Council Post: What Retailers Should Know About Composable Commerce

CEO of GroupBySaaS-based B2C and B2B product discovery technology for e-commerce.

To meet the expectations of today’s customers for a personalized online experience, retailers want to take advantage of the latest technological solutions.

One solution that e-commerce companies are adopting is composable commercea modular approach to software architecture that uses API-first, cloud-native applications to enable marketers to build a flexible technology stack that can be tailored to their specific business needs.

Think of it as creating the ultimate combo meal. Pick up your favorite burger with special sauce from one place and then go to another place for fries because they have just the right amount of spice. Finally, top it off with your favorite milkshake, which is only available at that corner store. Instead of settling for one perfect item with two mediocre ones, you’ve cultivated the best of everything.

Composable commerce operates under a similar structure, where retailers use APIs and software integrations to construct a customized technology stack using the best services and features for their business goals. Of course, bringing together different solutions from different vendors can also lead to challenges. It is a complex process that is best suited for digitally mature brands that are able to adopt a segmented architecture.

How Composable Commerce works

Composable commerce is a software architecture that moves away from traditional monolithic infrastructure. Ideally, it offers organizations the opportunity to build a custom IT architecture tailored to the organization’s unique needs.

With a composite trade, it is important to identify and prioritize your needs or most critical problems before evaluating potential suppliers. At this stage, understand the customer experience and where any discrepancies exist – starting from the first point of contact all the way through to post-purchase. Common features that companies are introducing first include chatbots, search, AI personalization and social commerce, all of which focus on the customer experience.

Benefits of Composable Commerce for Retailers

A customized technology stack is not the only advantage of a composed architecture. The flexibility of this approach can also mean that the organization’s infrastructure includes:

Easier adaptability

In today’s market, speed and efficiency are vital to a successful business, but using legacy systems can cause many slowdowns.

Unlike composite, where components function independently, monolithic architecture has components that are tightly coupled. This makes it difficult to change or add to the system. Changing one component requires refactoring the entire code to accommodate that change. This not only increases development time, but also requires lengthy testing. It can also mean that there is a single point of failure. It’s like high-stakes Jenga—one wrong move, and the entire technology stack collapses.

Lower cost of ownership

One of the perceived advantages of an all-in-one e-commerce platform is the number of services and features included in the price. But how many of those features do you actually use? Under the composite model, merchants pay only for the features they use, which can significantly reduce technology costs.

This flexibility in service selection also carries over into your technology budget. Instead of paying one lump sum price for bundled services, you can allocate resources according to your business needs. For example, if improving inventory visibility across multiple locations is a top priority for the year, you can dedicate more of your budget to investing in a robust inventory management platform.

Ability to innovate

Because changes can be implemented quickly and easily, assembling technology stacks create an environment ripe for innovation. The freedom to mix and match components gives merchants the ability to experiment with new features and test different business models with little service disruption. Teams can get more granular with experiences, optimizing for things like device type or how a user navigates to a page.

Challenges for Composable Commerce

Of course, composite trading is not a magic solution that can be created overnight and achieve instant success. As with any transition, there is a learning period and significant work. Before making a move, your team will need to identify priorities, examine potential solutions, and assess the capabilities of the internal team and what external resources are needed.


A composable approach relies on software integrations to allow applications from different vendors to work together. However, integrations are decided by vendors and not all of them want to work together. It is critical that retailers carefully invest in complex technology to ensure that the specific services they need to achieve their business goals can be integrated with each other.

Team Dynamic

Drastically changing your IT infrastructure is a significant undertaking that falls heavily on the technical team. Moving from a legacy monolithic structure to managing and administering multiple systems requires new skill sets.

Rather than having one large team manage the entire ecosystem in an infrastructure that can be assembled, it may make sense to restructure workflows into smaller groups to lead different areas that better adapt to the new technology structure.

A strong foundation is required

The infrastructure composition is best suited for digitally mature companies due to the customization requirements. It’s a very complex model that requires cross-functional collaboration among sophisticated developers to build an ecosystem that is uniquely designed for a company’s unique needs.

The right solution for mixing and matching

Finally, composite trading allows traders to build a technology stack tailored to their business goals, while giving them the flexibility to adapt to changing objectives. This allows innovation to be continuous and constant. Although it comes with its own set of challenges, the industry is moving in this direction, and organizations should explore composite commerce as an option to meet their customers’ desire for personalized experiences.

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