This article was last updated and validated August 2023

Shopify vs Salesforce Commerce Cloud vs Centra

Ecommerce has advanced. Design freedom and agility have become the backbone of every successful ecommerce fashion and lifestyle brand strategy.

How do brands score Centra on G2?

See how Centra compares to Shopify and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, below

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Salesforce Commerce CloudShopifyCentra
Meets requirements8.68.79.0
Ease of use8.28.99.0
Ease of setup7.38.88.5
Ease of admin7.98.99.1
Quality of support8.28.49.2
Ease of doing business with8.38.89.6
Product direction8.28.79.7

The evolution of commerce platforms

Legacy platforms
Example: Salesforce Commerce Cloud
redEcommerce business logic coupled with CMS and front-end website
redBusiness logic and website customized by integrating directly with the platform’s source code
redVersion and vendor lock-in
Monolithic SaaS platforms
Example: Shopify
yellowEcommerce business logic coupled with CMS and front end on limited APIs
yellowLimited possibilities to extend the built-in business logic and functionality through apps
yellowEasy to set up, impossible to extend outside the provided features and apps
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? Level up your game with the perfect tool of the trade!

Choosing the most suitable ecommerce platform is key to your brand’s global success. Running a fashion or lifestyle brand on a monolithic ecommerce platform is likely to limit your brand's growth. Most leading monolithic SaaS platforms can’t handle the business logic and intricacy of modern lifestyle commerce.

However, you can unlock your brand's full potential with the right technology. It's best to opt for a platform that allows you to scale fast, understands your industry's needs, and offers all the key features out of the box.

The big picture

Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Salesforce CC) and Shopify are well-known and respected platforms. Salesforce CC is an all-in-one enterprise ecommerce platform for companies with the time and resources to maximize Salesforce's potential. On the other hand, Shopify is a well-rounded platform for small-scale retailers looking to launch an online store quickly, with no tech skills required. 

However, the design, intended industry focus, and ability to support global growth of both platforms highlight their limitations, particularly in addressing the challenges faced by modern fashi.on and lifestyle brands.

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ShopifySalesforce Commerce CloudCentra
Built for...
  • For any small scale retailer that wants an easy-to-get-started webshop.
  • An industry agnostic platform built for retailers and brands operating in both digital and physical commerce.
  • Advanced retailer-focused ecommerce product. Industry-specific adaptation must be added through dedicated development, driving cost and complexity.
  • Built for established and aspiring brands in the fashion and lifestyle industry that need a flexible platform that scales easily and will help them reach their global ambitions.
Powerful vs. ease of use
  • Built to be easy to learn.
  • Shopify’s ambition is to enable aspiring online retailers to open up a simple online store with a few easy clicks.
  • Powerful but complex.
  • Comprehensive and advanced customisations options and parameters to adjust. This requires a significant setup effort to achieve and later maintain desired customized customer experience. Salesforce is known for its complexity. It has a difficult admin UI. Typically requiring significant support from third-party Salesforce experts.
  • Built flexible and globally scalable.
  • Centra is made for business users within brands, not IT pros. It has all the features any ecommerce manager needs. You'll quickly become a power user with our excellent support and onboarding.
Wholesale vs. direct-to-
  • It's hard to do wholesale with standard Shopify. The wholesale sales channel is only available to stores on Shopify Plus.
  • B2B and B2C ecommerce for business customers and wholesale.
  • You can handle all channels from one dashboard — both wholesale and direct-to-consumer.
Single vs. multi-market
  • To manage multiple markets you need Shopify Markets which means paying additional fees e.g. transaction and conversion fees. You can build up to 50 stores.
  • With Shopify Markets, you can manage basic internationalization. For custom experiences, you need a separate store, which comes with a lot of duplicate work, and some inventory issues.
  • Salesforce supports multiple markets. However, comprehensive options and many parameters are necessary to set up markets.
  • Centra enables multiple markets, multiple currencies, multiple languages and prices and size charts depending on the location. You can have multiple storefronts with advanced internalization.
  • Most robust promotion and upselling capabilities require third-apps or coding.
  • Bundles only available through extra plugins.
  • Salesforce offers a promotion engine and supports various types of products, e.g. bundled products.
  • However, it requires significant effort and time to set it up.
  • Native support for bundles, advanced promotions and discounts. High flexibility in terms of pricing, stock, discounts, inheriting of attributes etc.
  • Basic localization is possible with Shopify Markets. To achieve different experiences for each market, you'll need to create a separate store.
  • Salesforce offers translation-only localization – not possible to use different images, products, sizes, descriptions, etc.
  • With Centra, any information can be localized. You can serve any number of markets, languages, currencies, payment methods, price lists, warehouses, and users.
Payment options
  • Few fixed payment options with a focus on Shopify payments, which is tailored for North American markets. Using other PSPs costs extra.
  • Multiple payment options.
  • Centra supports over 200+ local payment methods through off-the-shelf integrations with PSPs such as Adyen, Stripe, PayPal, Klarna and Qliro.
Omnichannel capabilities
  • Shopify’s omnichannel capabilities are limited.
  • You can use online channels, such as social media, and in-store if you use POS – an app that allows brands to sell in person.
  • Managing wholesale requires a separate store.
  • Salesforce has some omnichannel capabilities. However, integrating the platform with other systems, such as CRM or ERP solutions, may require additional development effort and expertise. Order management is possible via paid add-on.
  • Centra gives brands advanced omnichannel capabilities. It’s possible to connect Centra with marketplaces and ad networks via APIs. You can integrate Centra with different company systems.
Order management
  • Shopify's order management is basic. For advanced use cases with multiple stores and inventory sync, third-party apps are required.
  • A third-party app is required for advanced order management, like delivering and fulfilling from stores, warehouses, etc.
  • Upgrades happen automatically on specific dates that are published up to a year in advance on the Salesforce Trust website.
  • Centra offers an advanced order management system. It enables order viewing, automation of many processes, supports replenishment, overselling protection, returns, and refunds.
Licensing fees
  • Monthly subscriptions start from $39/month. Any subscription requires an additional transaction-based fee. Transaction-based fee percentage depends on the chosen pricing plan.
  • Salesforce CC comes with different modules that are priced separately and with different tiers.
  • There’s no hosting fees, but high fees for all modules (DTC + B2B + Order management + Support). Salesforce CC may charge you a percentage fee of up to 3% GMV for DTC sales, up to 2% of GMV for B2B, and up to $0.5 per order for order management.
  • Centra comes at a single cost, with no transaction fees. The cost covers all necessary modules for a fashion and lifestyle brand, but you’re free to switch to your preferred providers if you wish.
  • Additional costs (not payable to Centra) would be for design and development of the on-brand website and the underlying CMS and payment solutions.

The 13 challenges of fashion commerce

Modern, dynamic fashion brands face a variety of challenges when it comes to scalability, complexity, design freedom, internationalization, and suitability for their specific products. 

They need ecommerce technology that will help them achieve their goals and expand their reach without restrictions on design or development.

Here we look at how popular platforms such as Shopify and Salesforce CC deal with these challenges, and how they compare with Centra's headless, fashion-focused approach.

The comparison does not include Shopify Plus. If you’re interested, check out our other comparisons.

Challenge #1

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Ease of use

Setting up a headless store and customizing it to your liking is a nuanced, costly and time-consuming project. Going with a platform that makes the whole process easier may initially sound like a great choice, but may negatively impact the customization and scalability going forward. 

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra continually enhances its user-friendly and intuitive back end. An expert UI/UX team designs the admin interface to simplify the day-to-day tasks of managing a brand. The user interface is designed to enhance productivity and let users access all necessary information in one place.

Challenge #2

Sopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Design freedom and flexibility

For fashion ecommerce stores, flexibility and design freedom are critical as they allow you to craft on-brand, flawless sites without compromises or limitations. However, most ecommerce platforms don’t offer that, making it hard for brands to grow.

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ShopifySalesforce Commerce CloudCentra
Fully headless, composable and API-first architecture🟡🟡

Why brands migrate to Centra

With Centra, you get a modern approach to software development: it’s API-first and composable. The platform is also compatible with MACH architecture. 

With composable architecture, brands can build platforms that fit their needs by selecting best-of-breed integrations. The store can adapt seamlessly to technological advancements and changes in customer behavior. It's a great way to make sure the store stays relevant in the future and offers great customer experience. Thanks to the composable approach, you can customize your online experience both in terms of design and features without compromising on scalability.

Fashion brands with ambitious goals love Centra's API-first approach. The headless CMS most of Centra's clients use combines content marketing and sophisticated ecommerce to create a great front-end stack. Brands can customize their storefronts with the platform’s extensive API, without having to deal with the limitations of many well-known, monolithic ecommerce platforms.

Challenge #3

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Multi‑market and localization features

Localization is key to international sales success. Depending on the region, prices that are effective in one region may not be as effective in another. Besides language, payment methods matter too. Even different climate zones can affect when certain items sell better from place to place.

In order to do so, they need the freedom to offer different payment options and localized checkouts. Traditional monolithic commerce platforms make localizing and SEO harder. With popular ecommerce platforms, brands require building a separate storefront for each market. 

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra's native multi-store architecture lets you manage core data locally and globally across stores, making it perfect for brands with global reach as well as those looking to expand internationally.

Centra lets admins manage products at store level, at language level, or globally. You can use different product descriptions for each store based on the language, and the same images everywhere. You can apply this to categories, promotions, and customer management as well.

Challenge #4

Sopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Wholesale

B2B commerce is evolving and is no longer the domain of wholesalers alone. Fashion and lifestyle brands are increasingly embracing wholesale operations to tap into new markets and drive B2B sales.

However, they need an ecommerce platform that meets the particular needs of wholesale operations and unique requirements of their niche industry.

Why brands migrate to Centra

The Centra wholesale module helps your brand have an edge over your competitors. The integrated B2B portal, designed for buyers and sales reps, supports wholesale business logic, including seasonal preorders, reorders, collections etc. 

Centra's B2B module fills the functional gap commonly encountered by brands utilizing other platforms such as Shopify. Using this module, fashion brands can handle both B2C and B2B operations in one place.

It allows personalization and full control of the customer experience.

Challenge #5

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Native features vs plugins

Although plugins and extensions make it easy to expand your ecommerce platform's functionality, native integrations are cheaper and more reliable long-term. Apps are often an extra cost, often overlooked in TCO calculations, and require additional time and maintenance to work right with your platform. Also, too many plugins can destabilize your setup. 

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ShopifySalesforce Commerce CloudCentra
Features for fashionApps/extensions bought and downloaded from Shopify App Store. Additional features available through Salesforce AppExchange Apps and other integrations developed and maintained by third-party Salesforce partners.Native

Why brands migrate to Centra

With Centra, you can take advantage of a wide range of native features, which distinguishes it from plugin-based platforms. This approach ensures excellent user experience and platform stability. You can integrate top-of-the-line services with Centra's API without redundancy or data silos.

Challenge #6

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Performance, scalability, stability, and SEO

Speed is critical to every aspect of your digital strategy, from visibility (SEO and SEM) to traffic, user experience, and conversions. The problem is that websites with many extensions and customized themes are not fast enough to rank well in search engine results pages (SERP). 

Mobile SEO and performance are particularly important for fashion brands since most sales occur on mobile devices. 

For greater control over SEO aspects of their websites, modern, ambitious brands opt for decoupled architectures.

In a recent study, Limesharp tested how fast products are added to carts in popular ecommerce platforms. While Centra showcases high performance, with an average add-to-cart time of 125ms, other platforms exhibit slower response times, as seen in the following examples: 

• Shopify - 490ms

• Salesforce Commerce Cloud - 525ms

• Adobe Commerce Cloud 915ms

• SAP Hybris - 1.7 seconds

200ms is the ideal time for Interaction to Next Paint (INP) – a new responsiveness metric that falls under Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics for evaluating the quality of a web page experience in terms of responsiveness and user engagement.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra is a modern headless ecommerce platform built for speed and scalability. 

Challenge #7

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Support

Customer support is essential in choosing the right platform. From around-the-clock guidance to a comprehensive resource library, finding reliable support can impact your store’s time-to-market, your brand's growth, revenue, and performance.

Why brands migrate to Centra 

With Centra, brands can rely on experienced, high-touch support from migration, through implementation and onboarding to post-launch optimizations.

Challenge #8

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Cost of ownership

The total cost of ownership (TCO) assesses the financial impact of an investment by considering upfront expenses along with ongoing operational and maintenance costs associated with implementing and operating an ecommerce platform for a period of three to five years.

Operating costs constitute a significant portion, typically ranging from 40% to 60%, of the TCO, which highlights the importance of considering them from the outset to keep your budget under control.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra's extensive built-in fashion-centric features let you minimize the ongoing expenses associated with platform maintenance and ensure optimal performance during peak sales periods, ultimately reducing long-term costs.

Centra offers a low cost of ownership, free from hidden expenses or the need for third-party plugins and apps.

Challenge #9

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Analytics and reporting

Brands need to monitor their business performance, making it a must to have analytics and reporting capabilities built in to their ecommerce platform. This allows brands to spot growth opportunities, optimize inventory management, improve fulfillment processes, and make informed decisions to meet customer demands effectively.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra’s intuitive dashboard gives you an instant snapshot of your sales. You can analyze your store's performance in numerous different dimensions and over any time period you want. The dashboard runs on a high-speed database, making it easy to use, fast, and accurate.

Centra offers a wide range of reporting options. You can export reports as csv or xlsx files or have them auto-generated at set times or intervals. You'll get an email when the report is ready.

Centra’s analytics and reporting modules show you your business performance in detail with.

Challenge #10

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Bundling, promotions and upselling features

Leading ecommerce platforms usually offer bundles, promotions, and upselling to run successful campaigns. However, these functionalities can vary significantly across different platforms as regards their configuration and user friendliness.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra has all the features you’ll need for trading and also to support your marketing efforts. Centra's robust voucher engine integrates seamlessly with your CRM system, enabling accurate customer segmentation and targeted promotions.

Challenge #11

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Suitability for fashion and lifestyle products

Many popular monolithic ecommerce platforms lack the capability to effectively manage the business needs, nuances and challenges that come with fashion and lifestyle commerce. These platforms can be a good choice if you want a fast launch without straining your budget. But their lack of fundamental, fashion-specific features can hinder your growth. 

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ShopifySalesforce Commerce CloudCentra
Features for fashionThrough apps/extensions Through apps/extensions and native integrations (limited)Native

Why brands migrate to Centra

Designed for original fashion and lifestyle brands, Centra supports complex lifestyle products by making it easy to handle styles, colors and sizes, and different product displays and drops.

Centra strikes a balance between simplicity in setup and flexibility. The platform is designed to handle multi-dimensional fashion products, so getting started is a walk in the park. In addition, the CMS and business logic are separated, so it's easier to develop websites.

Rather than maintaining ecommerce technology, fashion brands can focus on growing their customer base, catching up with global trends and going global. Centra’s features and roadmap are exclusively tailored to cater to the specific requirements of brands with global aspirations.

Challenge #12

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Omnichannel capabilities

Brands need to sell to consumers and retailers across channels, countries and marketplaces to be able to scale globally. Here is how the platforms address 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 direct-to-consumer websites – all from a single platform.

Challenge #13

Shopify vs Salesforce CC vs Centra: Order management

Fashion brands in ecommerce require efficient order management to operate smoothly. The challenges posed by geographically dispersed shoppers and a constantly expanding array of sales channels have enhanced the significance of order management in today's ecommerce landscape. Order management is becoming more complex and sophisticated as consumers demand faster, more flexible, and sustainable delivery methods.

That’s why brands need scalability and elasticity beyond what many monolithic platforms provide. In contrast, headless ecommerce platforms with advanced capabilities such as distributed order management (DOM) and overselling protection can fill this void.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra has strong native distributed order management capabilities. You get tools to automate order routing and splitting, shipping, inventory forecasting and management. With Centra, brands get robust wholesale features for preordering, reordering, and seasonal orders with delivery windows.

Centra allows you to integrate any third-party tool you use now or may use in the future. It means that you stay ahead of the game and can offer the experience modern customers want, with multiple flexible delivery and return options across the full range of channels. Thanks to that you can ship orders quickly with short lead times, reducing your working capital needs and increasing profits.

You’re in good company

Global 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 have grown fast and conquered new markets without limitations. Trust Centra’s impressive portfolio of brands: Nudie Jeans, Sandqvist, Eton, IDEAL OF SWEDEN, and Norse Projects – some of whom have been on the platform from the very beginning.