The 4 Tenets of Composable Commerce: Open

Linda Bustos

August 7th, 2020

To recap, the 4 tenets of Composable Commerce are Modularity, Openness, Flexibility and Business-centricity.

Today we examine why its critical for your modular commerce components to adhere to open standards for true composability.

Open standards enable interoperability

So you have modular components to build your ideal Composable Commerce application -- how nicely can they play together? Rather than extending your platform through plug-ins, modifying monolithic backend code (and taking it off a clean upgrade path) or building siloed experiences, open commerce technology enables interoperability between services for seamless integration (and removal) of components. It also allows components to be customized to support the ever-evolving needs of your business.

How open standards support Composable Commerce

Agile integrations

Composable Commerce enables assembly of best of breed components around your core commerce service, including point solutions like Search, Tax, PIM and Order Management -- just to name a few. It also allows you to add proprietary solutions or apps developed by your technology partners and systems integrators.

Not all of these applications will have pre-built connectors to your backend systems, including your ERP, CRM and BI tools. For example, your ERP may not integrate with your Tax solution without workarounds. Your B2B instance many need to connect to its own Tax service. Or, your Tax application may not work well with subscriptions within your Payments service out-of-the-box.

Building custom connectors puts additional onus on your technical teams (or requires a systems integrator to build for you), delaying time-to-market and consuming budget that could be applied to innovation and delivery.

Open standards make integration easier and support technical agility, both in making connections and maintaining them as your ultimate composition evolves. For this reason, look for point solutions that are natively designed with open standards and MACH principles.

Extensibility framework

If out-of-the-box features don’t suit your unique business requirements, your solution must be customized. A solid extensibility framework including webhooks and data extensions allows developers to quickly add capabilities to your backend, enhance front-end experiences, and configure standard commerce capabilities. This is critical for keeping your technology up-to-date with ever-evolving customer demands and market opportunities (with less time and money).

Open accelerators

Once you’ve heavily customized your backend systems such as ERP, CRM, DOM, PIM and BI tools, you want them to sync with your commerce technology. And maintaining point-to-point connections across your entire systems architecture can be a massive effort!

Look for vendors and technologies with open accelerators that support various data schemas within your enterprise application ecosystem, such as accelerators that can support converting Java object to XML and vice-versa. This enables you to map your commerce data to the precise schema you’ve customized in other critical backend systems.

Consider the value of open accelerators in practice. When orders are created, for example, standard order schema from the ERP can be perfectly synced with and consumed by fulfillment systems, loyalty programs, inventory and customer accounts.

Of course, there are endless practical use cases for open accelerators in a digital commerce environment.

Prevent vendor lock-in

If it’s easy to hook up, it’s easy to swap out. Openness keeps data and connectors clean, and ready to plug into the next application should you decide to swap in or out any backend system, large or small.

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Linda Bustos

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