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I've been able to find all kinds of documentation about specific features as well as marketing materials on these two offerings, but I can't seem to find anything that's a basic breakdown of these two products, their differences, are they apples to oranges, what the tech stack is, etc.

For example, https://github.com/SalesforceCommerceCloud/sfcc-sample-apps illustrates custom apps as a Node stack with calls to a Salesforce API. But it's not clear to me what core out-of-box stack is for SCC and how (if) it differs from the "regular" Salesforce stack that's programmed (as far as I can tell) in Apex.

Thank you!

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    Salesforce Core is more or less their CRM system whereas Salesforce Commerce Cloud is their B2C ecommerce platform (formerly known as Demandware) Techstack for SFCC is Javascript. SFCC brings standard ecommerce functionality in it's core like search, displaying products, shopping cart and checkout (etc...). So yes both systems are completely different applications even though they be connected (to communicate customer data etc.) but they don't do that out of the box.
    – empiric
    Apr 2 '20 at 12:09