Epicor Commerce Connect (ECC) vs. Adobe Commerce / Magento
When investigating software, many businesses understandably look toward their existing partners to stay within the same ecosystem. The commonly held assumption is that the same vendor is needed to seamlessly integrate complementary software for frictionless operation.
Epicor Commerce Connect (ECC) is one such solution, developed for those that rely on the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) and need to integrate eCommerce functionality.
If your business relies on an Epicor ERP solution, ECC should be on your shortlist of platforms to evaluate. But it shouldn’t be alone—nor should it be your top choice in most scenarios. This is because ECC was built using the open-source version of Adobe Commerce / Magento. And as ECC’s foundational platform, it offers greater flexibility and functionality—especially long-term.
Both eCommerce solutions certainly have their use cases, but many businesses that have automatically turned to ECC will likely find that Adobe Commerce / Magento’s comprehensive capabilities are far more suited for their needs.
What is Epicor ECC?
ECC is Epicor’s own point-of-sale portal for facilitating customer orders. And one unique quality of ECC is that, as an Epicor product, it’s pre-integrated with their ERP systems upon implementation. Understandably, Epicor customers see this as a more seamless and cohesive solution.
The ERP systems ECC automatically integrates with include:
Particularly for B2B and primarily brick-and-mortar businesses, ECC fills a niche in providing a straightforward digital storefront. Customers or sales staff can configure and submit orders online with ease. ECC integrates with Epicor’s ERP systems to provide a “turnkey” solution for connecting basic, public-facing eCommerce capabilities with back-end management and operational data. It’s available as a monthly software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription.
How Does ECC Compare to Adobe Commerce / Magento?
As mentioned above, Epicor built ECC using the open-source version of Magento for its framework. It should be noted, this is already provided by Adobe for free. This means that any functionality ECC offers now or in the future is already available through Commerce / Magento.
It also means that any implementation of Adobe Commerce or the open-source version of Magento readily achieves the same integration with Epicor’s ERP systems and APIs.
All that’s required is an experienced Adobe Commerce / Magento development team to build the connector. While doing so, the integration can be fully customized to support additional functionality and data transfer that ECC doesn’t and won’t offer.
Building custom integrations with a platform as flexible as Adobe Commerce (or Magento’s open-source version) allows you to create unique customer experiences or realize deeper insights specific to your brand and performance metrics in a way ECC can never support.
The Native Capabilities of Adobe Commerce / Magento
There’s a reason Epicor chose Adobe’s platform for building ECC.
It’s widely adopted and is recognized annually as a top eCommerce choice by firms such as Gartner for front-end design flexibility, back-end management capabilities, integration options, and extensive customization overall.
However, in any direct comparison of capabilities between software built on a platform with that platform itself, the former will fall short. This is analogous to comparing squares and rectangles. One cannot exceed what the other includes.
Being built on the open-source version of Magento, ECC will always be bound by this limitation.
Any businesses implementing ECC must rely on the subset of Adobe Commerce / Magento functionalities Epicor chooses to offer. They may address the eCommerce challenges some businesses face and provide the perfect solution. But others may find ECC lacks the capabilities they need—right now or as they scale and look to add more integrations and functionalities.
ECC’s SaaS Delivery Limitations
Furthermore, ECC has limitations as a SaaS product. This delivery method’s advantage is that the solution comes ready for immediate integration with other Epicor solutions “out-of-the-box” (with the additional requirement of Epicor Professional Services). However, a “turnkey” solution also necessitates the platform being highly templated, with minimal flexibility for customization.
For a simpler comparison, Adobe Commerce / Magento is analogous to cooking with an endless supply of fresh ingredients. In contrast, ECC limits you to the same small list of foodstuffs and one recipe that doesn’t allow for any deviation. It had better be all you’d ever want to eat.
ECC provides a digital storefront that directly integrates with your ERP system to ensure data consistency (e.g., inventory, pricing, product descriptions) and process incoming orders. For available functionality, the solution checks the minimum boxes needed for eCommerce like:
- Website templates
- Product catalog browsing and management
- Customer-specific pricing
- Real-time inventory
- Attribute-based filtering and Elastic Search
- Support for multiple payment options
- Checkout field configuration
- Product recommendations
- Create and view quotes
- Create and view reorders
- Manage wishlists and returns
- Supports multiple storefronts, currencies, and languages
However, not all of these functionalities may be included at your subscription level or might require additional Professional Services at additional costs to implement and configure.
For example, visible elements of an ECC storefront can be configured to match your branding (e.g., logos and colors) but still rely exclusively on existing templates for available options.
Of course, with ECC having been built on Commerce / Magento, all of these capabilities and more are readily available and fully customizable—without restriction—with Adobe’s platform.
When businesses implement ECC, many are surprised at Epicor’s lack of customization and what is included “out-of-the-box”—or what isn’t included. Because these limitations aren’t obvious within the ECC promotional materials, businesses may assume that ECC is a comprehensive eCommerce solution instead of the ordering portal and data integration that it is.
For example, ECC’s base offering is limited to:
- No themes aside from “Black and Green”
- No data imports
- No customization to front- or back-end structures
- No customizations to ECC or the underlying Adobe Commerce / Magento platform
- No customizations to the provided search functionality
- No support for multiple currencies or languages
- No product configuration
Before pursuing ECC as an eCommerce solution, you’ll want to thoroughly understand what is included in your contract to ensure it aligns with your expectations and projected needs.
“Certified Extensions” from Adobe Marketplace
Epicor states that “certified extensions” are available to ECC customers, but those same extensions are already available for seamless integration with Adobe Commerce / Magento from Adobe Marketplace. That’s what makes them “certified.” However, the premiums Epicor charges for their APIs to connect other systems to ECC can quickly climb to over $40,000.
Conversely, free Web Integration APIs that facilitate the flow of relevant data points are readily available. There is some loss of business logic, but Commerce / Magento only requires the proper configuration to retain those data transfer capabilities, and Adobe’s full and open-source eCommerce platforms support this without any additional purchases.
Furthermore, using Web Integration APIs (specifically for Epicor Eclipse) is not proprietary. The business owns the delivered code and configurations, so there is no ongoing cost for access and use as found in the ECC subscription model.
All that is required is a knowledgeable and experienced team—which can easily be found through Adobe’s Solution Partner Program—like Adobe Gold Partner DotcomWeavers.
Choosing ECC or Adobe Commerce / Magento?
The bottom line is: if your company exclusively needs a simplified web portal for customers or your staff to enter orders—and nothing else—ECC is the far more economical choice. The cost of building a digital storefront and ecosystem on Adobe Commerce / Magento will never fall close enough to compete when bare-bones functionality is all that’s needed.
At the same time, ECC doesn’t remotely compare to a full-service eCommerce platform’s capabilities. Adobe Commerce / Magento will better serve any needs beyond the basic order entry and ERP to ECC data transfer.
Businesses that intend to scale their eCommerce operations, customizations, or integrations will eventually reach a stage where an ECC implementation will likely hinder their efforts. Simply choosing ECC for pragmatic vendor consistency can create future problems for many businesses.
Instead, when considering eCommerce solutions, be sure to evaluate Adobe Commerce / Magento. ECC may still be the better choice for some businesses, but others will surely find that the Adobe platform it’s built on will better suit their needs both today and tomorrow.