Composable commerce is a concept that has gained substantial popularity in the last several years, and is poised to be one of the critical business differentiators in the year ahead for retailers. While the concept of composability fundamentally resonates with IT professionals, the devil is in the details (as it always is). How do you define composability when specifically applied to e-commerce and retail tech? How do you define the benefits of composable commerce – and the risks of not moving towards composability? And most importantly, what can you actually do today that will start the transformation from monolithic to composable?
What is Composable Commerce?
In contrast to the more traditional monolithic commerce platforms that package every part of a digital commerce solution into one large computing network, composable commerce runs on many microservices, each handling a distinct system function. It usually incorporates headless commerce, which separates the front-end presentation layer from the back-end e-commerce functionality, and then further subdivides the back-end into separate microservices that each perform a discrete task such as inventory management or a payment gateway.
That’s the what, here’s the why: breaking a system down into these separate microservices gives businesses freedom to select the best individual components for their specific business needs, and the flexibility to easily modify or swap them out in the future without serious rework needed to the rest of the system.
This has never been more critical than it is today. No industry has withstood the challenges of change more than retail has over the past few years. And we all know that rapid change is now a constant. The retail organizations that are “winning” are the ones who can adapt quickly, as are the ones that are farther along the path to Digital Transformation.
Let’s dig into the role composability can play in 2023.
Why is Integration Critical to Composable Commerce?
To be successful, not only must each individual microservice be well-thought-out, but also how it communicates with every other microservice within the system.
Without intelligent e-commerce integration, this communication between components has to be managed at an incredibly granular level, exposing a business to several serious complications in the following ways:
1. Not-so-seamless Customer Experience
In composable commerce, a typical customer journey will touch upon many different microservices, often even crossing different online channels. Without integration, your customer’s journey can become disjointed and lead to frustration and disappointment for them, and missed opportunities for you.
For example, if your CRM and email marketing components aren’t aligned, prospects may receive an email that alerts them of a sale that their region is ineligible for. If inventory management isn’t updating your e-commerce platform in real time they could purchase an item that is out of stock and the order then has to be canceled.
2. Low Visibility
A composable system has a lot of little things going on at once, and without strong integration a company can quickly find themselves in a data situation where they “can’t see the forest for the trees”. This leaves them at a severe disadvantage when trying to make business decisions that provide true customer value.
Essentially this is the business-facing version of the “Not-so-seamless customer experience,” where the business has limited insight into their customer’s overall journey, and can only see these interactions at a component level.
3. Reduced Adaptability & Increased Cost
The ability to quickly assemble (and reassemble) the best components for your business needs is one of the primary reasons to choose a composable commerce architecture. As you add or remove technologies to compete where your customers are, speed and flexibility are key. This is also true of partners. As you integrate with suppliers, marketplaces and other platforms and software to advance your digital strategy, your integration ducks need to be in a row.
This required adaptability is easily eroded without e-commerce data integration. Managing a network of custom built integrations built on legacy technologies is time consuming, complicated, and prone to unforeseen errors.
What to Look for When Integrating Composable Commerce
The platform you choose for integration needs to prevent the above scenarios through simultaneously addressing the volume of discrete microservices to manage, and maintaining the flexibility and adaptability so integral to the composable commerce approach.
Look for an integration platform that is:
- Data-Agnostic – A good e-commerce integration platform is data-agnostic and brings disparate data sources together into one cohesive and accessible space. This maintains your freedom to use whichever services you need now.
- Reusable & Customizable – To truly be composable, the system has to be modular and easy to reconfigure. Having reusable components as part of your e-commerce integration means developers don’t have to start from scratch with each new microservice you add, keeping speed high and costs low.
- Reliable – In composable commerce there’s a long list of different components to monitor to ensure their reliability to meet business needs, but that doesn’t happen if your e-commerce integration tool isn’t up for the job! Choose an e-commerce integration platform that is capable of flagging issues with pipelines in real-time to minimize risk and disruption to your customers.
- Secure – More connections can mean more security vulnerabilities, so ensure that your e-commerce integration tool has strong security protocols that prevent unauthorized access to your platform.
Get the Most from your Composable System with Digibee
The core philosophy of composable architecture is one that Digibee has truly taken to heart. Our modular iPaaS is purpose-built to increase freedom and adaptability to support a composable commerce system, or even to support your transition to one.
If you’re interested in how Digibee can help your organization evolve to a modular IT environment, we’d be happy to show you how. Book your choice of a 15-minute discovery call, 30-minute custom demo, or a 60-minute deep dive to learn more.