As a Magento Enterprise Partner we regularly keep an eye on other ecommerce platforms and the wider ecommerce marketplace.

Over the next few weeks we are going to review the other major ecommerce platforms as identified in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Ecommerce.

We’ll be discussing their pros and cons and we’ll use our extensive ecommerce experience to provide insights on the factors that can drive online success.


Williams Commerce, established in 2009 are ecommerce specialists working with small, medium and large companies in the UK and worldwide. Our background started in custom ecommerce development but over the last 3 years our primary focus has been on Magento Enterprise. As a Certified Magento Partner we deliver around 40 ecommerce site builds a year. As well as ecommerce, Williams Commerce provide Digital Marketing, Hosting and ERP solutions.

Having built over 200 ecommerce websites both for retail and B2B trade businesses, across a huge variety of industries from fashion and beauty, travel, homewares and interiors, toys, automotive, gardening, food, drinks and more, has enabled us to build up a strong level of insight into they key elements what makes an online business successful.

Our first conversations with business owners and their management teams starts with understanding the business dynamics, the end user, their market position and ambitions for online growth as a starter for 10.

With this understanding and insight, we are able to give our client’s a recommendation as to the ecommerce platform that will best suit their online business model and that will create a great foundation for accelerating online growth.

With the continued and exciting growth coming from ecommerce, we are always casting an eye on up and coming new platforms and alternative options available on the market to ensure we are able to offer our clients a comprehensive overview


One platform that has come to our attention is Demandware. It’s a cloud based platform that launched in 2004 and has become the platform of choice for huge, well-known retail brands including Adidas, Go Pro, Loreal, Lancome, UGG and many more, businesses that transact multi-millions of pounds in revenue every month.

Demandware is unique in that retailers (or their Demandware partners) can design, launch, manage and market the website, using Demandware as the backbone and engine powering the site.

One of the primary benefits offered by Demandware is the fact that it is a cloud based platform. What does this mean exactly? Your online business is not limited by size. The platform scales up and down in line with seasonal and marketing fluctuations. It can truly allow your business to scale without the worry of having enough capacity. Built-in disaster recovery solutions gives peace of mind to business owners that their site won’t fall over during peak traffic periods.

So far, so good, but it gets better. The Demandware platform can be upgraded up to 8 times a year. Offering new features and enhancements on every upgrade. And because the system is cloud based, these updates are apparently seamless. Wave goodbye to time-consuming and messy upgrades.

Demandware will pretty much make the need for third party server hosting and ongoing I.T maintenance of your website redundant and in their words…“Frees your IT department to concentrate on driving strategic initiatives and innovation instead of supporting infrastructure and implementing upgrades.”

A couple of other benefits we’ve picked up;

Demandware has a strong reputation among retailers and brands and valued highly by B2C businesses. The platform can be quickly deployed and has a good UI.
Scalability due to being cloud based, results in high levels of satisfaction. Supports microsites, mobile web, while updates have little impact on the system.
Demandware is certainly considered a growing platform, reporting 240 customers at the end of 2013.
Easy to use UI allowing ecommerce teams to focus on trading their businesses online and letting Demandware take care of the platform and availability.

So, this all sounds like Demandware is paving the way for a cloud based future for ecommerce, but there are of course some points to consider.

Expensive. It’s seen as a ‘fashionable’ platform appealing to niche markets like fashion, footwear, cosmetic and sporting goods. Those businesses able to afford Demandware are paying top dollar for services that can certainly be found elsewhere for less. Demandware’s target clients might have annual sales between $20m and $500 million.

Revenue Share. Part of Demandware’s contractual obligations will see them will take a license fee based on a percentage commission of your online sales, between 0.75% up to 1.25%, maybe more. Not every business wants to hop on board the revenue share-licensing model. However, according to Demandware, this shared success model means they are more invested in their client’s success.

There has been a few reports we’ve picked up via Linked In threads of weak spots in Demandware’s Order Management System.

The platform is not yet geared up (nor may they want to) for B2B. In their present state there is a question mark over whether they can meet the bulk ordering requirements and level of customisation and integration demanded by the B2B sector.

And on the point of integration, we’ve also read of customers concerns that Demandware needs to continue to improve their ability to integrate with third party systems in order to cater to the growing need for automation and efficiency that is driven by integration.

Not forgetting the site’s control is in the hands of Demandware and its partners.

Final Test


Demandware has been likened by one Linked In contributor’s comment as the ‘ready made meal you heat in the microwave.’ It currently holds about 1.4% share of the ecommerce market and growing and it probably offers one of the more complete ecommerce solutions for large-scale enterprise businesses available on the market today.

If you’re in analysis paralysis trying to decide on an ecommerce platform, we can help provide some objective advice on a platform’s suitability according to your specific business requirements. The ecommerce platform must meet your needs according to features, functionality, cost, support, partners, ease of implementation and day-to-day management and more.

Need some help? Contact our ecommerce consultants at Williams Commerce today to discuss in more detail. Phone us on 0116 326 1116 or email us at [email protected]

We’re building multi-million pound businesses online.

Useful Sources:

Demandware vs Magento comparison

Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

LinkedIn Discussion – Demandware vs Magento