Composable Commerce: Bringing the Future of Digital to Life
The retail industry has seen many shifts over the last decade, but the pandemic drove retail digitalization initiatives to unprecedented levels. Digital commerce has evolved from managing a single channel to an elaborate landscape with multiple touchpoints. Coupled with consumer demand for modern digital experiences, businesses can no longer rely on outdated legacy platforms. Out of this demand for innovation in the e-commerce space came the composable commerce movement.
Brand manufacturers have a lot at stake: E-commerce in Q3 of 2022 increased by nearly 11 percent from the same period in 2021, and sales were still trending northward. Online sales are forecasted to grow by 56 percent in the coming years, reaching about $8.1 trillion by 2026. To reap the rewards, retailers must optimize the entire customer journey. However, many are still struggling to implement the necessary infrastructure, relying on monolithic legacy systems that are rigid and difficult to navigate, forcing them to compromise on their vision and failing customers seeking innovative experiences.
Adapting to Commerce in 2023
According to Forrester’s 2023 commerce predictions, commerce operations will prove a central focus for companies that haven't kept pace with current technology. A third of digital businesses will abandon the legacy, complex commerce systems that no longer serve them. Agility has become a significant factor in an organization's ability to adapt to a rapidly changing market — and satisfy customer needs. Composable commerce empowers brands to breathe life into unique digital visions and create innovative product experiences that drive conversion, loyalty and revenue.
The pivot is well worth it. A composable approach allows retailers to create compelling product experiences that fit their customers' distinct expectations, directly translating into increased loyalty, higher conversions, and revenue. Built on MACH (microservices, API, cloud, and headless) architecture, it improves flexibility and accelerates speed-to-market. The result? A faster, more adaptable commerce solution, arming digital leaders with tools to bring their vision to life and deliver tangible benefits for both brands and consumers.
Exploring Composable Commerce
Regardless of great technological strides, most commerce platforms are constrained by rigid solutions that are ill-suited to meet the needs of companies with unique product assortments, checkout processes, channels, and more. These brands still run on antiquated, monolithic commerce platforms that are inflexible and clunky, causing them to force-fit “out-of-the-box” functionality or spend time and money on workarounds and reliance on IT teams. As retailers scale and reorganize, legacy technologies are unsustainable, creating problems including slower page load times, a top priority for online shoppers. In fact, low latency websites result in lower bounce rates and higher conversions.
A composable commerce approach brings multiple API-first vendors into a complete commerce solution that fit together seamlessly. In place of the single vendor, brands can create a team of “best-for-me” components based on specific business goals. Moreover, its inherent flexibility enables brands to quickly add or change the components within their custom-curated solution as needed.
Early Adopters: Survey Says …
Companies that have reached a level of digital maturity and intricacy surpassing the capabilities of existing commerce approaches shouldn't be confined by legacy platforms as the only option for bringing their unique visions to life. Composable delivers the flexibility to create differentiated commerce experiences quickly and seamlessly. The approach is ideal for organizations juggling multiple brands, geographies, customer touchpoints or channels, and enables them to create buying experiences that correspond to their brand identity.
However, composable commerce is in its very early days. According to Gartner, 70 percent of large and midsized organizations will include composability in their approval process for new applications by 2024. Early adopters agree that the technology responds to current needs and sets the table for addressing future demands efficiently. Competition is fierce, and retailers embracing the opportunity to create a uniquely engaging value proposition will stand out. The overall outcome of an organization's digital commerce efforts ostensibly depends on the tools, technologies and processes utilized to produce results.
Hannah Jarrett is the director of product marketing at Elastic Path, a company that provides headless commerce solutions for digitally-driven brands to rapidly build, deploy, and continuously optimize highly differentiated commerce experiences.
Related story: Why We’re Going Composable