29 min read

Breaking Down the Differences: Commercetools vs. Magento

Commercetools and Magento are two of the mature options for driving eCommerce in the world of enterprise companies. If you’re a representative of a large organization looking to make a long-term investment in an e-commerce platform, choosing the right solution is critical.

Tim Davidson
Tim Davidson

Commercetools and Magento are two of the mature options for driving eCommerce in the world of enterprise companies. If you’re a representative of a large organization looking to make a long-term investment in an e-commerce platform, choosing the right solution is critical.

In this article, we'll compare the strengths and weaknesses of these platforms to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your organization's needs. We'll analyze key features, pricing models, customization options, performance, integrations, and community backing.

Commercetools interface example

Commercetools overview

Commercetools is a German-based eCommerce platform founded in 2006. It’s a modern, cloud-based eCommerce platform that offers a flexible and scalable solution for businesses. The platform leverages a microservices architecture, allowing for greater flexibility and scalability. This architecture approach also allows for a decoupled backend and frontend, which gives more freedom to customize your presentation layer.

Now that you have an idea of what Commercetools is, let’s have a look at its key features:

Headless architecture

Commercetools' headless architecture stands out as a key feature for modern eCommerce solutions. This approach allows businesses to separate their frontend and backend systems, offering diverse flexibility options for their presentation layer. By leveraging a headless architecture, enterprises can adapt to ever-changing consumer demands, ensuring a seamless, future-proof online shopping experience for their customers.


Commercetools is an API-driven platform meaning that it provides RESTful APIs that allow developers to build custom e-commerce experiences using any programming language or technology stack. This API is designed to be easy to use and flexible, with a clear separation of concerns between the client (such as a web or mobile app) and the server (Commercetools).


Commercetools is built as a cloud-native platform that runs inherently on the cloud. This allows businesses to leverage the scalability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of cloud environments. As such, a business can handle changes in traffic and respond better to consumer demands, without requiring any additional hardware or infrastructure.

Also, the cloud-native design improves accessibility since it relies on a global network of data centers which provides low-latency access around the world.

Microservice based

Commercetools is designed as a collection of loosely-coupled, independently deployable microservices that work together as a powerful e-commerce platform. With this architecture, businesses can easily modify or add new functionality to the platform without impacting other parts of the system.

Additionally, because the microservices are independent, it allows businesses to be more fault tolerant and scalable than a traditional monolithic application. If one service fails, it does not impact the overall functionality of the platform.

Multi-tenant Saas

Multi-tenant SaaS is a software delivery model where a single instance of the software is shared by multiple customers, also known as tenants. In this model, each tenant accesses the software using their own unique account. Data is stored separately for each tenant.

Commercetools is a multi-tenant SaaS e-commerce platform, meaning that it provides a single instance of its software that can be accessed by multiple customers. Each customer has their own account and can customize their storefront, products, pricing, and other features according to their specific business needs. Additionally, Commercetools ensures that the data of each customer is isolated and kept confidential.

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    Customizable data model

    Commercetools’ customizable data model enables businesses to store and manage data in a way that is specific to their needs and e-commerce strategies. This feature is based on an extensible JSON data model, which can be customized by adding, modifying, or deleting data fields and objects to match the unique requirements of individual businesses. Companies can create custom objects, properties, and relationships between objects to fit their specific needs.

    Omnichannel commerce

    An omnichannel experience is a key feature of modern e-commerce platforms as it enables businesses to provide a consistent customer experience across all channels. Commercetools achieves this through its cloud-native, API-driven, and microservices-based architecture, which enables businesses to easily integrate their e-commerce platform with different systems and channels. As a result, it provides a unified view of customer data, orders, inventory, and pricing across all channels, which allows businesses to offer personalized and contextualized experiences to their customers

    AI-driven personalization

    Commercetools leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide personalized experiences to customers. This feature enables businesses to analyze visitor behavior, preferences, and purchase history to offer tailored content to each individual customer.

    Integration and API

    Since Commercetools is built around an API-first approach, that allows for easy integration with existing infrastructures coupled with a high degree of customization. The platform’s integration capabilities also enable businesses to connect with popular e-commerce tools such as third-party customer relationship management (CRM) tools to further enhance customer management options.

    Magento interface example

    Magento Overview

    Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform that allows businesses to build and manage their online stores. It was first released in 2008 and has since become one of the most popular e-commerce platforms, powering over 100,000 online stores worldwide.

    Magento offers a range of features and tools to help businesses create and manage their online stores. It allows for creating custom product catalogs, shopping carts, and checkout processes. The platform also offers a range of marketing tools such as email marketing, SEO optimization, and product recommendations to help businesses attract and retain customers.

    Commercetools vs Magento: Head-to-head comparison

    Having established a foundational understanding of the two platforms and their features, let's compare them based on several relevant criteria.

    Performance and scalability

    Winner: Commercetools

    Commercetools is well-suited to handle high volumes of traffic and can scale dynamically to meet changing demands. This is because the platform is built on the principles of MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, headless) architecture which allowsbusinessess to scale up or down, without having to re-architect the entire system.

    Magento, on the other hand, is built on a more traditional monolithic architecture, which can make it more challenging to scale and optimize performance.

    Both platforms offer a range of scalability options, such as load balancing and auto-scaling, to help businesses manage traffic spikes and ensure optimal performance.  However, Commercetools generally performs better than Magento because it’s built using modern technologies and is designed to be highly modular. It can deliver fast and responsive experiences to customers, even under heavy loads.

    Magento, while still capable of delivering fast load times and page speeds, runs as a monolithic architecture and can’t scale its components to the same level that Commercetools can.

    Integration and APIs

    Winner: Magento

    Commercetools offers a variety of integration options, including pre-built integrations with popular tools such as Salesforce and Shopify, as well as custom integrations through its RESTful API. The platform also offers developer tools such as SDKs and other code libraries to simplify the integration process. Additionally, commerce tools has a marketplace with a range of third-party apps and plugins that can be easily integrated into the platform.

    On the other hand, Magento has an extensive library of pre-built integrations, including popular tools such as PayPal, Google Analytics, and Amazon Marketplace. It also offers a wide range of APIs, including its own Magento APIs, REST APIs, SOAP APIs, and GraphQL APIs. Developers can use the platform's open-source codebase to create custom integrations or pre-built extensions from the Magento Marketplace.

    In terms of third-party app and plugin availability, both Commercetools and Magento have a large ecosystem of developers creating add-ons and extensions. However, due to its larger user base, Magento has a wider range of third-party options available.

    Design and Customization

    Winner: Commercetools

    Design and customization are important considerations for businesses looking to create a unique and engaging online shopping experience for their customers. Both Commercetools and Magento offer a range of design and customization options, but with different approaches.

    One of the key design features of Commercetools is its headless architecture. This means that the platform's front-end presentation layer is decoupled from its back-end e-commerce functionality, which allows businesses to use any front-end technology or framework they choose. This gives businesses complete control over the look and feel of their e-commerce site, and allows them to create custom designs that are unique to their brand.

    Commercetools also provides a range of customization options for its back-end e-commerce functionality. The platform is built using microservices, which allows businesses to break down their e-commerce functionality into smaller, more manageable components. This means that businesses can easily customize and extend the platform to meet their specific needs, without having to make changes to the entire system.

    Magento, on the other hand, offers a range of out-of-the-box design and customization options, including a sizable collection of free marketplace themes. But you may have to budget for custom themes or involve a developer to build one for you. That said, Commercetools has a decoupled front and back end, which offers more freedom to customize your website’s appearance. This makes it a better choice for modern businesses.


    Winner: Magento

    Magento offers three main pricing plans - Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce, and Magento Commerce Cloud. The Magento Open Source is free to use though it comes with limited features. Despite being free, it comes with associated costs such as web hosting, domain name, PCI compliance, and other general website upkeeps. As for Magento/Adobe Commerce and Commerce Cloud, their pricing is based on tiered order value/revenue. Usually, the price ranges from $22,000 - 125,000 for Adobe Commerce and $40,000 - 180,000 for Commerce Cloud. Note that these prices are just estimates, for accurate quotes, you have to contact a Magento sales rep.

    Magento price table comparison

    That said, just like Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce is a self-hosted edition. So, you’ll have to pay for web hosting. For the Commerce Cloud, the hosting is already taken care of - it comes with the license.

    Commercetools, on the other hand, offers a subscription-based pricing model that is based on usage, which can make it more supple for businesses. The costs can add up quickly depending on the number of API calls, users, and integrations needed. Essentially, the annual fee is proportional to your revenue rate.

    If you’ve just launched your business, Magento free open-source plan is more suitable. The best thing is that the platform is structured in a way that grows with your business. So, you can start on the free plan, move to Magento commerce once your business gains traction, and eventually upgrade to Magento Cloud.

    Support and community

    Winner: even

    Both Commercetools and Magento offer support options to their users, including documentation, customer support, and community resources. Commercetools provides 24/7 support to its users through its global customer support team. In addition, the company offers a range of resources, including developer documentation, user guides, and training programs.

    Magento offers customer support through its help center, which includes a knowledge base, community forum, and ticket submission system. The company also provides access to developer documentation and resources to help users build and customize their stores.

    As for the community size, Magento is more popular and has a larger community of users than its counterpart.

    Frequently asked questions

    Q: Can I migrate my existing online store to either Commercetools or Magento?

    Yes, both platforms offer migration options for businesses looking to switch from another e-commerce solution. However, the complexity and cost of the migration may vary depending on the size and complexity of the existing store.

    Q: Is Commercetools more expensive than Magento?

    Commercetools and Magento both offer various pricing options depending on the size and needs of your business. However, commercetools is generally considered a more expensive option, as it is a cloud-based platform that offers more advanced features and capabilities than Magento.

    Q: Which platform is better for large-scale ecommerce businesses?

    Commercetools is generally considered better suited for large-scale e-commerce businesses due to its cloud-based architecture and scalable infrastructure, which can handle high volumes of traffic and transactions. However, Magento can also be a good option for large businesses due to its robust features and customizable options.

    Key Takeaway

    Both Commercetools and Magento offer a range of powerful features and customization options for businesses looking to create or enhance their eCommerce presence. Commercetoolss stands out with its API-first approach, headless architecture, and focus on flexibility and scalability. Magento, on the other hand, offers a more traditional monolithic architecture and a larger user base, with a wide range of themes, plugins, and integrations available.

    Written by
    Tim Davidson

    Tim Davidson

    Tim is the face of the company. When you want to kick off a new project, or an update on your existing project, Tim is your man!

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