2/21/2023 - #culture-web #development #ecommerce
by: Marion Sainty

Since its launch in 2017, the Sylius framework, a Polish e-commerce solution, has come a long way. Praised by developers, adopted by agencies, Sylius is increasingly present in discussions. However, the first interested parties, the e-merchants, are still a bit lost and bewildered by this new solution. It's normal, it's time to take a look at the world of Sylius to help you see things more clearly.

1. What is Sylius ?

Sylius is an e-commerce solution developed on the Symfony framework. Its vocation is the development of custom online sales sites.

Sylius and Symfony

Sylius is a base that could be described as light, meaning that there are few features included in the base. You add brick by brick, only what you need. A lightweight solution that offers excellent performance and is easy to host and maintain.
Sylius is a headless solution ( where the front end is not necessarily attached to the back end) which makes it ready for PWA or to use with any front end technology and built with API Platform, a Symfony tool that facilitates the management of APIs and the interconnection with additional services: ERP, CRM, PIM, DAM, etc. via REST or GraphQl.

In order to continuously improve the performance of its tool, Sylius offers a premium version: Sylius Plus. This new edition provides more advanced module management to enrich the content of the web project and facilitate the work of the developer.

2. Why pick Sylius for my e-commerce website ?

The question is relevant because even if in principle any site can be developed on Sylius, there are many e-commerce solutions that may be more suitable depending on the type of project. If its strength lies in its ultra-customization, for what type of situation can we consider Sylius?

Customization and specific functionalities

Because of its modular nature, Sylius is designed for medium-sized companies with projects that require a high degree of customization or tailor-made solutions. Projects that are not standard and that involve specific developments, or original or complex architectures.

Sylius in action

What we mean by standard are product sheets, category pages with product lists, a classic checkout.

Here are a few examples of activities that go beyond this framework and require specific or customized developments:

  • you have a ticketing activity: we can mention the sale of tickets for shows like the Gérard Drouot Production website, or the sale of tickets for museums, like the Natural History Museum website.
  • you are in the real estate business
  • you have a travel website: for example, the site experience-mont-blanc.fr allows you to find an experience via criteria of location, date, duration and themes.
  • you deliver meals
  • you have a unique project: for example, the MyLeo platform is a project led by a French law firm, which aims to set up class action lawsuits. The platform must therefore allow the registration of actions, the management of administrative documents, the back-office administration of cases, etc.
  • you create a marketplace to connect artisans with buyers for the booking of workshops or training (example: pottery, jewelry, perfumery) or the purchase of handicrafts from artisans to individuals.

The list is not exhaustive, we could also mention other sectors that have very specific needs: hotel reservation systems (booking), ski resorts (weather, ski slope information, purchase of ski passes), management of car sales and/or rentals, cabs (booking a trip, calculating a trip), education (courses and pedagogical exercises, online report cards and grading), online quotations (insurance, materials, services) etc.

Sylius is particularly well-suited to projects with strong integration needs in information systems such as ERP, PIM, CRM or BI.


In essence, a B to B e-commerce site does not offer the same features as a B to C site.

When they order online, professionals have all sorts of specific needs:

  • order in quantity
  • order by importing a list of references
  • request a quote
  • access invoices in your customer account
  • give access to the "company account" to other collaborators
  • pay your order by invoice
  • etc.

As for the merchant who sells to professionals, he also has specific needs, for example:

  • hide prices to visitors without a customer account
  • display custom prices
  • insert tables for product configuration (when you sell in bulk, the price changes according to the quantity)
  • offer product customization
  • and so on.

Due to its flexible and modular nature, Sylius will be a very good solution for B to B projects.

You are still using Magento 1

Some e-merchants are still using the old version of Magento, which is no longer supported by the editor. Clinging to Magento 1 is not a solution, it is risky and expensive, despite community initiatives such as OpenMage LTS.
It is important to note that the investments on Magento 1 will be lost when switching to another solution, even if the solution chosen at that time is Magento 2. All code overloads, installed modules, style integrations, etc. will have to be redone.
Indeed, what is called a migration to Magento 2 is more a change of technology than a migration to a new version. Aware of this organizational and financial effort, a good number of e-merchants still have a store on Magento 1.

There may be other reasons of course, such as the poor performance of your Magento 1 or the complexity of the back office. If this is your case, and depending on your activity, it may be wise to consider a redesign of your site on the Sylius solution.
In fact, don't hesitate to read the Sylius VS Magento 2 comparison, which gives you plenty of material to think about in terms of the future of your e-commerce ecosystem.

3. What are the strengths of Sylius?

With its light base and composable approach, Sylius is a good compromise between the CMS (high level, pre-packaged) and the full-custom approach. Sites on Sylius show excellent performance, especially on PageSpeed.
It is ideal for customization, to guarantee a capacity for innovation and growth.
It is also a Dev eXperience oriented solution, open-source and based on the Symfony framework.

Symfony framework

Most popular OpenSource PHP framework in the world, Symfony's approach focuses solely on the business logic of the task at hand, not on the technology to be used.

A framework is a set of code that provides an application framework to the developer, giving him standard tools to develop quickly.

Symfony's main features are implemented with bundles (or libraries, or packages). A bundle is a set of files that allow the implementation of a feature, such as a blog or a shopping cart.

Sylius Bundle

Sylius is a set of pre-packaged bundles and all Symfony compatible bundles are compatible with Sylius. This offers a lot of possibilities, due to the existence of a very large quantity of bundles. These bundles are generally free and available on Packagist and Github, and allow developers to save a lot of time and effort when developing the project.

The reason why Symfony benefits from such a large community and such a large number of bundles is because this framework is used by other CMS like Drupal, Sulu, Joomla, and other e-commerce CMS like Shopware.


Le terme best-of-breed mis en avant par les équipes de Sylius désigne un approche qui consiste à choisir les meilleures solutions de l’écosystème e-commerce et de les faire travailler entre elles. Sylius permet une facilité de connexion et de dialogue entre différents services, ce qui permet aux marchands d’associer les meilleures solutions à son site e-commerce.


An approach halfway between CMS and full custom

An e-commerce CMS is designed to organize and manage the specific content used to administer an e-commerce site. It is an online software that makes it possible to easily create, manage and modify a website, without the need for technical knowledge of computer language.

In addition, the Sylius approach and the Symfony base allow and encourage great customization. The flexibility and freedom offered by this solution allows for great scalability: e-retailers can follow the rapid evolution of the market and adapt to consumer behavior in order to remain competitive.

A headless platform

Traditional e-commerce platforms closely associate the frontend (the visible part of the site, with which users interact) with the backend (the non-visible part allowing the administration of the site). In this case, any attempt to use other front-end technologies than those chosen by the platform will prove to be complex.

A headless platform separates the two, allowing them to be developed and maintained independently.  Developers can develop an interface using any front-end technology such as Vue.js, React or Twig without being subject to the constraints of the back-end. The independent back end can be used by other front ends or systems, such as a mobile application that connects to it via an API.

Sylius Headless

This model allows e-merchants with specific needs to have a site that matches their needs and image. In addition, because the front-end technologies optimize performance to the fullest, you will generally have a better user experience and smoother navigation, which significantly improves engagement and conversion rates.

4. What are the limitations of the solution?

If you're looking for a very high level out-of-the-box solution that integrates hundreds of off-the-shelf features, Sylius is not for you. Sylius only offers the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) features of e-commerce, the rest must be developed or provided by third party services.

  • The solution is mainly intended for complex projects or projects that integrate specific functionalities. The integration of these functionalities requires a significant effort, even if it remains less than that of competing solutions.
  • The solution is young, and must continue to prove itself to inspire the confidence of e-merchants.
  • The available modules are still limited in some areas such as loyalty or sponsorship.
  • The speech is very technical oriented, so it convinces developers and CTOs, but still has difficulty to be heard by e-retailers.

5. What about the community?

Although young, the platform, which has chosen to focus on the technical side, benefits from a growing community. New talents want to work on Symfony and have learned to work on this framework during their training.

Sylius community

Technical profiles particularly appreciate its modular architecture, flexibility and customization capabilities.

There are currently 5658 developers on Slack.

Thanks to its open source approach, the platform evolves very regularly thanks to its early fans who suggest optimizations, which constantly guarantees its users to have a platform that reflects their needs and evolves with the times.

There are currently 460 plugins created by the community (declared on the Sylius platform).

For their part, web agencies, which are constantly recruiting to meet the expectations of their increasingly connected customers, are sensitive to these signals and are increasingly setting up a pole dedicated to development on Sylius.

More than 80 agencies use Sylius in France.

Along with Poland, its mother country, France is the main operator of Sylius.
There are currently 850 sites in production in France according to BuiltWith (vs 250 in October 2021).

6. Sylius VS. Magento

Sylius is not a CMS in the sense that the solution does not offer hundreds of off-the-shelf features.
The mission of the editor is to fill a big gap in the e-commerce market: an approach halfway between the CMS and the full-custom.

Sylius wants to offer the best of both worlds: basic e-commerce features, to avoid starting from scratch, coupled with the power and flexibility of the Symfony framework.
To draw an analogy, with Sylius you have to assemble bricks to build a wall on solid foundations. With Magento, the whole wall comes together and sometimes you have to deconstruct it to adapt it to your needs.

You can read the Sylius vs Magento comparison available on the Sylius website.

7. Sylius VS Prestashop

Prestashop is a monolithic approach to e-commerce, an off-the-shelf solution designed to meet the needs and challenges of small stores. A very small percentage of PrestaShop stores generate more than 1M€ of sales. The average turnover of Prestashop stores is around 300K€ per year.

Prestashop and its monolithic architecture respond very well to simple needs at early stages of development but is not sufficiently scalable to respond optimally over the long term. Sylius will allow you to have a scalable solution that will meet the challenges of growth from 1 to 2M€ of turnover up to... 100, 200, 300M€ of turnover.

Prestashop is a user-oriented CMS to create an e-commerce site quickly and easily. The module offers a basic version that is nevertheless limited, leading you to quickly get your hands in the code to achieve a minimum of customization.

Sylius is based on the principle of "Use What You Need", allowing you to focus only on the necessary functionalities and therefore reduce maintenance costs. The framework is already receptive to new uses (API Centric) and responsive interfaces (ReactJS). It offers better performance control thanks to connections to third-party systems (CRM, ERP, WMS) and benefits from an active community as well as Symfony2's catalog of open source bundles. Sylius is aimed at merchants with specific needs who want to improve the stability of their e-commerce activity over time.


8. Sustainability of the solution?

The durability of the solution is ensured by its technical base: the Symfony framework.
As explained above, the community is bottom-up, developers learn to use Symfony during their training. We can also mention the growing enthusiasm of agencies and e-merchants who invest in the solution by creating more and more stores on Sylius.

Finally, we can mention the platform's scalability, which is an unprecedented argument. Merchants no longer have to worry about the relevance of their platform and can maintain it at the highest level, without necessarily having to redesign or change their solution. Sylius allows them to stay current and adapt as needed.

9. Costs and deadlines ?

As for any e-commerce project and no matter what technical solution is chosen, it is impossible to position oneself on the costs and deadlines without having first studied the specifications. Each project is unique and each company has particular needs which sometimes require specific developments and thus a precise costing.
Nevertheless, the maintenance costs will be lower on a site that has been custom developed from the start, compared to a platform that would have had to be twisted and turned to fit the needs.

What we can say is that Sylius offers two versions. The so-called "OpenSource" version is freely available.
The second version, Sylius Plus, is also open source, but represents a significant cost. It is an annual license based on the turnover (GMV) generated by your store. The cost will therefore be different for each project, but it can be said that the license remains cheaper than those of its competitors for the moment.

Finally, concerning the timeframe, the design phase can be faster on Sylius for a very specific site, depending on the project. It's sometimes easier and more efficient to build a new house than to renovate one. Symfony has a lot of tools to speed up the writing of code to develop features.

10. Sylius OpenSource VS Sylius Plus

The basic features included in the OpenSource version are the following:

  • multilingual: you can duplicate your site in several languages
  • multi-currency: allows you to improve the international shopping experience and boost your conversion rate
  • promotions/discounts: promotion scenarios are provided but you can also configure your own rules
  • simple and configurable products: a ready-to-use solution for a large number of products
  • flexible checkout: possibility to easily swap, remove or add step.

The features provided by Sylius Plus are the following:

  • RMA (return management): customers can organize the return of an item from their customer account. From your dashboard, refund all or part of the order and choose the method of refund (monetary, voucher, credit note etc.)
  • Multi-depot: ship your products from the closest depot to the customer.
  • Advanced multi-store management: manage multiple business units and create different user permissions between units.
  • Loyalty program: create point collection rules and configure point redemption rules. From his account the customer can check and use his loyalty points.
  • ACL (user rights and profile management): assign specific roles to your team in your administration panel and manage access to the different sections of your application

Sylius comparaison

You can consult the Sylius roadmap with all their forecasts on Sylius Plus.

11. Which e-merchants use Sylius?

Many brands already use Sylius, here are some of them: Dr.Oetker, Tikamoon, Intersport, HBX, Reiss, or the National Museum of Natural History.
You can find all their references on the Sylius website.

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