When we simply look at a side by side comparison of a service offering from Elastic Path vs Commercetools, they both offer similar commerce SaaS. However, the details of each of these services are crucial to understanding the best solution for your business. Elastic Path will help you evaluate the Commercetools architecture, API and other differences between the two companies to help you achieve your unique business goals. This analysis does not cover a comparison of commerce features, because the importance of each feature will depend on customer business requirements and will differ from commerce initiative to commerce initiative.
Both Elastic Path and Commercetools provide headless, microservices-based SaaS commerce service suitable for enterprises of different sizes serving virtually any vertical. Commercetools provides a platform with organizations that value out-of-the-box commerce capabilities more than the ability to customize the solution according to their business needs quickly. Elastic Path is suitable for organizations that put technical agility above all, to be able to bring unique experiences and new business models to market as quickly as possible.
Elastic Path delivers superior technical agility with a unique combination of core commerce capabilities and holistic developer experience:
- Clean, simple system and API design which provides a fast learning curve for developers allowing them to deploy and extend commerce service rapidly to accommodate new business requirements.
- A powerful extensibility framework allows developers to quickly enhance platform capabilities, adapt front-end experiences, and configure standard commerce capabilities.
- Comprehensive education program following industry best practices on delivery, format, and process to provide developers with all the necessary knowledge in the most efficient way.
- A solid ecosystem of partners backed up by a partner engagement program to ensure that highly experienced delivery resources are available to support your commerce initiatives for you at all times.
- Governance & continuous improvement across product, education, support, and operations to ensure future-proof and consistent delivery of commerce service.
With Elastic Path Commerce Cloud your organization will be able to deliver unique commerce experiences at unprecedented speeds.
Architecture is an important aspect of a commerce service as it impacts many aspects including flexibility, scalability, and how future proof the platform is. In general, it is important that the architecture follows modern principles and best practices.
Both Commercetools and Elastic Path Commerce Cloud provide a SaaS, headless, microservices-based, and multitenant commerce service. While the system architecture of these solutions will differ it is hidden from customers due to the SaaS nature of the product – the customer is not expected to get access to product code and make changes to the microservices provided by the vendor.
If the out-of-the-box features available in a commerce platform does not meet the business requirements, the platform will need to be extended/customized. Extensibility defines how easy it is to customize commerce service to accommodate new experiences, commerce capabilities, and use-cases. Better extensibility means that it takes less time and money to deliver new unique experiences.
Commercetools and Elastic Path Commerce Cloud provide similar levels of extensibility. Both services allow you to extend the data model to add fields to existing resources and add new CRUD resources. Capabilities to attach custom code to outside the platform, and enable integrations via observable events (webhooks) are also similar. Despite similar extensibility capabilities provided by both commerce services, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud extensions re more cleanly designed which helps developers to get up to speed faster allowing for accelerated time-to-market for new capabilities.
Most of the interaction between a headless commerce service and the outside world represented by channel applications is done via north-bound APIs. This is why APIs are a crucial part of a product and vendor needs to make sure that they are easy for developers to learn and use, can fetch data efficiently and can be rapidly extended in case of need.
Commercetools has very granular APIs, which are reflected by their extensive Postman collection, which contains 731 request examples. Also, Commercetools API is based on CQRS at its core, as an example: there’s a separate update action with a unique name for each field in a resource. This means that a developer needs to spend a significant amount of time learning all the actions which can be done in order to implement a commerce use-case. The API does not adhere to REST in some aspects; for example, there is no PUT method. To address those challenges, Commeretools has a native GraphQL implementation that allows to address these challenges and provides benefits, including introspection and API network performance. As a summary, while Commercetools APIs definitely provide all necessary capabilities they are fairly complex which can result in a longer learning curve for developers.
Being of modern design, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud APIs were developed with a developer in mind. As a result, there are only 166 actions (Compared to Commercetools' 731) for a developer to learn and know. Also, Elastic Path APIs are fully REST. This means that it is easier for developers to learn the API, which accelerates time-to-market for solution deployment.
|Ease of Learning|
Applications and Integrations
The number of out-of-the-box integrations determines the minimum amount of time in which customers can implement the solution if they agree to certain restrictions. In general, the larger the integration portfolio – the wider choice the customer has.
Commercetools provides a number of out-of-the-box CMS integrations supported by a Vue storefront. It looks like the previous storefront “SUNRISE Quickstore” is being phased out. They also lack out-of-the-box payment integrations.
Elastic Path Commerce Cloud provides its customers with an out-of-the-box storefront developed in-house according to best practices. While CMS integrations are in place, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud features out-of-the-box integrations with payments provides. It's also worth mentioning the Embedded Commerce solution which allows you to quickly integrate Elastic Path Commerce Cloud into any web-site within weeks and dramatically accelerates time-to-revenue.
Cloud Operations, Engineering, and Support
With a SaaS commerce solution, the vendor is responsible for the solution operation, maintenance, and support, which makes it an essential aspect.
Both Commercetools and Elastic Path Commerce Cloud provide similar capabilities and level of service with minor differences. It's worth noting that Elastic Path provides higher SLA: 99.9% vs 99.8% which translates in ~8 hours higher uptime per year.
|Continuous (CI\CD) model|
With highly-flexibly headless microservices-based commerce services, customers and partners will be responsible for the solution implementation and extension in the future. This makes the quality of education enablement an extremely important success factor for the commerce initiative.
While Commercetools has mature content and their program is available in multiple developer languages, it lacks some of the roles. For example, there is no solution architect role. Also, by mixing the concept of role vs. task, this can confuse a new learner as it becomes unclear to them which program they should be taking. Commercetools programs are designed to be delivered on-site and in-person, which makes it not a trivial task to deliver them virtually. The programs require 1-4 days of blocked for participants, which can be inconvenient and hard to accommodate. Also, the programs are one-size-fits-all without contextual (on the job) component to it. Two levels of certification available: associate Certification exam available after completion of a training program and Professional Certification exam available to experienced users to prove their level of competency.
Elastic Path has a training program with clearly defined roles (General Knowledge, Back-end Developer, Front-end Developer, Solution Architect). We have designed blended learning programs that combine different delivery methods. These programs are more effective as it enables learners flexibility when the learning occurs and time to consume the understanding of one topic before moving onto the next. Also, in Elastic Path programs, learning occurs in short bursts, which have also proven to be more efficient than prolonged sessions. While Elastic Path delivers a learner-centric experience that allows the learner to be in charge and engaged in their own learning experience.
|Virtually native program|
|Do at your own pace|
|Contextual (on-the-job) Learning|
In today’s high-speed dynamic world, it is important for a business to have flexibility in what applications and partners they use as well how quickly implementation can be done. This is determined primarily by the size of the partner ecosystem and the maturity of the marketplace.
Both Commercetools and Elastic Path marketplaces have a similar level of maturity. While Commercetools provides a bit more applications, both of them have much fewer applications compared to Magento marketplace for example. Neither of the marketplaces is transactional which means you cannot just download/ enable integrations from the marketplace itself. The level of presentation for each of the application/integration in terms of available assets is also similar. The maturity of the partner ecosystem is also similar although Commercetools has less partner-led implementations in North America which means the less relevant experience for the customers.
|Number of applications|
|Resources for all apps (videos, etc)|
Today businesses strive to differentiate by delivering unique experiences and drive business model innovation. With the variety of different verticals, business models, offerings, and customer segments, it is almost impossible for a single piece of software to deliver all necessary functionality out of the box. Addressing the unique needs of their customers requires an ecosystem of applications that together comprise a Composable Commerce solution.
Commercetools service is based on MACH architecture, but it is only a component of a Composable Commerce. It includes MACH architecture, Ecosystem and Education Enablement.