The 4 Tenets of Composable Commerce: Business-centric

Linda Bustos

August 7th, 2020

Modularity, openness and flexibility are precursors to future-proofing a Composable Commerce solution that supports the ultimate end -- the unique and ever-evolving needs of the business.

The key challenge with legacy applications and the technical debt they too often carry is slow time-to-market for new functionality and ever-increasing back-end complexity that’s hard to manage. This means many new business initiatives can’t be undertaken, or can only be achieved with extensive effort, workarounds and risk to the system.

What’s more, monoliths have difficulty extending beyond desktop and mobile experiences to serve today’s multi-touchpoint customer journeys including in-store digital, voice, AR/VR, IoT and chatbots, and modern backoffice experiences like dedicated sales apps, reporting dashboards, customer service consoles and business user tooling.

Remember, the ‘B’ in PBC represents business capability. This means they are well defined and recongized as such by business users, versus consisting of a single point API. Beyond the application itself, how can composable components give business leaders end-to-end control over new experiences?

Business user tooling

Technical agility is achieved with modularity, openness and flexibility. Business agility is supported by delivery options that provide business user control over configurable logic and rules (such as adjusting search and merchandising, configuring promotions and managing content) as well as presentation. Nothing slows down business agility than reliance on IT!

For many organizations, the first step towards this was best-of-breed content management and digital experience platforms. In a fully headless, modular environment, it’s important that business actions can be administered, managed and measured through user-friendly dashboards and tooling.

Rather than a suite of solutions with separate logins and UI, a unified experience supports faster onboarding, administration and updates to content and offers.

Advanced backoffice solutions

Open architecture supports mashups between services, leveraging APIs to support unique and innovative solutions across all areas of your business and customer experience.

For example, a customer support tool like Zendesk can be integrated with commerce services to create a custom dashboard for customer support agents (i.e. a custom front-end “head” for backoffice operations) that pulls order history, details, search orders, lookup by customer and view shipping and payment status. Rather than flip between application dashboards and weed through menus and screens, agents can serve customers faster and more efficiently through a unified interface.

The beauty of headless architecture and modular commerce services is any backoffice experience can be crafted and customized in a manner similar to the consumer’s front end.

Evolving business models

Composable architecture not only future-proofs your platform, but enables you to leverage reusable services across multiple business channels such as wholesale and distributor portals, and to customize your logic to support B2B/B2C, B2B2C, B2C2C and more.

For example, should your new models require updated or parallel order management, PIM or payment gateways, they can be integrated with core capabilities like catalog, inventory and search. Custom business logic for pricing, tax, account management and more can be configured through APIs, led by business requirements.

Empowerment through Business-IT collaboration

Business leaders tasked with digital transformation require strong IT support, while IT requires the technical agility to align its projects to business drivers.

Gartner asserts that “future digital commerce experiences will be constructed by collaborative business-IT “fusion” teams using packaged business capabilities. The technical and business agility Composable Commerce fosters across the organization enables business units to explore new business models, greenfield projects, expansion to new markets and the evolution of customer experience.

Adopting composable applications democratizes technology so business units can shape their own solutions within the organization. For example, a B2B unit can develop a digital experience that supports different account data fields and logic, onboarding processes, catalog and pricing behavior, rules-based promotions and customized cart and checkout. Reusable services and data that should be shared across the enterprise can be shared, while the pieces that must be bespoke can be, rather than implementing separate, siloed systems for different channels.

Is going composable right for your organization?

For organizations that truly want to deliver uniqueness at speed, Composable Commerce opens the door to highly flexible, business-centric operations that are best-of-breed and future-proof.

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Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.