June 21st, 2020 | 3 MIN READ

What is Composable Commerce?

Written by Anatolii Iakimets

Anatolii is a Product Marketing Manager at Elastic Path, where he is responsible for the telecommunications and media industry.

Gartner has recently published a report on Composable Commerce that paints the future of commerce platforms in a cloud-native, multi-experience world. The report explains in great detail what Composable Commerce means and what is the value for an enterprise. In this post, we will explain what the critical aspects of Composable Commerce are and how it relates to other concepts such as MACH.

In simple words, Composable Commerce is a commerce application that consists of Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs). Each PBC is a software component that represents a well-defined business capability, functionally recognizable as such by a business user.

Why should you care about Composable Commerce and PBCs?

Composable Commerce allows enterprises to combine different business capabilities, whether from a 3rd party vendor or built in-house to deliver unified end-to-end customer journey, including engagement and post-sales relationships and support.

Critical Aspects of the Composable Commerce

There are several concepts and principles which enable Composable Commerce and.

MACH architecture

MACH stands for Microservices, API-First, Cloud-Native, and Headless. This architecture approach is an essential part of the Composable Commerce for several reasons:

  • The microservices-based architecture provides the necessary modularity that allows an application to be broken down in independent package business capabilities. Monolith solutions usually can’t achieve this due to tightly coupled capabilities which are not designed to be deployed independently.
  • The headless architecture enables businesses to deliver continuous customer journeys across multiple digital and traditional touchpoints. It also allows driving revenue growth by enabling new business models, for example, enable sales through connected devices.
  • The cloud-native aspect is crucial because it provides business with elastic scalability, high availability, and robust security. Also, it makes it easy for an enterprise to use only the capabilities they need on-demand without the need to deploy the whole suite on-prem or in a private cloud.
  • APIs are crucial for an enterprise to accelerate time-to-market for new experiences and business models. API design impacts how quickly developers can learn them and how quickly they can develop new channel applications.


One of the critical aspects of Composable Commerce is that it provides the enterprise with the necessary freedom to combine different 3rd party package capabilities in a single solution. To fully leverage the Composable Commerce concept having a single application consisting of packaged business capabilities is not enough. The enterprise needs to rely on an ecosystem of applications:

  • All applications in the ecosystem should consist of PBUs so that they can be easily combined with other PBUs in the target solution
  • There is a comprehensive partnership program in place to ensure that the business has access to a continually evolving ecosystem of vendors to choose from.
  • Vendors in the ecosystem should be pre-integrated, or there should be best practices available to integrate them in specific circumstances quickly.

Developer Tools

Composable Commerce is all about combining different PBUs provided by vendors and developed in-house in a single solution. This requires the availability of developer tools which enable:

  • Quick integration of different PBUs in an end-to-end Composable Commerce solution
  • Rapid iteration for cross-functional teams across the business and IT to deliver unique experiences and new business models at speed
  • Seamlessly integrate with existing enterprise IT landscape without the need to do large scale re-platforming projects

Education and Enablement

With the IT being the driven force behind the Composable Commerce, it is paramount to provide development teams with all the necessary education and documentation to:

  • Learn all the essential aspects of the offerings in the ecosystem to create a composable commerce solution and bring it to market quickly
  • Develop new experiences and commerce capabilities rapidly with the help of extensive documentation, how-to-guides, and best-practices

Explore how Elastic Path Commerce Cloud relies on the MACH architecture to deliver Composable Commerce.

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