By Jack M. Germain
Sep 9, 2021 5:00 AM PT
Are you looking for a way to reinvent the traditional vendor marketplace? Consider adding composable commerce to your bag of tricks. This marketing approach enables businesses to bring to their brands a distinct method to continuously optimize their customers’ experiences
Composable commerce leverages multiple best-of-breed vendors composed together into a complete, business-ready solution. This development strategy mashes selected commerce components and combines them into a custom application built for specific business needs using Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs).
Companies with a composable tech solution will be 80 percent faster than their competitors when implementing new features by 2023, according to Gartner research. This marketing strategy is much like a symphony.
Retail’s Newest Tool
Consider that symphonic structure divides the musical score into parts or movements. Each one takes the listener on a journey. In the same way, the composable commerce strategy is a modern-day commerce solution built around the customer journey. It requires a host of parts or building blocks — such as CMS, ERP, search, relevance, live video shopping, and checkout.
It is up to businesses to select and orchestrate these components to deliver the right functionality to support ongoing needs. This is where composable commerce comes into play. It enables organizations to construct an e-commerce solution with separate interchangeable building blocks to adapt to customer needs that are always evolving.
Increasingly, commerce organizations are leveraging this approach to improve agility and flexibility. Composable commerce is one of the retail industry’s newest tools to help companies meet the sharp increase of digital commerce traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In a nutshell, composable commerce is the ability to implement your digital commerce solution in a best-of-breed manner. The other side of the spectrum is monolith solutions, which have everything included,” Johan Liljeros, general manager North America and senior commerce advisor for digital commerce firm Avensia, told the E-Commerce Times.
Choosing Composable Platform Components
Think of the composable commerce system as a new type of marketing platform. You adapt its functionality to fit your business needs, rather than adapting your business flow to match what the monolith system offers.
For instance, you pick your CMS, the payments processing solution, and the kind of search engine. You select the type of personalization, the hosting provider, and your commerce orchestration for check out, digital asset management, and so forth.
All those selected components will integrate like a modular jigsaw puzzle into whatever distribution resource planning (DRP) or CRM platform you use, Liljeros noted.
The initial cost to set up a composable platform is usually a little bit higher. But the long-term gains are much higher as well, according to Liljeros.
“You might have to invest a little bit more initially to integrate all these components, but you also get a much longer life expectancy from the platform, which you can adapt much easier,” he added.
That continuing adaptability can pay off in cases where a company’s business model or its customer experience changes. As expectations change, you can modify a composable platform much faster, which will save you both time, money, and losses to competition.
“When it comes to competition, that would be the other business value in this, not only investment but the competition. I would say, you will drastically increase your chances to outperform the competition, implementing new solutions,” Liljeros said.
Customer Requirement Planning
Liljeros cautioned that potential adopters need to view composable commerce platforms as a broad-based tool rather than a solution for certain industries. It is not about being a tool for a business-to-business or a business-to-consumer company. Rather, he said, it is more about how much flexibility will you need in the future and how quickly do you want to be to adapt to industry changes.
Instead, business leaders need to look at parameters like a company’s customer-facing requirements. How will customer requirements and expectations change over time? Will business leaders implement new business models, or will their industry require more flexibility in the business models moving forward?
Also, consider how a company’s value proposition will change over the next five years. What is the digital strategy, and, what will the IT landscape force require?
Thus, the industries a business targets are going to determine the range of modules its leaders will select to plug into the commerce platform, Liljeros agreed.
Right now, composable commerce platforms are in an adaption curve, he noted. Its growth curve as a business tool has been around for the last few years.
Still Unfamiliar Territory
As with all new technology, it can take some time for companies and governments to understand its true value. Meanwhile, founders of this technology continue to develop different platforms to develop their solutions.
“The concept of best of breed is not new. But it is now in a totally different way that the technology is so much further ahead to help it be more profitable and beneficial,” Liljeros said.
Avensia, like numerous other digital development firms, is on the ground floor of this new technology. The company delivers e-commerce solutions to retailers and business companies around the world.
Ground floor involvement, yes, but not a new business start-up. Avensia has been involved in commerce platforms for 14 years, working with bringing platforms that put all these components together and adapt them for clients’ needs.
Avensia works with do-it-yourself companies, retailers, and manufacturers to help them select different platform components and glue together integrations between e-commerce orchestration platforms, explained Liljeros.
Physical Stores Included
Part of this growing trend of plug-in or composable business modules for commerce platforms is a morphing of terminology. For instance, Liljeros rarely uses the term “e-commerce” because doing so reinforces a divide between brick-and-motor retail stores and traditional e-commerce businesses.
Instead, he refers to a more inclusive “digital commerce” term. The so-called e-commerce is becoming an integral part of in-store commerce, he offered.
In a broader sense, composable commerce solutions are technologies now found in physical stores as well. It could be the digital displays used for self-checkout, or the POS system, and so forth that reuse the same technology.
“We use different components in the stores as well,” he said. “Product information displays or personalization effects in the physical store can be exactly the same information that you use with online system services.”
The good thing about this, he added, is when you look at the results from a customer perspective. Different channels no longer exist. For customers, it becomes more of a coherent experience.
“If you are met by the same wording, the same pricing, the same campaigns, and the same offerings in every channel, you get a channel-agnostic experience which all retailers are looking forward to. This way of building a commerce system achieves making it easier to connect new channels to the system. That makes sense,” observed Liljeros.