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The ecommerce platform for global brands.

Salesforce CC vs Magento vs Centra: A side‑by‑side comparison

Ecommerce has evolved. Gone are the days when a single platform could be good for everything. Modern original brands need agility, design freedom and scale to grow and reach their customers internationally. 


The evolution of commerce platforms

Past
Legacy platforms
Magento
redEcommerce business logic coupled with CMS and frontend website
redBusiness logic and website customized by integrating directly with the platform’s source code
redDifficult to upgrade due to version and vendor lock-in. Significant cost to keep an installation running
Present
Monolithic SaaS platforms
Shopify Plus
yellowEcommerce business logic coupled with CMS and frontend on limited APIs
yellowLimited possibilities to extend the built-in business logic and functionality through apps
yellowLimited flexibility prevents rapid online business development and makes it hard to meet enterprise needs
Future
Composable SaaS platforms
greenPresentation layer fully decoupled from the ecommerce engine
greenOpen architecture, with data accessible through well-defined APIs
greenAPI “technical contract” between platform and implementation enables rapid low-cost development

Running a fashion brand? Pick the right tool for the trade!

If you’re doing fashion and lifestyle on a monolithic ecommerce platform, you’re very likely limiting the growth potential of your brand. Today’s leading monolithic SaaS platforms don’t support the business logic and complexity of modern lifestyle commerce. They may be good for everything, but they fail to meet the needs of modern, dynamic fashion brands.

At a glance

While there are many ecommerce platforms on the market, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Magento are often mentioned as the top ones. However, when you look at how both platforms were built, which industries they serve best, and how they support growth, their shortcomings start to emerge – especially in how they solve the challenges of modern, global fashion ecommerce.

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Built for...
  • Magento is a generic retailer-focused ecommerce product. Industry-specific adaptation needs to be added through customization, driving cost and complexity.
  • Built for retailers. Generic retailer-focused ecommerce product. Industry-specific adaptation needs to be added through customization, driving cost and complexity
  • Built for both established or aspiring brands that need a platform to strengthen their imprint.
Powerful vs. ease of use
  • Powerful but complex. Requires specific Magento programming skills to customize and maintain. Most programmers have difficulty learning Magento.
  • Powerful but complex. Requires specific programming skills to customize and maintain. Salesforce is known for its complexity. It has a difficult admin UI. Someone experienced is needed to administer and maintain the platform.
  • Built to be powerful.
  • Centra’s ambition is to empower brands with every tool they need to serve the world from one powerful platform.
Wholesale vs. direct-to-
consumer
  • B2C only platform – Magento B2B is only B2C-style ecommerce for business customers, not wholesale.
  • B2B and B2C ecommerce for business customers and wholesale
  • Wholesale and direct-to-consumer
  • With Centra, you can handle all channels from one platform — both Wholesale B2B and Direct-to-Consumer B2C.
Single vs. multi-market
  • Multiple markets
  • Multiple markets
  • Multiple markets
  • Centra is one system to rule them all – markets, currencies, languages, and price.
  • Serve all markets from one system.
Custom design/dev vs. closed templates
  • Integrated solution.
  • Legacy platform that combines backend architecture with ecommerce, CMS and front end in a monolith, leading to cumbersome and slow development.
  • Integrated solution.
  • Legacy, tightly coupled, architecture with ecommerce, CMS and frontend
  • in a monolith, leading to slow development pace
  • “Headless” design system
  • Build your site with complete freedom of design. Use any CMS. Frontend fully separated from backend, enables agile development and choice of technology.
Payment options
  • Multiple payment options available.
  • Multiple payment options available
  • Flexible payment options
  • Centra offers 200+ leading payment methods through multiple PSPs, empowering brands to sell globally.
Hosting
  • Self-hosted product
  • Hosting is integrated. A hosting provider needs to be contracted separately from the platform and typically does not give an end-to-end availability guarantee.
  • Self-hosted product
  • Hosting is integrated. A hosting provider needs to be contracted separately from the platform and typically does not give an end-to-end availability guarantee.
  • Hassle-free SaaS solution
  • Centra always works. Operated in the cloud by Centra, with 99.9% availability guarantee 24/7/365 covering sales periods such as Black Friday.
Automatic updates vs versions
  • Versioned software
  • Software needs to be manually updated to the latest version, driving
  • cost, risk and creating plug-in compatibility issues.
  • Versioned software
  • Software needs to be manually updated to the latest version, driving cost, risk and creating plug-in compatibility issues
  • Always up-to-date
  • Centra is always running on the best and latest version with automatic updates fortnightly
Licensing fees
  • High total cost of ownership Fees for licenses, customization, hosting, updates and upgrades come on top of website development, creating a high and difficult to forecast total cost of ownership.
  • The high total cost of ownership fees for licenses, customization, hosting, updates and upgrades come on top of website development, creating a high and difficult to forecast total cost of ownership.
  • Cost-efficient modern solution
  • Centra’s license fee covers everything needed, including support. The only cost on top is the design and development of a custom-built, on-brand website.

The 12 challenges of fashion commerce

To scale fast and grow internationally, dynamic fashion brands need a solution that enables it without imposing limitations in terms of design and development. These challenges include scalability, complexity, design freedom, internationalization, and suitability for selling fashion and lifestyle products.

Let’s look at how popular platforms solve these challenges, and how they stack up against Centra’s headless, fashion-centric approach to fashion ecommerce.

Challenge #1

Ease of use and development

Modern brands need a platform that’s easy to launch and maintain, without the need for developers constantly babysitting the platform to make sure it works properly as the brand grows. Let’s have a look at how Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Magento and Centra compare in terms of ease of use and development agility.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra offers a clean, easy-to-use backend that is constantly developed and improved. The powerful admin interface is developed by a dedicated team of UI/UX experts to make the daily work of managing a brand as easy as possible while keeping up to date with changing conditions.

The guiding principle in Centra’s user interface design is to enable power users to do as much as possible, as fast as possible. Throughout the interface, this design principle becomes visible

Challenge #2

Design freedom and flexibility

In terms of website design, the fashion industry has unique needs. Ambitious brands need the design freedom to build brand-authentic, pixel-perfect sites – without compromises or design limitations.

Design freedom means empowering editors with a full-scale modular CMS mixing content marketing and shop capabilities. Most popular ecommerce platforms don’t enable full freedom, limiting brands’ growth and flexibility.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra’s API-first approach caters to the needs of ambitious fashion brands. Many of Centra’s clients choose to work with a headless CMS as part of their front-end stack for a perfect mix of content marketing and advanced shop functionalities. The platform’s API coverage allows brands to elevate their front-end experiences without worrying about the restrictions commonly associated with popular monolithic ecommerce platforms. 

Centra’s API-first approach caters to the needs of ambitious fashion brands. Many of Centra’s clients choose to work with a headless CMS as part of their front-end stack for a perfect mix of content marketing and advanced shop functionalities. The platform’s API coverage allows brands to elevate their front-end experiences without having to worry about the restrictions commonly associated with popular monolithic ecommerce platforms. 


Challenge #2

Multi‑store and internationalization

Offering a localized website and local payment methods can often increase conversion rates by over 10%. The best local shipping options can often add another 10% to that figure. 

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra’s native multi-store architecture allows for full management of core data locally and globally across different stores, supporting brands with global reach or aspirations to enter new markets. 

Centra allows admin users to manage product management at a store level, a language level, or globally. Descriptions can be different for stores based on languages, while the same images can be used globally. The same principle applies across things like category management, promotions, customer management, etc.

Challenge #3

Wholesale & B2B capabilities

Wholesale experience is a new competitive frontier for fashion brands. Shopify offers a product called wholesale, but it comes with fewer features than the B2B ordering apps that have been around for the past 10 years. If you want to move ahead with a wholesale strategy, it is clear you’ve outgrown Shopify. It will take weeks of development to make Shopify work as a wholesale website with the features you need.

Why brands migrate to Centra

With Centra, you also gain a fully digital wholesale platform out of the box to help your brand stand out from the competition. The built-in B2B portal for buyers, sales reps and agents, supports the full wholesale business logic for preorders and at-once orders.

Challenge #4

Native features vs plugins

Plugins and extensions offer a convenient way of expanding the functionality of your ecommerce platform, but native integrations are cheaper in the long run.

If you do not have a dedicated developer, be prepared to pay extra to hire developers working on your site 24/7. If you only need a simple site, this won't apply to you, but then you also have no reason to use Magento when simpler, more stable products are available.

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Features for fashion⛔ Through apps/extensions and native integrations (limited) ⛔ Through apps/extensions ✅ Native

There are four big problems with the app-based approach to achieving the basic functionality that all fashion brands need: 

  1. Apps or plugins are not equal to native functionality.

    There are things that simply can’t be achieved by apps, as they can’t access specific data. Business logic that needs to be interconnected is turned into silos – the app needed for managing the product catalog doesn’t speak to the app used to manage inventory. 

    With Centra, fashion brands get a highly integrated feature set that covers all core needs, out of the box. 

  2. Apps raise security and stability concerns

    Each app is basically another website inside the Shopify admin, which means you depend on many third-party developers to keep their sites up and running well, and keep the data secure.

  3. Apps cost extra

    Monolithic platforms might look cheap to start with, but with all the apps, payment transaction fees, FX markups, and costs per storefront, the cost can go very high.

  4. Apps lead to a cumbersome user interface

    Because the apps are siloed, non-native extensions, they are managed from different parts of the user interface. Simple processes that are achieved with a few simple clicks in Centra need multiple steps in multiple apps with Shopify.

Monolithic platforms like Shopify or Salesforce Commerce Cloud direct you to apps in their marketplace even when it should be something natively offered by the platform. 

Why brand migrate to Centra

Launching on Centra, original fashion brands get all the features they need, integrated in a tight package.

Challenge #5

Performance, scalability and stability impact on SEO and conversion

A faster store means better SEO and more sales – it's common knowledge today. Because most SEO is happening on the front end, ambitious ecommerce stores need a decoupled architecture to gain fuller control of the SEO aspects of the website. 

Also, most sales in fashion commerce happen on mobile devices, which makes mobile SEO and performance super important for brands.

Why brands migrate to Centra

If your store runs slow, it is a telling sign to upgrade your setup to Centra – a future-proof headless platform built for speed and growth. 

Challenge #6

Support

We’ll make sure you get up to speed quickly, and our support hotline is always available to answer any questions.

Centra’s support is first in class, known for its reliability and availability.

Challenge #7

Monolithic architecture instead of composable architecture

Website speed impacts the entire digital strategy, from visibility (SEO and SEM), through traffic, the user experience, and ultimately conversions and revenue. This directly results from Google’s growing focus on speed. Stores running on bloated monolithic commerce platforms with customized themes and lots of extensions lack the speed you need to rank high in SERP. 

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Fully headless, composable and API-first architecture🟡🟡

You can build a headless store on top of a monolithic commerce platform but you’ll miss out on the tooling that made you choose the platform in the first place. At the same time, you will also lose most of the benefits generally associated with headless like the low price and minimal developer support. You will basically end up paying as much or more than a true headless ecommerce setup – while not getting all the benefits. 


Why brands migrate to Centra

Fully headless, composable and API-first architecture offers some performance and growth benefits that are impossible to achieve with a monolithic platform like Shopify Plus or Magento.

Challenge #8

Cost of ownership

The total cost of development and maintenance, as well as hosting and other fees like payment processing, may exceed the initially projected cost of launching on a legacy monolithic or generic headless platform.

Why brands migrate to Centra

With many features offered out of the box, Centra significantly reduces the long-term cost of maintaining the platform and ensuring its good performance in peak sale periods. Since there are no hidden costs and no third-party integrations needed, Centra is the most affordable e-commerce platform of the three.

Challenge #9

Analytics and reporting

Commerce needs reports to give you the means to review your store's recent activity, get insight into your visitors, analyze your online store speed, and analyze your store's transactions.

Centra is your complete digital control room, giving you analytics and reporting modules for a detailed overview of your business performance.

Challenge #10

Bundling, promotions and upselling features

Centra has impressive features supporting trading and marketing activity.

Challenge #11

Suitability for fashion and lifestyle products

Most popular monolithic platforms don’t support the business logic and complexity of fashion lifestyle commerce. They are good if you want to launch fast without paying much but then hold back your growth by not offering core, fashion-specific functionalities.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra is built for original fashion and lifestyle brands and supports complex lifestyle products. Centra makes handling styles, colors, and sizes, different product displays, collections and drops easy. 

Supported by Centra, fashion brands can focus on growing their fan base and global expansion rather than on maintaining complex technology. The features and roadmap are 100% designed for the needs of brands with global ambitions and no retailers influence the prioritization of features.

Challenge #12

Omnichannel capabilities

Brands want to sell to consumers and retailers across channels, countries and marketplaces to scale globally. Here is how the platforms compare in terms of omnichannel capabilities enabling a boost to a brand’s growth.

Why brands migrate to Centra

With Centra, you can sell through distributors, agents, resellers, marketplaces and their own direct‑to‑consumer websites – all from a single platform.

You’re in good company

International fashion brands choose Centra as the only platform that fully understands the needs and complex business logic of fashion commerce.

Join the vanguard of original brands that scale fast and expand on new markets without the limitations imposed by their legacy ecommerce platforms. Centra have a very impressive portfolio of brands using their platform, including Nudie Jeans, Sandqvist, ETON, iDeal of Sweden, Douchebags and Norse Projects – with some of these being on the platform right from the start.