Are you an eCommerce entrepreneur running your operations on a traditional all-in-one commerce platform?
Do you also face numerous challenges on a day-to-day basis and wonder if there is a better way out?
You are not alone, and there are millions of businesses globally that started and scaled their operations on commerce platforms.
However, the eCommerce space has evolved exponentially, and we have reached a long way from monoliths to headless and finally to composable commerce. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all solutions, and businesses now are using multiple pieces of software to win an edge over their global competitors.
What is Composable Commerce?
Headless and all-in-one software proved to be a turning point in the eCommerce revolution and has helped traditional businesses get an online presence. This has worked perfectly for the past few decades; however, both the consumer and eCommerce businesses have evolved, and the market’s appetite has increased.
Consumers expect a lot of things from eCommerce stores which is usually super difficult or almost impossible for eCommerce stores to implement.
This is where composable commerce comes into the picture!
Composable commerce allows eCommerce stores to pick and choose different vendors for specific software needs on their store. You can have the eCommerce software of a completely different company and choose the OMS or the PIM from a different vendor.
This gives stores the freedom to quickly and easily implement complex features and manage every division of the company at their convenience.
Wondering what the impact of composable commerce is going to be like?
“Gartner, the market research leader, predicts that by 2023, the speed of new feature implementation for organizations that have adopted Composable Commerce will outpace companies that haven’t by 80%.”
You can build an agile technology stack by combining different commerce solutions.
How did we reach Composable Commerce from monoliths, headless, MACH to Gartner’s paper 2020?
Traditional CMS systems
The history of eCommerce has been an interesting one. The eCommerce industry started with traditional CMS systems in which the store owners managed everything from the servers to web pages.
Scalability had to be planned while keeping the hardware scalability in mind along with development costs for every small change.
This slowly evolved to monoliths which started internally clubbing the software structure like the database, application algorithms, and the page templates. This clubbing created a difference between the front and backend and allowed businesses to scale relatively easier than a traditional CMS system.
The problem with monoliths is the heavy architecture and a long list of features that you probably do not need but must run on your server. You must establish the infrastructure and security tools to ensure the workability of the complete software solution.
These problems gave birth to the introduction of headless platforms, which are more user-oriented. Headless platforms give numerous options to the admin to control and use every specific function and feature on their eCommerce store. You can create your own publishing environments.
Headless platforms are still one of the most advanced eCommerce platforms and have redefined how eCommerce businesses are scaled except for one problem.
Headless platforms come bundled with every commerce solution, and you have limited options to choose other vendors for specific features.
This is the problem solved by composable commerce!
Gartner published a report in June 2020 that coined the term Composable Commerce that refers to a modular approach. In this approach, businesses can select the leading software solutions and club them together in a customized tech stack.
Difference between Microservices and PBCs
Composable commerce uses PBCs (Packaged Business Capabilities) instead of microservices, as per the definition given by Gartner.
Sounds confusing? Let’s simplify it!
It is common to confuse Microservices with PBCs as these are complementary in nature. Microservices are defined as an application that solves a particular problem and has certain defined features.
PBCs, on the other hand, is a combination of various Microservices. The combinations of cart and checkout Microservices can be an example of a PBC.
As defined by Gartner, Composable Commerce uses PBCs and allows businesses to club them as per their convenience and particular business goals.
Benefits of using Composable Commerce
Now that you know what Composable Commerce is, let’s explore what it can achieve and why you should know it in detail!
Composable commerce is the future of eCom, and it is here to redefine eCommerce capabilities and scalability for growing businesses.
Personalising and customizing your buyer’s journey
The customer’s journey has evolved exponentially in the past few years, and omnichannel touchpoints are the new norm.
Gone are the days when most of the buying decisions used to start with a simple Google search and dominating search engines meant dominating the whole of the industry.
Customer expectations have grown, and social media plays a big role in this. The buying journey of users often starts from social media platforms, emails, and other touchpoints. With an all-in-one solution, you get limited with the customisations for each of these touchpoints.
However, with Composable Commerce, you can bring in different sets of software solutions for each touchpoint and club them together seamlessly. This means you can have a separate:
- CRM to manage customer interactions, including periodic offers, wishes, and other activities
- PIM to manage the products both at the backend and frontend and make changes across all touchpoints from one place and at one time
- OMS to manage the orders and fulfillment
- The payment gateway that gives you the most competitive rates
- and many others
The best part is that all these solutions can come from different vendors, and you won’t be locked in for specific prices from the “main” or “one” vendor.
To understand this with an example, let’s assume your customer wants to browse your products on social media and then place the order for the same on the mobile phone; this process would be completed using two different kinds of software.
You can also automate the next steps of the process if the customer wants to return that particular order to your physical store. The product information will be linked to OMS and PIM and will be updated automatically at every part of the complete journey. You will not have to make manual entries and the:
- Product quantities will be updated automatically
- Total sales figures will be adjusted automatically
- Data will be updated in your analytics software
- and much, much more as per your customizations
Optimize and adapt to changes quickly and effortlessly
Optimizing current processes and channels and adopting new trends in the market is crucial to eCommerce success.
However, implementing a simple new feature like changing the position of products on your store’s search or an offer like BOGO can be a huge task when dealing with traditional CMS systems.
The pandemic showed us that making quick changes in your eCommerce strategy makes all the difference in capturing the growth in the market. Composable Commerce allows you to quickly make changes in one particular division of your business without hampering any other parts.
If a particular change in the cart or the checkout requires you to change your software vendor, you will now have the option to do so. In the future, this also increases the competition among PBC vendors, meaning better and enhanced support for you!
Scaling your operations has never been easier!
Do you think you have outgrown your current vendor and now have the volumes to negotiate a better price with a “bigger” vendor?
All you must do is make the decision, pick, choose and make the switch. This applies to all parts of the business, including OMS, PIM, Marketing software solutions, and all others.
This also means that you can scale specific divisions in your business while other parts can remain the same.
Save a large part of your expenses
Costing optimizations is one of the best benefits of Composable Commerce.
Traditional, all-in-one eCommerce solution vendors were able to charge a premium price for specific parts of the software because every customer had no option but to get the complete software from that vendor. This, however, is not the case with Composable Commerce.
You can easily negotiate with different vendors and reduce your overall expenditure.
Another part is the reduction in the management costs of operations. It is pretty common for businesses to have custom requirements that are not fulfilled in all-in-one software solutions.
This is especially the case with OMS and PIM software, as every company has different sales and marketing channels, and every company nowadays is leveraging the omnichannel marketing approach.
If your current software does not have the capability that you need to reduce manual work and increase efficiency, you can switch to a different software and automate the majority of the processes.
This also means that you are free from vendor lock-ins!
You don’t have to wait until the contract expires. You will have the leverage to negotiate and work on terms that suit your business better.
Technology aligned to the future
The architecture of the Composable Commerce framework allows you to optimize your store for the future just when you need it. This means you will be the quickest in your industry to adopt new technologies and make changes effortlessly and efficiently.
Following the agile approach for your store
Composable Commerce allows you to follow an agile approach for your store’s operations and marketing. There are hundreds of ways of building your store’s sales channels and processes, and it is extremely difficult to guess which one would work better than the other.
Even guessing the types of software and the features that you should try is difficult, and Composable Commerce gives you the option to experiment with all of them. You can try different types of software arrangements for every part of your business and choose the best ones suited to your needs.
This also means that you can go with market leaders of every software, i.e., choose the best company and software for PIM whereas choosing another company for the OMS, which specializes in efficient order management.
This is called the agile or the iterative approach to managing and growing an eCommerce business.
Unmatched Marketing Capabilities
Composable Commerce is especially redefining marketing capabilities for eCommerce store owners. You can now optimize your business not only for the user’s experience after they land on your website but even in the marketing phase.
To understand this, let’s assume there is a company offering software that optimizes your landing page as per different reactions from your Facebook ads and turns site interactions into data for analytics.
Integrating such a system in your traditional software would be a cumbersome task, but Composable Commerce will allow eCommerce companies to integrate such software with just a few clicks.
This applies to experimenting with all types of marketing channels and making quick changes as per the results you get.
Problems with Composable Commerce
Along with all these benefits, there are also a few challenges linked to Composable Commerce that I believe you should know about. However, these challenges are more operational, and with the right approach, you can avoid these mistakes and have a smooth system at your disposal.
Managing multiple vendors
Having the option to choose different vendors also comes with a few challenges. It has been seen that companies eventually choose 30+ vendors for different software applications, and managing the contracts, negotiations, and support with all of these vendors can become a challenge.
Also, the traffic volume will vary for every software and management, and operations issues would also be proportionate to these divisions.
However, having the right approach and choosing a limited number of vendors can help you avoid vendor management issues.
Factoring in the Total Cost of Ownership
Switching to Composable Commerce would require you to change your current infrastructure and adopt the microservices architecture.
This comes with the cost of migration and training your employees with the new systems.
You need to keep in mind other one-time costs as you plan to shift your architecture.
Managing different user interfaces
Every software will come with its own user interface, and managing 10s of UIs for your store can become a challenge.
However, this challenge is solved by eCommerce stores by building a universal UI and linking that to every software, so the usage for the end-user (i.e., You) becomes super easy.
Training your employees and the cost of experiments
For every new software that you add down the line, you will have to bear the cost of training your employees. This also includes the cost of experimenting with new features.
This can be a pro or a con depending on your requirements and the level of your business. However, this cost is a pro for most growing stores.
Is Composable Commerce the right fit for your store?
You need to consider a lot of factors before you make the decision of switching to Composable Commerce.
It is the future of eCommerce; however, it is not the answer for every store!
Here are a few questions that you can answer to ascertain if Composable Commerce is a good fit for your business.
1. The goals of your business
You can access your current and future goals to get an idea of your technological business requirements. A traditional system or an all-in-one platform can serve your needs if you are in your initial stages of growth.
However, with a large user base and traffic, the needs of your business will grow, and you will get the need to integrate new features, which will be possible only with Composable Commerce.
2. The current state of functionalities on your store
An assessment of the experience offered by your competitors and the one offered by your store can give you an idea of where you want to reach next in your business.
If you lack some features that can help you beat your competition and your current software restricts you from implementing it, Composable Commerce might be the answer you are looking for.
3. Total cost of ownership
Before you plan on shifting your store to a new system, analyzing the total cost of the transfer and other linked costs is always a good idea.
You should be aware of the linked maintenance costs and specific costs charged by different vendors for particular parts of your store like the PIM, CRM, OMS, and others.
BetterCommerce’s Composable Apps
BetterCommerce’s suite of Composable apps is helping companies level up their eCommerce stores without re-platforming.
The set of apps that can be used together or independently include:
- B2C eCommerce
- B2B eCommerce
- Subscription & Memberships
Each of these apps is designed to solve specific modern-day eCommerce challenges and is helping companies globally reach their goals, beat their competition, and reap early-bird benefits.
Based on the Composable Commerce structure, these apps are easy to integrate with any technical stack and allow scalability beyond measures.
Wondering if you are leveraging analytics to the fullest in your eCommerce store or not?
Is your order management and product information on different platforms optimized as per your growing needs?
Wondering if you are personalizing the shopping experience for your customers with AI-based recommendations and marketing automation?