Playing the Long Game: Adobe’s Commerce Strategy with Magento

I’m from Chicago. As a Chicagoan, a highlight of every year is the NFL Draft. I’m also a Digital Practitioner. As a Digital Practitioner, a highlight of every year is Adobe Summit. Both landed within the same timeframe this year at the end of April. What do these two events have in common? They offer opportunities for reflection of the past while also providing optimism for the future. In 2017, when the Bears passed on BOTH Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes to take Mitchell Trubisky, I said to myself (via facebook), “Based on the expert reviews of this draft class, either the Chicago Bears have secretly discovered the football version of ‘Moneyball’ or they are winging it. Time will tell…” This question was answered during the 2021 draft for the Bears when they traded up to draft Justin Fields. So, now there’s that optimism coming into play again.

Likewise, in 2018, when Adobe purchased Magento, my colleagues and I asked a similar question, “Why Magento?” Sure, they needed a commerce module; it was the most glaring gap in their portfolio. But why Magento?

  • Magento was based on a different technology foundation
  • Magento’s core market was mostly small to mid-market, where Adobe was focused on large Enterprise
  • Magento’s developer base was small to mid-size solution integrators coupled with a Magento Marketplace Extension store, while Adobe worked with larger integrators who developed proprietary IP

So, at the time, the resounding question was “Why Magento?” Last week, as I watched Adobe Summit’s commerce track, Jason Woosley, Head of Adobe Commerce Platform, reflected on where the product has come over the last three years. It was then that I understood “Why Magento.” All the perceived challenges with the alignment and integration of the Adobe and Magento ecosystems were purposefully addressed and turned into strengths.

  • Rather than try and shoehorn the Adobe stack and Magento together, Adobe embraced Micro-Services and an API-led architecture, becoming an early adopter and promoter of a “headless” architecture. This is now a core tenet of the platform, and as the rest of the world starts to embrace Headless Commerce, Adobe is ready and waiting.
  • The customer base has been expanded as Adobe rolled out offerings oriented at the legacy Magento customer base, while simultaneously credentializing Magento as an Enterprise Platform. They have broadened the platform appeal without significantly alienating either segment of the customer base.
  • The developer base has consolidated, with many larger Adobe Solution Integrators actually buying Magento development shops. This has resulted in a larger and more broadly skilled ecosystem able to support the expanded customer base.

The Adobe Commerce roadmap looks solid. In the near term, they are addressing many of the remaining feature gaps in B2B commerce that carried over from Magento’s roots in B2C commerce.

  • New B2B features like Requisition/Approval workflow with user-configurable rules and customer-specific shipping methods will enable complex business models needed for Magento to support the Large Enterprise customer base.
  • A more robust Progressive Web Application starter store with new components and a Magento Payments module for creating a single hook to multiple payment providers will provide more out-of-the-box capability and lower the time and effort for implementations.
  • Intelligent Commerce powered by Adobe Sensei has been extended to provide more search recommendation options and further integrates Adobe Commerce with Adobe’s Experience Platform.

All of this will be supported in the headless architecture alluded to above. So, as a Digital Practitioner, regarding Adobe’s long-term roadmap and approach to commerce, there is significant optimism again.

By Mike Razzoog

As Ansira’s SVP of Commerce, Mike is responsible for leading our commerce practice across business units to help clients define, implement, and optimize commerce solutions that support partners, dealers, and end-customers.