The term “composable commerce” refers to joining multiple components to meet a merchant’s specific needs. Example use cases include:
- Multiple sales channels. Companies selling in channels such as web, mobile, kiosks, and social often require an extensible and flexible platform.
- Cost control. Merchants can sometimes reduce operational costs by choosing the features and vendors they need.
- Specialization. Cloud-based services such as product recommendations, customer analytics, and site search can represent best-of-breed functionality for a competitive price.
- Modular construction. Composable commerce uses technology standards that allow multiple systems to interact. This enables a modular platform with core, critical functions that can be enhanced over time. The result is a quicker go-to-market and lower upfront investment.
Composable commerce also comes with challenges, such as:
- Interaction with multiple vendors. Building a composable commerce platform involves adding products and services from multiple vendors. This requires dealing with numerous sales and support teams, agreeing to the companies’ terms and conditions, and integrating with their software.
- Service level agreements. Using products and services from multiple vendors complicates consistent and predictable service levels. For example, some vendors can handle traffic spikes better than others. Service level guarantees should be discussed thoroughly with each potential vendor.
- User interface. Composable commerce connects different vendors, forcing merchants to build a cohesive user interface on top of these components. The process takes time and money to create and maintain. And it must be repeated for every new vendor.
Selecting a Platform
The process of selecting a composable commerce platform depends on whether the merchant is launching a new platform or replacing an existing one.
When launching a new platform:
- Document the business’s needs. Start by focusing on core functionality. Then compose a roadmap of future, additional features. Focus the roadmap on capabilities that would differentiate the merchant’s offering or further enhance sales.
- Evaluate likely platforms for the business’s core needs. Most ecommerce platforms offer some form of composable commerce.
- Consider retaining implementation support or a single system integrator to cover all requirements in the roadmap.
To replace an existing platform:
- Identify areas in the current platform that will benefit from a best-of-breed vendor. Examples include promotions, site search, and order management.
- Create a roadmap based on this review to gradually migrate capabilities from the current platform to a best-of-breed vendor
- Migrate the high-priority capabilities first, then focus on additional features.
- Keep the old platform in place in case implementation does not go smoothly.
- Consider retaining implementation support or a single system integrator, as mentioned above.