Magento vs. Hybris

Which one will suit your business best?

There are dozens of articles comparing Magento and other eCommerce platforms, and now we are moving on to have one of the most important contenders in the ring: SAP Hybris.

Market share of the SAP Hybris platform is barely visible, however it is still one of the leading solutions on the market.

This might seem a paradox, but the reasons are solid: Hybris is essentially a high-performance luxury product on the e-commerce market. It is the sports car you really take out for a ride because you do need 200 mph speed.

A few things about Hybris

The platform is developed by a Swiss ecommerce company. Founded in 1997 it has been a subsidiary of the German SAP since 2013. Their product is aimed directly at large enterprise users. The software is stable and manages online stores with high traffic very well.

It works in an omnichannel system: is performs well on mobile, desktop and other devices and can also be integrated with other systems. With it you can manage your entire online business in one place.

One of the main benefits of the platform is that is is capable of handling B2B and B2C solutions equally well. It is based on the Zend Framework, can manage multiple sites in one interface, includes built-in SEO solutions and has a completely adaptive design.

Market share

Magento is currently used on 160 599 domains according to the most recent data by Datanyze. This accounts for a market share of 7.36%. SAP Hybris however has a market share that is relatively marginal in comparison: it is only used on 683 domains with a share of 0.03%. Similartech also has some data: they count 355 563 domains for Magento and 2064 for Hybris.

Market share broken down

  • Top 10 thousand sites
    • Magento: 0.32%
    • Hybris: 0.07%
  • Top 100 thousand sites
    • Magento: 0.82%
    • Hybris: 0.042%
  • Top 1 million sites:
    • Magento: 1.56%
    • Hybris: 0.018%

These numbers can be misleading however, as Hybris is a system dedicated for large-scale enterprise operations. Their clients include Samsung, American Express, Nikon, Levi’s and some other top online retailers.

Expenses

License fee for the Hybris starts at $54000 a year but can go higher if you need more complex solutions.

The Magento solution aimed at large-scale enterprises is the Enterprise Edition, which for a Gold Support package starts at $22000 a year. If you chose the Platinum Support package the fees are determined by the revenue generated by the store. The lowest price is $22000 a year, in the highest category you have to pay $250000 yearly (above $100 million yearly revenue).

Hybris does not have a fixed pricing system like Magento, the company gives tailored offers for every business.

According to the experts the full cost of a Hybris implementation can be as high as 3-5 million dollars, not counting upkeep (as in hardware and professionals needed).

We can get a more precise picture on pricing if we have a look at an électure by Tero Juola, former CEO of VAIMO, one of the largest Magento developers in Europe, in which he talks about Magento and Hybris as well.

While development of Magento project usually costs $30000-250000 (on the enterprise level), a Hybris project can be between $500000-750000.

Hosting is also cheaper in the case of Magento. For $500-1000 you can get a stable, good hosting service. Hybris is however more demanding, for similar needs hosting can cost $6000-8000 a month.

Localization can also be expensive, the number of working hours put in can increase the budget. According to Juola while some developers can be done with localization in 4-37 hours, in case of a Hybris system it is more likely to hit 500-2000 working hours.

SAP Hybris has another great pricing problem which has to do with it being aimed at B2B enterprise applications.

Those who run a SAP system need a Named User License or NUL for every singe customer. This is a unique identifier assigned to every on of them, but the problem is not this. It’s that a NUL license costs $89 for every one of them and an additional 18% per year.

For a million customers this means a one time cost of $89 million and an additional $16 million per year.

In the past years many companies have got around this by using a weakness of the system and using a single NUL in every webshop. All purchases ran through this one license which made it significantly cheaper, however terms of usage prohibit this practice today.

As a consequence for those who sell less expensive products with a lower average order value in B2C it’s not worth it to chose this system – even if we do not take the already high costs of development and upkeep into account.

But who in B2C can benefit from Hybris?

If you sell luxury products like diamonds, cars, yachts, watches, the costs of NUL can be easily covered along with the initial costs of developing and launching the platform.

The team you need

If you want to leverage all capabilities of Magento on the enterprise level you are going to need a developer team. You can employ them in-house or hire an agency according to exactly what your needs are.

It is certain that you will need multiple professionals – front-end and back-end developers, a designer, project manager, UX professional and so on. And you will need them to give their full attention to the project. You will also need people who are experts in data mining, handling databases, hosting and so on.

If we have a look at web developer communities, we can find one for each system: consisting of professionals who can satisfy individual needs. If you have the budget, you will have your team. However according to popular opinion, the https://www.solvature.us/blog/magento-masters-influencers/community of Magento is stronger, which is no coincidence since it is an open-source system, unlike Hybris. Therefore more people are engaged with it.

However Magento 2.0 which rolled out at the end of 2015 and within a few years replace most 1.x versions if all goes according to Magento’s plans has a much smaller community behind it with fewer developers and agencies.

You should also count on Hybris development being not only more expensive – it will also take much longer. One of the reasons for this is that while Magento is based on PHP, Hybris uses Java and is designed to suit large-scale enterprise needs. If you need special features to be developed it will likely take more working hours.

An advantage of Magento is that for both the free CE and enterprise-level licensed EE versions there are thousands of extensions and special features available. Of course integrating these will require professionals, because the system itself is complex and you can only avoid errors that the different applications may cause like this, but still it is a great plus to have these many ready-made solutions to choose from.

Features of Hybris

The platform of SAP is fundamentally different from other eCommerce solutions. Most platforms are aimed at small and medium sized businesses and do a great job of satisfying their needs - Hybris however play in a different league.

Omnichannel marketing

Traditionally webshop platforms are dealing with administration by integrating some form of CRM or ERP system, extending their baseline functionality.

Hybris has a greater agenda. They are not only aiming at companies with high traffic online stores but also those who sell both online and offline and would like to streamline their processes on every level.

This is how they came up with the concept of omnichannel marketing. The basic idea is that it doesn’t matter if you buy something from a brand online or offline, as a customer you get a consistent and seamless process. This can only be done if the system collects data from every available source – in this respect it is similar to a CRM, but it is on an entirely different level.

It collects data from 4 primary sources:

  • Internal and external databases.
  • Online channels.
  • Offline channels.
  • Data collected by sales associates, administrators and other employees.

This improves customer experience as the customer will be faced with similar communication on every level according to their history and they will be provided with offers the most suitable based on what they have purchased before. If they sign something offline with a salesman, the brand won’t offer them the same product in an email a few weeks later. If they buy something online, the brand can offer a re-purchase nearing the end of the lifecycle of the product.

This cuts the redundant communication and reduces the cost of marketing. If a company bombards their customers of potential clients with the very same message on multiple channels it is rarely productive – it reduces the effectiveness of the message and may irritate them.

A multichannel communication strategy that is not consistent may lower the chances of conversion and can be fairly expensive. But an omnichannel system can be much cheaper and more effective.

In addition it is of course an advantage that you can build a very detailed database. In it you can have every single piece of data properly stored that you got from your clients since they came in contact with the company and can be useful. This way you can target more relevant campaigns, segment more effectively, customize the customer experience and increase customer lifetime value.

An omnichannel system is also beneficial because it takes into account the multiplatform consumer behavior.

It doesn’t matter if they get in touch with the channels of the brand via desktop, tablet, mobile or other devices, every interaction finds its way to the same platform. If the brand can track the journey of the customer across platforms and channels, it can lower churn and cart abandonment rates and the number of those who may switch to competitor when they are browsing, searching for products.

This all sounds good, but we must also take into account that the system is aimed at enterprises who really possess all these channels and actively use them. If the company doesn’t have these, it may be a challenge to restructure internal processes. (Hybris itself considers this a great problem and has a dedicated consultancy service because of it so they can help companies where different channels don’t provide the right kind of data.)

Hybris Microservices

In 2016 Hybris introduced a new concept. They started to develop their own microservices which they sell in a cloud based system to their clients. These are components in a looser system that can be bought in a separate marketplace and provide an opportunity to expand the functionality of existing services.

This Hybris-as-a-Service system provides opportunities for example to integrate modules tracking interactions or manage loyalty programs.

It may be questionable how justified a concept like this is from a platform that has been offering complex, complete solutions for large scale eCommerce projects. Similar modules and extensions are available for most of the platforms on the market – one of the main advantages of Magento is that it has thousands of modules and extensions ready-made.

B2C functionality

As we have already mentioned, if you are selling products with lower value and lower average order value on a B2C market, Hybris is not for you. But as you can see Hybris still put great emphasis on B2C commerce. This is evidenced by the 360-degree view they provide of customers.

Besides personalized offers and discounts B2C sales are strengthened by targeted content delivery and dynamic landing pages.

B2B functionality

On the B2B market the system has great opportunities, it has many functions and features that make your work easier.

Hybris B2B Account Management can help you administer clients, users and groups more easily.

You can assign prices, products and product lists to clients in the system and even integrate an ERP system. You can also get detailed reports about traffic, costs and about how you use the previously set budget.

You can also create an administrative portal where clients can manage their own data. You can set roles, employees and budget and get reports about traffic and revenue.

If you use Hybris in B2B you can integrate it with external ERP systems (or other applications if necessary), this way managing invoices, prices, or providing an opportunity for clients to access the Hybris webshop from their own ERP is made much easier.

Features of Magento

The detailed features of the market-leading eCommerce platform can be found in many places, so let's concentrate on those relevant to this comparison with Hybris.

Magento, in particularly the newer (2.x) versions come with integrated SEO solutions, responsive design and with thousands of extensions available.

Users can register, purchase as in the case of any webshop – you can track their activity, run promotions, give them unique offers, upsell and cross-sell products and send out targeted marketing messages. In this regard Magento is a worthy opponent of Hybris.

You don’t have as much chance to collect data as Magento only leverages online sales channels.

But the performance is suitable for an online store of any size, provided you get a strong enough hosting service. You can run multiple shops in the same administrative interface with thousands of products that you can manage easily. WIth integrations (particularly Analytics) you can gather detailed data and communicate accordingly with your customers and audience.

Summary

The main difference between the two systems can be summed up like this:

Magento is a platform that can facilitate B2B and B2C webshop as well, however it is primarily used in B2C. Hybris however, despite having very useful B2C features, is mainly a B2B or B2B2C platform as it has very high costs.

Smaller, just launching shops or ones with smaller traffic should not choose Hybris – nor Magento for that matter, as there are more suitable open-source systems that can suit their needs perfectly. (Actually, if you have a smaller revenue or just launching your B2C store, Shopify may be your best solution.)

If you are thinking about using Hybris you should ask two very important questions.

Do you really need it? Are you certain that an open-source or licensed but simpler system can’t suit your needs? Great traffic, great revenue, high average order value, larger clients – if you have these, than you may really have a reason to stick with Hybris.

And if you do need it: do you have the budget? As you can see from this article, a Hybris system can be much more expensive than a Magento shop – and Magento itself is not a particularly cheap platform. Development requires more working hours and developers, agencies work with this system for a higher average fee – and also there are the licenses you have to pay.

Forr a large international corporation it may be perfectly justified to use a system as serious as Hybris, but for a medium-sized business it is worth it much more to have a custom-developed Magento shop with a suitably strong hosting service.

It is also true that Magento is a more versatile solution with more flexibility built into it. If your company has unique needs it is still a better choice in terms of budget. Even if you need custom development you will only have to pay a fraction of what you would for the same functionality development in the case of Hybris.

But if we are talking about a large corporation with several channels and with a focus on the most detailed data gathering methods available, and a corporation that has the budget for it, Hybris is an ideal choice.

Juergen Schreck
Certified Magento Developer and Magento 2 Solution Specialist

Juergen is a 10-year veteran Magento Developer holding multiple certifications. Combining more than 25 years of hands-on experience in software development and business management, his insights provide merchants with creative solutions to gnarly problems and peace-of-mind where the rubber meets the road – turning hard earned traffic into actual sales. Juergen is proud father of two, a foodie and a lover of jazz music.