Composable Commerce is a technical design approach that unifies channels (web, App, marketplace, store, customer service, etc.), master data (product information, customer data, store locations, etc.), and systems of record (finance, inventory, etc.) such that customer experience is consistent during every journey they take with a retailer across multiple interactions in diverse channels.
Composable commerce enables each channel to present an experience that is both highly tailored to the demands and specifics of each channel while being consistent with the overall brand vision of the retailer.
The composable commerce approach requires that any individual function supported by technology (e.g., calculating a cart total or adding a product to a wish list) is made available through a single application programming interface (API) and that all channels requiring this function use this same interface to execute this function. Since every channel uses the same data and function, there is no duplication in the retailer’s commerce technology.
Behind each interface is a discreet, separately testable, scalable, and deployable unit of code –called a “microservice.” Microservices are pervasive in modern technical architecture and allow engineers to build robust systems that can be rapidly and incrementally improved, even when many development teams are working in parallel.
Using composable commerce, a retailer’s monolithic applications are partially or completely replaced by microservices that can be individually enhanced, tuned, and scaled. Commercial software solutions that follow composable commerce standards can be combined with in-house microservices to give developers access to the breadth of capabilities they need to build powerful experiences for customers.
Development in a composable commerce environment involves assembling these many microservices together in highly coordinated patterns to achieve specific business features and functions in each channel, but where the customer experience can be maintained as customers move between channels.
This approach results in massively reduced system complexity and improves both qualities of code and productivity of the development team, giving retailers the speed and cost benefits needed to adapt to market conditions.
By integrating composable commerce, retailers can achieve unlimited flexibility and the following benefits:
• Consistent brand experience across channels
• Detailed insight into consumer behavior
• Improved personalized customer experience and customer loyalty
• Higher sales margins, and more frequent spending at higher transaction values
• Reduced costs in retail operations, marketing, and customer services
• Increased speed of change from high levels of developer productivity
• Lower operational cost and affordable scalability
Modern shoppers expect a harmonious online and offline retail experience, making it critical for retailers to have flexible platforms that deliver compelling customer experiences across all channels. Utilizing unified and composable commerce, businesses stay agile while meeting evolving customer expectations.
The author, Martin Ryan, is VP of Retail Consulting, EMEA. Martin is a senior executive leading Retail consulting at EPAM Systems with a wealth of experience advising retailers and brands on their technology strategies, software selection, and operating model, covering all aspects of retail, eCommerce and D2C business models and operations.