What is composable commerce?

Michael Poyser
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In today’s fast-changing retail landscape, customer behaviors are constantly evolving.

New and improved retail solutions emerge every day. You need a flexible technology stack that allows you to respond to these shifts rapidly and at scale.   

This is where composable commerce comes into play.  

What is composable commerce?  

Composable commerce is a modular approach to digital commerce. You choose the best solutions for your needs and piece them together to form a technology stack that’s tailor-made for your business.  

Gartner coined the term in their June 2020 report.  

Using the composable application approach, digital experiences are assembled as required, depending on the customer and touchpoint requirements.

- Gartner  

Composable commerce is: 

  • Flexible – You can deploy every part of your platform independently, from your retail marketing analytics software to your CRM system.    
  • Open – All your applications integrate with each other seamlessly, without locking you into a single software provider.  
  • Unique – Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, you can assemble a technology stack that’s tailored to serve your customers’ preferences and behaviors. 
  • Adaptable – With a fully modular approach, you can respond to changing business requirements quickly, and try out exciting new solutions with less risk.  

Read the 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics. Discover how to  transform your data into targeted marketing. 

Moving from monolithic to modular architecture  

Until recently, retail commerce platforms were built on monolithic architecture. With a monolithic approach, all the parts needed for your platform are tied together into one interdependent package. The front-end interface – the part that customers see – is closely attached to the back-end systems that power everything behind the scenes.  

Adding, removing, or changing the components of monolithic architecture becomes increasingly difficult and complex as your business grows. This can stifle innovation and leave you at risk of being left behind by rapid market changes.  

That’s why retailers increasingly favor a composable approach.  

Think of it like a Jenga tower versus a Lego set. Monoliths are stacks of Jenga blocks. Each block is dependent on the others, so you can’t add or remove a block without it impacting the stability of the entire tower. Composable architecture is the Lego set. Your solutions are made up of lots of independent bricks that you can add to, replace, or remove as your business requirements evolve.   

Composable commerce is key to staying nimble in retail  

You can’t afford to be chained to a monolith. One overnight market shift or technological development can change everything, so you need the agility to respond fast when it happens.    

With flexible retail marketing software built on composable architecture, you won’t have to worry about being held back by your own technology. You can build the technology stack your business needs and customize it quickly as your challenges evolve.  

The 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics


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