Composable commerce: Everything you need to know
To succeed in ecommerce, brands that are best positioned to take advantage of the evolving technological landscape have a huge advantage.
This is why the right technical set up really matters. If you don't have the right architecture you may not be equipped to add new programs and technologies, or swap out old ones when they become obsolete.
So what exactly is composable commerce, and why is it commonly regarded to be the optimal technical architecture for ecommerce brands?
What is composable commerce?
Composable commerce is a technical architecture that allows companies to customize their online shopping experience using individual, interchangeable components.
Instead of being tied down by one single, rigid platform, composable commerce enables companies to choose and combine various tools and services to create tailored solutions that match perfectly with business requirements.
Composable commerce achieves this by building Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs). Each PBC represents a feature or function within an application and often comes from third-party software components.
PBCs could provide shopping carts functionality, checkout processes, or promotional tools.
Composable commerce takes advantage of multiple vendors, each excelling at providing functionality shaped to specific aspects of a system rather than depending on one provider to deliver an all-encompassing solution.
Why pick a solution that can do everything reasonably well, over best in breed for every part of the customer journey.
What are microservices?
At the core of composable commerce are microservices. Microservices are tiny specialized software components that perform specific tasks. With such an approach, individual pieces can easily be upgraded or replaced without impacting other areas.
Examples of microservices are.
- User Authentication Service: A microservice dedicated solely to user authentication that can integrate into various applications.
- Payment Processing Service: This microservice specializes in payment processing, integrating it easily into various ecommerce websites and apps.
- Product Catalog Service: An ecommerce-specific microservice that manages product information such as pricing, availability, and descriptions; multiple online retailers can utilize it.
- Recommender Engines: Many online platforms, including ecommerce sites and streaming services, use microservices to deliver a personalized product or content recommendations based on user's behavior and preferences.
- Messaging Service: Microservices like this one manage messaging and notifications efficiently across apps, email platforms, and social media sites.
- Inventory Management Service: This microservice helps manage inventory levels across different sales channels, such as online stores and physical locations, helping to synchronize stock information between them.
- User Profile Service: Social media platforms and online communities often employ a microservice to manage user profiles, including user data, avatars, and activity history.
- Order Processing Service: This microservice manages all stages of order fulfillment, from order creation to shipment tracking, making it suitable for use by various e-commerce platforms and logistics companies.
- Geolocation Service: Ride-sharing apps, food delivery services, and mapping applications often rely on microservices to provide accurate geolocation data for drivers, customers, and restaurants.
- Media Processing Service: Streaming services use microservices to efficiently process and deliver multimedia content such as video encoding, transcoding, and streaming.
These examples demonstrate how microservices enhance software systems' flexibility and scalability by breaking them into manageable components.
Benefits of composable commerce
Composable commerce offers numerous advantages that are particularly relevant in an environment where no single vendor can meet all your business and customer preferences.
Traditional commerce platforms typically bundle tightly integrated features and services into tightly integrated platforms, restricting opportunities between systems or best-of-breed PBCs or microservices.
However, composable commerce is designed as a modular platform, enabling each PBC to run independently, eliminating risks associated with tightly coupled services, and giving you more flexibility over time. Composable commerce's modularity also offers businesses greater reach into new customer segments, channels, and markets. Its business focus ensures you control iterations and innovation processes while mitigating risks and costs.
Composable commerce allows businesses to focus on only those features and functionality essential for their ecommerce operations, creating lean, faster applications that deliver superior user experiences. The approach enables the seamless combination of best-of-breed components, from content management to payment processing, to develop efficient solutions and deliver better customer experiences.
Composable commerce gives businesses greater control over their ecommerce application delivery in an ever-evolving customer. It makes managing customer experiences across channels simple while providing businesses with an effective future-proofing strategy for ecommerce apps.
On a technical level, composable commerce allows you to utilize an API-first headless architecture without the complexity and risk of vendor lock-in. This ensures components can be added or removed as required, providing quick responses to changing business needs and improving efficiency while decreasing system management and staffing costs thanks to modern technologies.
What are the differences between composable commerce and headless commerce
While composable commerce and headless commerce may share common elements, their approaches to decoupling and customization set them apart.
Headless commerce can be defined by the separation of the front end and back end, where all processes occur. This decoupling empowers businesses to tailor and configure customer-facing aspects of their ecommerce platforms with greater agility. Businesses can meet specific user needs and preferences more readily.
Composable commerce takes this concept further by dissecting both front-end and back-end components into modular, interchangeable pieces, allowing even greater personalization and adaptability for businesses to customize their e-commerce systems to their exact requirements.
Headless commerce provides the freedom to customize the front-end presentation, while composable commerce provides greater granularity. When modularly building out front and back ends, businesses benefit from precise options for tailored ecommerce solutions.
What Is MACH architecture, and how is it related to composable commerce?
MACH architecture refers to Microservices, API-first, Cloud Native, and Headless frameworks. This approach closely aligns with composable commerce principles.
- Microservices: MACH and composable commerce use microservices as flexible and scalable components of their solutions. These tiny yet specialized services ensure flexibility and scalability of operation.
- API-first approach: MACH architecture emphasizes the significance of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for communicating between various parts of an ecommerce system. Composable commerce depends heavily on APIs as they facilitate the integration of multiple services.
- Cloud-native: MACH architecture embraces cloud infrastructure as a solution that meets the scalability needs of composable commerce.
- Headless Commerce: Like composable commerce, headless commerce works similarly by decoupling front and back-end systems for increased flexibility and customization.
MACH architecture is the basis for creating a composable commerce system by providing all necessary principles and tools.
Composable commerce allows businesses to create tailored, flexible, and scalable online shopping experiences. By leveraging microservices and adhering to MACH architecture principles, composable commerce empowers businesses to stay agile and adapt to changing market conditions.
Composable commerce offers benefits like flexibility, agility, and improved performance. While related to headless commerce, composable commerce takes customization to a finer level. MACH architecture is the ideal framework for implementing composable commerce principles, making it a must-know concept for businesses looking to thrive in the digital market.