Sitecore vs Kentico: who is the CMS master of ecommerce?
It was an October afternoon when I walked into Loud&Clear’s digital agency’s office in the hopes of landing myself an internship. I was sweating. Not the kind ‘Oh I just walked up the stairs on a hot day’ sweat, I mean the kind of sweat that you wipe off your upper lip with a trembling hand and smudge your make up.
12 months later I’m happy to say that I am now their Digital Marketing Assistant (and a little less happy to say that I’ve learnt more in my 12 months at Loud&Clear than I have in my Bachelor’s Degree so far…). We are a full service digital agency and as much as I admire the Designer’s artistic flair and the Account Manager’s abilities to always seem busy but still have time to find hilarious gifs to send on Slack, I love the marketing side of things the most. I like seeing the analytics and I like following the trends of consumers. We have a range of clients and we use different Content Management Systems (CMSs) depending on their marketing agenda’s, budget and website traffic.
Recently we partnered with both Sitecore and Kentico. We actually used the Sitecore DMS to build our own new website. They are some of the most amazing and intelligent systems I’ve encountered and I know about South Korea’s schooling system. Before I started in my role I had no idea what Sitecore or Kentico were but after years of experience we know them like the back of our hands.
Sitecore is a content management system (CMS) and a digital marketing system (DMS) that is fully adaptive. It gives marketers a look into how people use their website and the opportunity to tailor this use. On their website Sitecore states that their system gives us
“the power to own every customer experience”.
For example, Sitecore allows marketers to see how many people in Melbourne have visited their website and clicked on a certain tab or page. Marketers can then use this information to tailor their experience and display different content or ads to different people to encourage them to behave as they wish while on their website.
If someone from Melbourne views a page on a website run by Sitecore they may see something different to a person viewing in Canberra for example. This ‘something’ is marketed for Melbournians which would encourage them to stay on their website, buy a product, donate, click on another link, leave a comment etc. Sitecore runs with the big boys in the CMS race and sets itself apart from other platforms like WordPress or Kentico.
These flexible and expandable features of Sitecore are accessible because they use a .NET framework, and have been since they were established in 2002. Currently Sitecore uses .NET 2.0/4.0; the same framework used by Toshiba and Canon. The use of the CMS is similar in look and feel to a basic Windows desktop with ‘Home’, ‘Content’ and ‘Media Library’ folders. It is a diverse system; anything can be expanded or overwritten in the name of customization.
In regards to ecommerce, Sitecore is best suited to those looking to sell small multiples of products rather than large volumes, but ecommerce is only a very marginal part of Sitecore’s complete capabilities. Both our own Sitecore expert and the Sitecore VP Enablement Services Officer for Greater Asia, Robert Holliday, agree that the best feature of Sitecore is the “very advanced personalization capabilities”.
I questioned Robert about Sitecore’s clients and their success stories. The non-for-profit organization The Smith Family uses Sitecore as their CMS. Robert informed me that they wanted to increase donations. Since using Sitecore “they have seen that overall donations have increased by 33% … that was in six months”. As well as this, of the total donations made to The Smith Family, 25% are now made online after moving to Sitecore. Robert did admit that Sitecore was quite a complex system to operate and that “if the organization doesn’t have a digital team then they should outsource”.
If Sitecore is the Ferrari of CMS then Kentico is something like the Toyota Corolla. It will get you from A to B (and at an affordable price) but with none of the sophistication and style that Sitecore offers. Kentico has been argued to have more of an ecommerce approach to its Content Management than Sitecore. Kentico’s ecommerce platform is well established and well integrated into Kentico since 2008 and as such allows its users to easily blend an ordering system into a website.
Our own developer claims that Kentico wins over Sitecore in regards to tailored customer pricing and individual product costs at the checkout (example: delivery costs built into the price at checkout). Global health has recently built its website using Kentico and say that it is “one of the best Content Management Systems [we have] had to work with; easy to understand, user-friendly with excellent documentation.”
It is used by more than 18,000 Web sites in 90 countries, and operates on ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server. It has been used by brands such as Sony and Starbucks. ZebraCaps were even voted the best example of an ecommerce project that utilized the Kentico CMS. Although they don’t quite match up to Sitecore’s standards, Kentico does offer some good personalization tools and customization options, however its interface can be slightly hard to use at times and has been known to be ‘fiddly’ in places. Kentico suits smaller budget projects with less ambitious goals.
In summary, if you have a smaller budget and are looking for a CMS to focus on a small ecommerce project then Kentico is the way to go. It is easy enough to use that a member of existing staff with some coding and development experience should be able to use it. However, if you are ambitious and need a powerful CMS to work on a project with many goals that include ecommerce I would suggest you consider outsourcing a team of professionals and go with Sitecore. Both may be very advanced Content Management Systems and have proven results but both offer a different product, and it is important that this is considered before either is chosen.
Suyati offers services in both Kentico and Sitecore. Would you like to know more? Then drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author:
April Lipson is the Digital Marketing Assistant at Loud&Clear, a digital agency based in Melbourne. When she’s not working on ecommerce projects, you can find her traveling around Australia in search of new sights and experiences.