have heaps of solutions for connecting your eCommerce solutions with other applications.

As a growing eCommerce business, you need to be able to scale as your business grows. With a focus on eCommerce performance, Icreon helps retailers grow their businesses.Icreon’s Sitecore experience offers an end-to-end solution for your eCommerce needs, from design and development to ongoing upgrade & support. Our services are designed to help you create an online presence that reflects your brand identity and vision. Discover how Icreon can help improve your Ecommerce journey.