Composable Commerce is More Attainable Than Brands Think. Here’s Why
From having their morning coffee waiting for them at the click of a button, to winding down with a personalized movie recommendation on Netflix, consumers are accustomed to personalized experiences at every touchpoint throughout their day.
Their expectations while shopping are no different.
And while retailers are clear on the need to tailor for individual customers each step of the shopping journey — from search advertisements to product recommendations — their legacy platforms offer limited options for doing so.
Cue the move into composable commerce.
If retailers’ monolithic e-commerce platforms were basic cable (with limited options from a single provider), composable commerce would be their choice of streaming services.
Composable commerce allows retailers to compile individual, best-of-breed solutions from multiple providers across the e-commerce industry. This means they can go beyond the offerings of a single tech stack and add in any new capabilities they’d like. For example, using different technology and tools to power unique experiences for shoppers across cart, checkout, storefront and payments processing.
The benefits of composable commerce are clear to retailers: Freedom and flexibility to create hyperpersonalized experiences for shoppers and agile technology that allows them to embrace the constant change of retail. But like any new technology, they’re hesitant to make the transition all at once — especially when it means moving away from technology that they’ve used for decades.
However, the beauty of composable means they don’t have to make the full transition right away.
Here are three reasons why composable commerce is more within retailers’ grasp than they might think.
Taking Incremental Steps Towards Composable Commerce Can Have a Disproportionate Impact
Retailers don’t have to go composable all at once — and they shouldn’t.
Because composable commerce is driven by an ecosystem of many different technologies and tools, retailers can take a phased approach to adding new capabilities at their own pace.
They should focus first on transforming the individual pieces of the shopping journey that have the biggest impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions. From there, the initial success they see will build momentum and justify further investments in a composable strategy.
Checkout, for example, is often ignored because it’s the last part of the e-commerce journey. However, because it’s where the money is — and if it goes wrong it wastes all the other work leading up to it — it’s one of the most important pieces for retailers to get right.
Legacy e-commerce platforms limit retailers’ ability to optimize the checkout experience by making it equally as personalized as the advertisement that brought a shopper into their storefront. This includes even simple things like remembering customers’ preferred payment methods and loyalty programs.
With a composable approach, retailers can simply swap in a fix for these features — as well as the 30-plus other usability issues that are disrupting their checkout — without touching the rest of their platform.
By phasing in their composable transformation and focusing on the areas that will have the highest return on investment first, retailers can offset investments in the rest of their composable journey.
Composable Still Means Business as Usual
Any time the word "migration" is used to plan a tech strategy, anxiety and hesitation tend to follow. Retailers that have been around the block a time or two know that migration typically involves complex and timely data transfers that can result in business downtime.
The modular nature of composable commerce means it doesn’t require the same migration complexities as an entire re-platform.
Instead, retailers can quietly phase in new innovations on the backend without interrupting their consumer-facing functionalities on the front end. And they can keep doing it again and again as they scale their business and address any necessary modifications or updates.
This also enables retailers to evolve as quickly as the e-commerce industry. A retailer that needs to cater to increasing demand in international markets, for example, can easily add in currency exchange features or offer different sets of payment options for that market without overhauling the rest of its e-commerce platform.
With a composable foundation under them, retailers’ technology will mirror their business needs — no matter how much or how often those needs change.
Short-Term Innovations Will Give Way to Long-Term Success
The further along that retailers get in their composable journeys, the less of their legacy systems they’ll have to replace as monolithic technology becomes obsolete.
Eventually, retailers that have delayed transformation because of their hesitations about a complete re-platform will have no other choice. We’re already seeing this take shape as older versions of systems like Oracle and Magento 1 are no longer supported.
Companies that begin capitalizing on composable commerce now, on the other hand, will be positioned to address any changes that come their way.
Composable commerce opens retailers up to innovation that's happening outside of their internal technology infrastructures, too. For example, entirely new shopping environments are taking shape outside of the confines of traditional in-person and online stores — e.g., on exercise equipment, in vehicle dashboards, video streaming platforms, etc.
While legacy, monolithic architectures are only set up for traditional shopping experiences, composable commerce enables retailers to extend their offerings anywhere.
Composable commerce is the complete opposite of the one-size-fits-all solution retailers have long been accustomed to. Much like the individual shopping journey, every retailer’s composable journey will look different as they construct their offerings around the needs of various customers, products and markets — and therein lies composable’s biggest value proposition.
Peter Karpas is the CEO of Bold Commerce, a tailored checkout solution for online retailers.
Peter Karpas is CEO of Bold Commerce, the company that powers tailored checkout and subscription experiences for leading omnichannel retailers and direct-to-consumer brands. Karpas has more than three decades of experience creating growth for ecommerce, payments and fintech companies and the customers they serve, having held previous positions at companies including PayPal, Intuit and First Data (now Fiserv).