September 17th, 2021 | 5 MIN READ

What is Composable Commerce?

Written by author_profile_images Shaneil Lafayette

Shaneil is a Commerce Technology Advocate and Data Analyst at Elastic Path. As a part of the Product Marketing Team, she focuses on enabling the market on the commerce solution technology that helps digitally-driven brands drive revenue growth.

This blog post was originally published on Jun 21, 2020 and has been updated to reflect relevancy on the market.

As customer demands continue to evolve, more and more shoppers are growing tired of basic, un-inspiring, hard to navigate commerce experiences and are increasingly demanding more unique and engaging commerce experiences to not just gain their business, but to also maintain their loyalty. At the same time, modern digital brands are looking for ways to advance their business in step with these customer demands, disruptive trends, and future emerging opportunities. Though many of these businesses have dreams of revolutionizing their commerce experiences they still have not been able to make the step towards change.

Why’s that? Essentially their hands have been tied.

It’s simple, for the last couple of years, brands have really only had two choices:

  • Traditional legacy platforms
  • DIY microservices solutions

 

The Compromise

Traditional legacy platforms like Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Magento have been around for a while and come across as safe and simple due to their out-of-the-box functionality. However, the second you try to differentiate your eCommerce experiences outside of the “mold” they have prescribed for you, your “safe” platform quickly turns into a nightmare. Updates are nearly impossible to be completed on time and within budget. This forces a brand’s digital commerce experiences to remain cookie-cutter unless they have an in-house technical team or a hired agency to build it from scratch.

On the other hand, many people think they will achieve utopia if they build their commerce experiences from scratch with headless DIY microservices solutions. These technologies create a large degree of freedom for innovation, however, you will quickly come to realize that it is a risky choice. Stitching together all of the moving pieces are quite complex and requires significant time, resources and technology design work.

Businesses felt stuck because they always had to compromise. However, now there’s a third option that satisfies both: Composable Commerce.

 

What is Composable Commerce?

Composable commerce is a modern approach by which eCommerce teams are empowered to select and assemble various “best of breed” commerce solutions and compose them to satisfy their exact business requirements. With this type of approach you can easily innovate without the risk, implement cutting edge experiences at speed, and never have to worry about “Replatforming” ever again.

In fact, Gartner states that “By 2023, organizations that have adopted a Composable Commerce approach will outpace the competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation.”

This is all made possible by the 3 tenets of Composable Commerce:

 

Modular architecture

Modular architecture refers to the concept that each component of the architecture is a self contained system and can be deployed independently. This is key to supporting more agile delivery, faster time to market, and improved customer experiences across all devices and touchpoints.

Modularity has been difficult to achieve with traditional incumbent platforms due to its rigid architecture, and overly fragmented microservices due to its complexity. However, with a Composable Commerce approach you can leverage MACH for your backend commerce functionality and JAMStack for your frontend UI experience creating a modular architecture that is easy to optimize as customer needs and business goals change. modularity is seamless.

 

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Open Ecosystem

The open ecosystem refers to the freedom given to your teams to assemble best-of-breed components around your core commerce service by leveraging a library of assets, a comprehensive framework for integration as well as guides to reduce the time to compose.

This ecosystem will be essential in making integrations easier, eliminating vendor lock-ins, and providing flexibility for development teams to add quick capabilities.

Check out the Composable Commerce Hub and see our Integrations & Accelerators!

 

Business Centricity

Business centricity refers to the enablement of the business users on your team such as marketers and product managers to support business objectives and changing market demands efficiently without heavy reliance on IT.

With Composable Commerce, teams can leverage business user tooling, as well as business ready solutions known as Pre-Composed solutions to get your solution up and running faster without the risk and complexity of piecing together MACH based technology. This tenet is key in granting marketers and merchandisers the right amount of control over the workflow to engage with customers and respond to competitive markets at speed.

It’s important to note many commerce solutions will claim to follow a Composable Commerce approach, but will only have one or two of these tenets. In order to truly realize the full benefits of Composable Commerce, you will need all three.

 

How Can I Manage Issues That Arise with Composable Commerce?

While the deployment of these three tenets accelerate and simplify your Composable Commerce solution, many businesses still fear the possibility of running into issues with their stitched solution. Traditional eCommerce solutions are usually supplied by one vendor and thus, there is always a point person that you can rely on to resolve any issues. However, Composable Commerce solutions have an ecosystem of partners working together to power your solution. For most Composable Commerce vendors, this usually poses a problem for businesses, because there is no set person in place to address problems. At Elastic Path, we eliminate that risk with Composable Commerce XATM. This experience assurance de-risks composable multi-vendor commerce solutions by leveraging one central contact when issues arise so you can maintain your peace of mind.

These are only a few things we recommend keeping in mind when evaluating Composable Commerce solutions. To understand more about how Composable Commerce at Elastic Path differs, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help.

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