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Ecommerce Platforms Comparison for Promotions & Loyalty Features
Julia Gaj
Julia Gaj
March 13, 2024
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Ecommerce Platforms Comparison for Promotions & Loyalty

In the world of online selling, picking the right ecommerce platform is key for business success. One big factor to consider? Promotion capabilities – they’re crucial for engaging customers and boosting ROI. In this blog post, I’ll compare how the most popular ecommerce platforms like commercetools, BigCommerce, Elastic Path, Spryker, VTEX, Adobe Commerce, or Salesforce Commerce Cloud stack up in the area of promotions, coupons and loyalty programs.

Overview of the most popular ecommerce platforms

  • commercetools is the leading composable commerce platform. Their core commerce products cater to B2B, B2C, and frontend needs, with additional add-ons available. They primarily target global companies across retail, manufacturing, and healthcare, which exceed $250 million in GMV. 
  • BigCommerce is the leading SaaS commerce platform that empowers merchants of all sizes to grow their businesses online. Their core platform supports both B2B and B2C needs, with a B2B add-on for advanced features. They target small and midsize businesses (GMV under $10M).
  • Elastic Path offers two platforms: self-hosted Elastic Path Commerce for on-premise or cloud control, and the multitenant SaaS platform, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. They target mid-sized B2C businesses (under $100M GMV), primarily retailers and manufacturers in North America, with a growing B2B focus. 
  • Adobe Commerce, formerly known as Magento Commerce or Magento 2, is an enterprise-level commerce platform. While Adobe serves many industries, it focuses on clients in manufacturing and retail. While it has historically served medium-sized brands, lately Adobe started serving much larger clients (> $250M).
  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers B2C Commerce Cloud, B2B Commerce, and D2C. Salesforce offers many products that are complementary to digital commerce at additional costs, such as CDP, OMS, SFA, B2B marketing automation, and customer service solutions. Salesforce serves clients ranging from midsize organizations to large enterprises across many geographies and industries.
  • Spryker is a SaaS multitenant commerce platform, with extensibility via a single-tenant PaaS environment. Spryker also offers a front-end development tool, a hub for pre-integrated applications, and a marketplace operation application, at additional cost. Spryker has clients with B2B, B2C, and enterprise marketplace business models in all major geographic regions.
  • VTEX offers a modular API-first platform, a headless CMS, and a front-end development platform. VTEX packages 20+ modules and 5 packaged business capabilities that can be purchased separately. VTEX serves multiple verticals, with retail and manufacturing being the two largest. While it has consistently served smaller organizations in Latin America, it continues to add larger, international clients to its portfolio – some with annual GMV over $500M.

Note: The following analysis is based on the publicly available documentation. If I missed or misrepresented any feature, please let me know at marketing@voucherify.io

Comparison of promotional & loyalty capabilities of ecommerce platforms

To arm you with critical knowledge of how major ecommerce players handle promotions, I analyzed the following features:

  • Campaign types – exploring the variety of promotions offered (e.g., discounts, free shipping, bundles, referrals, gift cards).
  • Discount types & effects – understanding how discounts are applied (e.g., percentage, fixed amount).
  • Stacking strategies – delving into the ability to combine multiple promotions.
  • Redemption limits – assessing controls for targeting and budget protection. 
  • Market isolation – examining tools for targeting specific regions, brands, or stores. 
  • Management features – evaluating the platform's user-friendliness and reporting capabilities. 

Choosing an ecommerce platform is an enormous challenge. And more often than not, it turns out that your selected vendor does not cover all your needs, especially since ideas from business and marketing tend to pop up pretty quickly. 

In the context of promotions and loyalty, luckily you can extend any ecommerce platform with Voucherify APIs. But before we get there, let’s see how key ecommerce players approach promotions.

1. Campaign types

Different promotions have different goals (boost sales, clear inventory, attract new customers). Choosing the right platform to support your campaign goals ensures you have the tools to run effective promotions and maximize your return on investment (ROI) when your promotion strategy pivots. 

Here is an overview of key campaign types offered by each analyzed platform.

Note: Each platform capabilities within a specific campaign type differ. The following analysis is based on available documentation and does not take into account plug-ins and workarounds. 

Campaign Types Comparison Chart

Category winner: Adobe Commerce (+ Magento) 

What to keep in mind?

  • All analyzed platforms lack the option to assign promo codes to customers – limiting your ability to track how coupon codes impact the bottom line.
  • Even if some platforms allow for bulk promo codes, they are usually limited to 1000 promo codes per promotion/batch – limiting your options to run large-scale campaigns with personalized promo codes. 
  • Some of the missing campaign types can be successfully implemented through integrations and technical workarounds, e.g., bundles in BigCommerce and bulk discount codes in commercetools. 

2. Discount types and effects

In this section, I analyze the variety of discount types & effects. By making sure that your ecommerce platform supports as many discount effects as possible, you will have a wide selection of options to incentivize customers in more fulfilling ways than a simple 10% off. 

Discount Types Comparison Chart

Category winner: VTEX

What to keep in mind?

  • Discount types & effects are pretty much the same for all analyzed ecommerce platforms – with VTEX tentatively venturing into the dynamic discount calculation (based on total price, shipping fees, and quantity of items for now). 
  • All analyzed ecommerce platforms allow for static discount application – which means that once a campaign is generated, its value is static and won’t switch based on the shopping context.

3. Account limits 

When selecting an ecommerce platform, you need to consider account limitations that may hinder your campaigns. Here is an overview of some of them:

Account Limits Comparison Chart

Category winner: commercetools

What to keep in mind?

  • Limits in Spryker, Adobe Commerce, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud depend on specific implementations. High promotion usage in these platforms may potentially impact performance and require extra development effort.
  • commercetools is the most upfront about potential account limits. The active discount limits are based on the number of stores making commercetools the most versatile option for multi-store brands.

4. Promotion limits & exclusions

Fraud prevention and budget constraints are key to keeping promotions healthy. Here is an overview of promotion limits specifying how many times a customer can redeem a particular promotion and any products or categories excluded.

Promotion Limits Comparison Chart

Category winner: Salesforce B2C Commerce

What to keep in mind?

  • Spryker has one of the most advanced discount configurators offering users to build custom discount conditions in a visual editor. 
  • The majority of analyzed platforms offer basic safeguards, such as the total number of code uses or product/SKU exclusions. 

5. Activity timeframe

Being able to control the lifetime of promotions is another key building block to a successful promotional strategy. Here is how major ecommerce players handle promotion lifetime: 

Activity Timeframe Comparison Chart

Category winner: VTEX

What to keep in mind?

  • Most analyzed ecommerce platforms allow only for simple scheduling between two dates. BigCommerce and VTEX offer the most flexibility by providing more granular time limits, with no custom development required. 
  • All platforms cannot limit redemptions to a time window that starts when a promo code is assigned to a customer. For example, letting brands send an email with a discount code active only 24 hours after sending a message.

6. Stacking & promotion priority

You should also check whether multiple promotions can be applied simultaneously (stacking). All ecommerce platforms can have varying rules governing the priority of different promotions when multiple apply to a single order.

Promotion Stacking Comparison Chart

Category winner: Spryker

What to keep in mind?

  • Some platforms, such as BigCommerce and ElasticPath, may prevent you from combining promotions and coupon codes in a single order. 
  • All platforms besides Spryker lack native capabilities to mark specific campaigns as exclusive (non-stackable). 

7. Promotion targeting

Promotion personalization is critical if you want to see positive ROI from your campaigns. Here are some promotion targeting features found in analyzed platforms:

Promotion Personalization Comparison Chart

Category winner: commercetools

What to keep in mind?

  • The majority of analyzed platforms allow users to build complex targeting rules based on logical operators, however, none allow for fully custom targeting based on uploaded data, e.g., payment method, UTM source, and more. 
  • commercetools offers some of the most granular promotion targeting options, however most of them are accessible via API, and not directly in the Campaign Manager. 

8. Promotion management

Ease of use is essential in relieving developers and giving non-technical teams control over how your promotions play out.

Promotion Management Comparison Chart

Category winner: VTEX

What to keep in mind?

  • Some platforms such as Spyker, Adobe Commerce, and Salesforce Commerce may require additional workarounds and dev work to manage campaigns. 
  • Most platforms do not support partial search – which may prolong troubleshooting in the case of a large number of promo codes and active promotions. 
  • All analyzed platforms, except for Salesforce, have limited promotion analysis features hindering your ability to test what works and what doesn’t.
  • Rolling back coupons and managing the promotion validation process are also limited. 

Where do ecommerce promotion engines fall short?

Ecommerce platforms are like jacks of all trades – they need to be able to support a range of critical commerce features, including promotions. But as jacks of all trades go, they cannot master any specific area – this is where specialized technology vendors, such as Voucherify, come into play. Here are the most common pitfalls of built-in ecommerce promotion engines and how you can overcome them by integrating Voucherify:

1. Limited campaign types 

Most ecommerce promotion engines support only basic discounts and promotions, with no capabilities for loyalty management, cashback, advanced bundling, or referrals.

Voucherify is a one-stop shop for all types of promotional campaigns. Here are some of the most popular promotion types brands run with Voucherify:

By integrating Voucherify into your ecommerce platform, your team can effortlessly run all of these campaigns straight from the get-go, without installing external plugins or looking for costly workarounds. By connecting with Voucherify, you can extend your ecommerce platform with a ready set of best-of-breed promotional and loyalty features, without the need to code these functionalities from scratch. 

2. Rigid scalability limits

Most ecommerce platforms impose rigid restrictions on the number of concurrent campaigns or generated promo codes (if they even allow it in the first place). Voucherify as a specialized solution for promotions, imposes no limits on the number of active campaigns and any other limits are fully customizable.

3. Subpar targeting & personalization

Most ecommerce promotion engines allow only for basic targeting based on order and product attributes – very few venture beyond default promotion conditions. Given platform complexity, plugging in CDPs and other personalization platforms to enhance the promotion experience, may also require a heavy workload for your tech team. 

Voucherify's API-first approach allows you to integrate powerful targeting features regardless of your existing ecommerce platform. This provides more control and customization compared to the limitations of some built-in promotion management systems. It’s also easy to connect Voucherify with CDP or a CRM platform, such as Segment or mParticle, for enhanced promotion personalization.

4. Weak promotion isolation

For all analyzed ecommerce platforms, promotions are handled as a global entity accessible by plenty of users responsible for different stores, websites, or locations. Unauthorized access may lead to promotion fraud and leakage, not to mention overall confusion and human errors caused by this kind of setup. 

With Voucherify you can build separate projects to manage promotions in safe and separate environments per brand, location, store, and more. Individual Voucherify users can access only specific projects, protecting campaigns from unauthorized access. 

It is also possible to set approval workflows for specific users. It means that any campaign change performed by a specific user has to be approved by the admin.

5. Single-channel promotion experience

Ecommerce platforms allow you to ship promotions only to specific storefronts across the web and mobile. If you want to use email, push, SMS, and other means of communication you need to find a workaround as there are no out-of-the-box connections to engagement platforms. With Voucherify you get a set of ready connectors to the most popular CEPs, such as Braze, MoEngage, Klaviyo, Bloomreach Engagement, and more.

6. Lacking analytics 

Most ecommerce promotion engines lack granular promotion analytics or audit logs for troubleshooting. Without knowledge of how promotions impact your bottom line, you are left in the dark – more often than not losing money on incentives that are either unnecessary or mismatched. 

Voucherify offers a set of granular analytics of redemption rates, promotion performance, 360-degree customer profiles, and audit logs with detailed API requests and responses for quick troubleshooting and support queries.

How to connect Voucherify with your ecommerce platform?

By looking at the comparison above, I am sure that perhaps you’ve been thinking about possible workarounds or custom development – and of course, you’re free to do so. However, coding promotion features from scratch requires plenty of development work and maintenance overhead. Not to mention, that if you ever decide to switch your ecommerce engine, all your coding work will go straight to the trash as custom coding excludes interoperability. 

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If promotions and loyalty are a critical focus for your brand, you should always think ahead and select a platform that ensures future interoperability between tools you need now and may need in the future. What’s even better is that you can integrate Voucherify iteratively before fully dropping the built-in promotion engine of your commerce platform. Just pick the APIs you need, create a separate layer to connect Voucherify with your checkout, and run the MVP in less than one spring. 

Thanks to abstract REST APIs and custom objects, Voucherify can be easily integrated with any commerce platform – check our connectors with commercetools, BigCommerce, Elastic Path, Magento, Salesforce, and more. Join global brands like Casa Shops, Breville, Munhowen Drinx, Smallable, or Colette and use Voucherify together with your ecommerce engine for the best promotional and loyalty outcomes. 

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