If you are here, it can mean two things: either you want to change your current platform or need to set up a new one. At this point, we assume that you have numerous questions or doubts – which platform should you choose and why?

You might already know that without developing or updating your eCommerce, you will not be able to keep up with the competition and your clients, who are more and more demanding nowadays. Your eCommerce is an engine that drives your business, so it has to be a system that efficiently carries out all purchasing processes, the heart of your eCommerce. Therefore, the proper design of an online store has a significant impact on both website traffic and sales. If it doesn’t work correctly, you may lose customers and, as a result, your income.

There are many different eCommerce systems, so the choice is not easy. As a commercial partner of Sylius and Shopware, we are often asked which one fits the business better. At first, both platforms seem similar, but the differences indicate which segment and cases each are a better choice. We will try to explain it below. The choice of a solution will depend, among other things, on the complexity and type of a given project, so let’s start with an example.

Imagine that you want to buy a suit – depending on your needs, you can go to the tailor that already has all the elements (buttons, fabrics, seams), and with his skills and experience, he will make you a suit. Or you can go to the other tailor, who doesn’t have those elements – and he needs to make them or get the material (plugin) from Italy (e.g., GitHub). 

If you need tailor-made platforms, you are in the right place. But if you need a “quick” already made suit waiting for you at the store to buy your size, we recommend you choose solutions like PrestaShop, Shopify, or WooCommerce. 

By choosing to buy a suit in a store, you agree to a slight inconvenience in exchange for time and price. You might make up your mind based on in-store assistant consultancy. It is the right solution for most people, especially for getting started. If you choose a tailored suit, you will end up with a tailor-made product, but it takes some time and money to get done. Here, it is essential to collect measures and convey the relevant details of how you want your suit to look.

As a result, starting with the base – the material, individual elements, your outfit will be created step by step. The choice of a tailor, in this case, will be suitable if you want to receive a custom or original product. Remember, however, that even if you buy a suit in a store, you can bring it to a tailor for processing later.

You may be wondering why we started with this example. The above situation can compare SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions with the platforms discussed in this article. Depending on the point which your company is currently at (i.e., it is just starting up or is at the stage of expansion), it will need different solutions. For one, a platform is enough to “click in a moment,” and another will need custom functionalities and operating on different channels.

Knowing all of that, let us start by comparing Shopware to Sylius below.

Quick jump to the interested section

What is Shopware?

Shopware is an open-source eCommerce platform. It means that its source code and roadmap are accessible to everyone, and you have complete control of your own business. The platform is created on top of the Symfony framework, one of the most popular frameworks built with PHP language, which drives 80% of the web.

Shopware eCommerce has numerous settings available in the admin panel. In addition, it has many built-in functions like rich snippets, breadcrumbs, meta, and canonical tags, so your shop is very well prepared for search engine optimization (SEO), making it an excellent solution for marketing teams. 

Shopware is ideal for small, middle, large businesses (SMBs) and enterprise segments. 

Why is it worth choosing Shopware?

Marketers-Friendly CMS

Your marketing team will be delighted with this solution. Shopware, with its drag & drop functionality, allows you to do simple landings by using a page builder. This solution works in real-time, so it is truly What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG). It is an excellent solution for your team members who are not technical individuals but need to create a landing page, e.g., a webinar, in no time.

Shopware PWA

PWA is a viral standard nowadays. Shopware PWA was created in cooperation with Vue Storefront. Thanks to this technology, you do not have to develop a mobile app (i.e., iOS, Android) and web app (browser) separately. Instead, you can maintain all of your front-end experience within one single technology providing benefits like offline access, high performance, a great SEO at the same time.

Advanced product management

In the Shopware Professional Edition, a “custom products” module allows you to create advanced multi-variant products. As a result, the customer can decide about specific elements of a given product before purchasing. 

For example, you will gather the possibility of uploading a photo that later can be used for personalization by printing media on the ordered item like a professional web2print eCommerce does (custom-made T-shirts with an image, bags with prints, mugs with inscriptions, etc.).

API-first

Shopware is a platform based on the API-first approach. Unlike monolithic-style systems, Shopware is a headless platform. It means that all store functions can be operated via the API interface. It gives excellent opportunities for integration with external systems such as CRM, PIM, ERP, WMS and allows for processes automation, which is essential for business optimization and scaling.

Cloud-Based

Suppose you don’t want to worry about hosting and maintaining your website; Shopware has a solution for you. By using Shopware Cloud, you can set up your eCommerce safely and completely free. In addition, it works based on revenue sharing, so the only fee you have to pay is the percentage of the sale you make.

Event-Driven

Event-driven is a type of architecture where actions taken by users are processed by Shopware 6 as events. 

The programmer and the Shopware components react to these events. Thanks to this, the code and platform can be modular. Also, these events apply in the case of using the API – that is, communication between the frontend (what the user sees) and the backend. There is a prominent division into front and back.

Performance

With hundreds of products, you don’t have to worry about the speed of your website. Shopware, by default, is a predefined solution for deployment in containers and orchestrated by Kubernetes. The strength of this solution is scalability – for example, you can adjust the replication (the number of such containers) depending on the store’s load. 

Migrations

The need for data migration may have many reasons. It can be a new business strategy, the necessity of better eCommerce functioning, or sometimes the current platform is simply not enough.  No matter the reason, Shopware gives you the ability to import or export data from your current eCommerce. Moreover, it is carried out quickly, improving and shortening work time.

Plugin management

You can add additional plugins to your eCommerce if you need more functionalities. Then, you can upload them very easily by using your admin panel.  Many ready-to-use extensions are available to download from the Shopware Store

The process of adding extensions is described on the official Shopware page. In addition, the installation process is described in every plugin’s “Installation Manual” tab.

Community

The solution, which has been on the market for 20 years, brings together a large community. Below you will find links related to the Shopware community:

Available versions/licenses of Shopware

Shopware 6 Community Edition

This one is dedicated to stores in a local hosting environment. Available as an open-source solution developed under the MIT license.

Shopware Rise

  • It is dedicated to B2C/D2C segments. It allows creating unique shopping experiences and growing the brand presence.
  • The price starts from €600 per month

Shopware Evolve

  • The best choice for domestic and international eCommerce business, combined with a support service.
  • The price is set individually.

Shopware Beyond

  • For complex business models and end-to-end eCommerce projects. 24/7 support.
  • The price is set individually.

Shopware Rise, Evolve and Beyond may appear as PaaS, SaaS or self-hosted.

When Shopware is a good choice?

Shopware will be an ideal solution for the SMB and Enterprise sectors. If you are looking for many ready-made components for your eCommerce, Shopware Store is very developed and will be an excellent fit for you. Shopware is also ideal if you want to grow your eCommerce and connect it with multiple payments or shipping providers, thanks to plugins that are very easy to install.

Shopware is also a great solution if you need to assign roles for your employees. It is possible to do in the admin panel and is very helpful. Now your team members can improve their work and ensure that everyone has access to what they need. Also, building a solid API ecosystem is imperative if you want to take your business further and succeed in today’s world of automation, decentralization, and unlimited availability. 

In addition, it is an excellent platform if you have a marketing team, and you want to make their work easier by letting them use helpful Shopware functionalities. 

  • Depending on the version, it is suitable for startups, small enterprises, and larger ones.
  • The right solution for standard projects with low complexity that don’t require custom features.
  • Marketing friendly platform –  if you focus on marketing and want to empower your team. 
  • Ready-made themes to buy in the store, created by the community.
  • Ready-made solutions and connections with 3rd party tools.
  • The eCommerce solution has been on the market for over 20 years, with many companies who trust them.
  • It has an extensive partner network. We are one of them!

When Shopware is NOT a good choice

Like any solution, Shopware has its pros and cons. There is no perfect platform, but you have to examine both the pros and cons when looking for the right one to choose the most optimal solution for you.

So when Shopware is not a good fit for you?

  • In case you need a simple solution that is ready to use (if that’s what you need, you should consider choosing solutions like WooCommerce, Shopify, or PrestaShop).
  • When you don’t want to focus on marketing at the moment.
  • If you are looking for a SaaS platform.

Shopware – potential weaknesses and implementation risks

  • During installing plugins, the risk may arise (some of them may not be tested). 
  • In addition, it might carry an unexpected cost:
    • The developer will have to learn new technologies – e.g., Vue.js
    • Plugin costs.
  • Using Symfony in its own way with some middleware solution makes it more difficult for a Symfony developer to jump in.
  • There are gaps in the documentation, which sometimes makes it difficult for the developer to work.
  • It has a lot of plugins, but most of them are commercial, not open-source.

What is Sylius?

Sylius is an eCommerce platform dedicated to complex startups (mainly upper) SMBs and enterprise segments with the need for personalization. Unlike any other eCommerce platform, Sylius’ philosophy is to provide around 70-80% of standard eCommerce features with great potential to tailor-made each or write the remaining 20-30% in a completely custom way. It might be perfect for advanced B2Cs, B2Bs, Multi-vendor Marketplaces, or SaaS eCommerce modules.  It could be excellent to implement strategies like recurring orders, advanced data search, and best-of-breed integrations in no time.

If you are thinking of a highly custom online store, where the shopping experience is entirely different from ready-made platforms, Sylius is the answer. Of course, it is not a solution set up within minutes, but it gives you complete freedom to make your store look and run the way you can imagine. 

The developer will add only those functions you need in your system, saving time and energy for deleting the features you won’t even use. But, of course, it is possible to add more of them and expand your store in the future. 

Why is it worth choosing Sylius?

API – first

Sylius focuses on a modern headless approach, which uses the API Platform –  a framework for creating current API-based projects. This makes it much easier to integrate ERP, CRM, and CMS systems. Sylius could be easily plugged into any legacy IT infrastructure, providing a fresh input interface for the end-user.

Support for various business models

Sylius is a very flexible and robust solution. It can be used in every kind of eCommerce – B2B, B2C, Multi-vendor Marketplace.  By Sylius, you can even build VOD platforms, ticket and reservation systems, or e-learning platforms. 

Do you want to know what we did with Sylius? Check out our case studies!

Flexibility

Suppose you need something more than a simple sales platform, and your requirements differ from the standard functionalities of other platforms. In that case, this solution is for you, whether you need advanced configurators, multi-channel support, or advanced warehouse management.

If Sylius doesn’t have the functionality you need right now, we can easily create it for you. Check out our plugins

Best-of-breed technology

You can use the best-of-breed functionality to integrate your existing or preferred PIM, CRM, or Marketing Automation software. 

Need to know more? Check our e-book.

Symfony-driven

Like Shopware, Sylius is based on the Symfony framework, which is very popular in the PHP community. That means that you can easily find a developer that can help you with your store. Thanks to Symfony, programmers create modern and complex websites and web applications. What differentiates Sylius and other platforms (including Shopware) in the case of Symfony usage is that Sylius is fully compatible with it and does not provide any middle-standard. By doing so, it makes the entry barrier lower for the developer.

Do you need to know more about Symfony? >>

Tested and testable

The Sylius Behavior Driven Development approach keeps your team focused on business value, not just the code itself. As a result, it can detect and fix problems before your customers find them.

Sylius is a pioneer in automated testing of eCommerce platforms and encodes it in your projects.

Hosting and scalability

Sylius will accelerate the development of your business and adapt to changing needs. You can implement it on the most popular hosting platforms, such as Google Cloud or AWS (and many others.) Using Sylius, hosting, and infrastructure never limits you – your developer has complete freedom in choosing the tools that best serve your project.

Integration with external solutions

Sylius has many integrations with popular vendors. You will find some payment providers (such as Adyen or Mollie), shipping providers (DPD, InPost, DHL), marketing (MailChimp Newsletter), content & customizations (Elasticsearch, Wishlist), and more. 

Agility 

The system grows as the customer grows. If you want to provide your company with continuous development, you cannot afford a revolution in changing your platform every few years. Sylius focuses on the “evolution, not revolution” approach, ensuring the highest quality standards. As a result, the average lifetime of Sylius eCommerce is much higher than other platforms like Magento, which are often eaten by technical debt.

Headless & PWA

Thanks to the combination of Sylius acting as a backend and Vue Storefront acting as a frontend, you have the opportunity to create a platform in the PWA standard.

Check out our live Sylius PWA project! >>

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Plugin management

  • Despite plugins available on GitHub, they are also put in the Sylius Marketplace
  • The whole process of creating a Sylius plugin is described in the documentation.
  • The installation process is described in the GitHub documentation for each one.

Community

The community is constantly growing due to the increasing recognition of this young solution. Below you will find links related to the Sylius community:

 

Available versions/licenses of Sylius

Sylius
(Community Edition)

Sylius Standard is the third most popular eCommerce solution in PHP, according to developer stars. It is a basic and free version of the software. It provides 80% of the most popular online store functionalities like:

  • order handling, 
  • product management, 
  • promotions and customers, 
  • payments, 
  • logistics, 
  • multi-language, 
  • multi-channel configuration,
  • tax management.

Sylius Plus


It is a commercial extension of the standard version, providing the following functionalities:

  • Multi-store management
  • Advanced User Permissions
  • Return Management
  • Multiple Warehouse Support
  • Split Shipping
  • Loyalty System
  • SLA technical support
  • Dedicated customer manager

Sylius Plus is an annual subscription based on the Gross Commodity Volume (GMV). The price starts from 14,900.00 €.

When Sylius is a good choice?

Sylius will be the perfect solution for someone who needs a tailor-made store that will be more extensive and ready to grow with the business. It will also be ideal for an SMB segment in the case of high personalization and the enterprise sector and startups. Finally, Sylius will be great for those who want to develop their store long-term.

  • Convenient for SMB segment in the case of high personalization and the enterprise sector and startups. 
  • Those who need a lot of personalization support for non-standard workflows or custom integrations. No matter if you want to set up MVM, multi-channel, B2C or B2B.
  • Sylius is expanding, gaining more and more popularity, incl. France and the DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) countries but also USA, South America, Australia, Asia.
  • It is developed with the highest code quality and uses best practices and a BDD approach.
  • If you want to assemble applications in a flexible and accessible way.
  • Suppose you have a lot of products. The website performance will always work well. Check out Sylius and Magento performance comparison.

When Sylius is a NOT good choice?

If you want to know which solution is a great fit for you, you must know its pros and cons. Every solution has defects or things you don’t need at the moment, so we prepared a list of cons. Check it out.

  • When you need a regular, modular store.
  • Working on Sylius can be challenging if you don’t have a programming background and do not plan to cooperate with software houses or agencies. 
  • If you need something more straightforward, this won’t be your solution.

Sylius – potential weaknesses and implementation risks

  • Doctrine – generates a lot of supplementary queries and overloads the database, which need to be taken care of while going live.
  • Sylius is not as UX-friendly as Shopware.
  • You have to create some solutions from scratch.


Summary

The world is changing dynamically, and you, as an eCommerce seller and owner, need to keep up with it to meet customer expectations and stay in the market. As your business grows, you will need to adjust your store to your customer’s needs to not fall behind the competition. Make sure that the solution you choose will enable you to spread your wings.

To sum up, Shopware is a solution for uncomplicated sales platforms, startup businesses, and small-medium companies. Sylius will be suitable for large companies that need dedicated solutions or eCommerce beginners who want to expand in the future.

Remember that not everyone needs a tailor-made solution, just as not everyone needs what they can get out of the box. To find out what solution will fit your vision, schedule a call with our consultant to advise the proper solution and dispel any doubts. If you are decided on any of these solutions, we might provide you with all the staff and experience to deliver the project in no time and at a fair risk. Contact us for more details.