Why Composable Commerce is the Future of Modern Enterprise Retail

Meghan Stabler, Senior Vice President of Marketing, BigCommerce
Meghan Stabler,  Senior Vice President of Marketing, <a href='https://www.cioreview.com/bigcommerce' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>BigCommerce</a>

Meghan Stabler, Senior Vice President of Marketing, BigCommerce

With rapidly changing consumer behavior and turbulent economic conditions, modern ecommerce must be “future-ready” – modern and agile, with the ability to quickly change and adapt, but agility isn’t always easy for enterprise businesses and their tech stacks.

Legacy technologies and monolith ecommerce platforms not only hinder your ability to deliver cutting-edge shopping experiences, but also limit what your teams can accomplish, posing challenges such as marketers not being able to make changes swiftly and developers spending the majority of their time on security and maintenance rather than innovation.

Modern enterprises need to invest in technology that provides the flexibility to respond to unexpected changes today and adapt to customer and business needs of the future. As Forrester research shows, companies with a future-fit technology strategy grew revenue nearly twice as fast as their peers.

The last few years have brought waves of unprecedented change — from explosive growth during the pandemic to the proliferation of omnichannel commerce. As consumer behaviors shift once again due to macroeconomics, enterprises must seize the opportunity to secure their staying power.

By protecting digital investments and implementing the organizational discipline required for value realization, enterprises will find themselves ahead of competitors and better prepared to scale when the economic cycle rebounds.

Consequently, enterprises must start thinking about what their customers expect and really understand what their ecommerce platform needs are for the future. A future-fit technology strategy will enable customer-obsession, because you can respond to ever-changing expectations with adaptability, creativity and resilience.

 â€‹Composable commerce is a modular approach that allows businesses to customize their tech stacks by choosing interchangeable solutions to suit their unique business requirements 

Throughout the pandemic, it was simple for businesses to spin up an ecommerce site and make it successful — because shoppers were forced to buy online. With shopping in physical stores no longer an option, buyers turned online for an increasing number of their purchases, including categories such as grocery or furniture, where in-store buying had been the norm.

Now, behaviors are shifting again to a post-pandemic world, but one with macroeconomic challenges, including high inflation and a possible recession. Research from eMarketer shows that 93% of US adults are cutting back on their purchases due to inflation, prioritizing food, gas and housing. Moreover, McKinsey & Company research found that 74% of consumers surveyed in July said they’re adjusting the quantity of their purchases, delaying purchases, going to lower-priced stores and switching to brands that cost less.

With increased competition for less dollars, it’s critical that brands stand out. Omnichannel commerce has never been more of an imperative. Over the last few years, the most successful channels that have driven ecommerce growth for brands have all been geared toward reducing friction — mobile commerce, digital wallets, direct-to-consumer and buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS). As shoppers are discovering products on social media, checking inventory online before visiting a store or buying on third-party marketplaces, brands are expanding warehousing and fulfillment capabilities.

Still, many businesses struggle to deliver these omnichannel experiences that shoppers expect — often due to legacy technology. Enterprises struggle to integrate their many technology systems, such as inventory management, point-of-sale (POS) and commerce platforms, because they weren’t designed to work together in the first place.

Without a flexible commerce solution that can adapt, it’s next to impossible for enterprises to proliferate growth across channels, regions and segments — particularly during economic downturns. The all-in-one monolithic approach ties together the front end — the digital storefront — and the back end — the server side, making it impossible to deploy functionality for one that doesn’t impact the other.

Although a monolithic ecommerce platform may work for businesses with limited requirements, this approach presents challenges for enterprise-level businesses with greater complexity — such as expanding into new regions or selling through several marketplaces and social channels.

That’s where a composable commerce approach becomes critical. Coined in a 2020 Gartner report, composable commerce is a modular approach that allows businesses to customize their tech stacks by choosing interchangeable solutions to suit their unique business requirements.

Rather than relying on one vendor for all of your business requirements, composable commerce allows businesses to combine best-in-breed vendors to create a robust, functional technology stack. This also means that businesses have the flexibility to customize their tech stack and replace components as needs evolve.

For example, La Perla, the iconic Italian lingerie brand, took a composable approach because for its mobile-first, customer-focused omnichannel commerce strategy across Europe, the Middle East, the US and Asia.

King Arthur Baking Company adopted the composable commerce strategy to provide shoppers with a seamless experience across its content and commerce sites. While both are styled to look complementary and consistent, syndicated primary navigation ensures one point of content entry for the global menu.

Using Algolia’s search and discovery platform, the brand also gives shoppers a faster, cleaner search experience by providing results from recipes, products and blogs. Additionally, customized checkout functionality integrated with Google Address Autocomplete enables a streamlined checkout experience.

Outdoor equipment brand Black Diamond leveraged composable to integrate content and stories throughout its site. If a shopper was looking to read stories about the brand’s ambassadors or athletes, they are presented with a clear path from the homepage to quickly get to content or products. This design ensures that the essence of the Black Diamond brand is ever-present throughout the site experience.

While content and commerce are connected on the site, behind the scenes, the separation of the front and back ends enables Black Diamond’s US and EU marketing teams to have direct access and capability to manage the site and campaigns without having to rely on developers to make changes.

Emerging from the other side of a global pandemic, ecommerce businesses everywhere can attest to rapidly changing consumer behaviors and economic headwinds — which goes to show that no one is immune to change.

And while a one-size-fits-all solution might be a quick fix for today’s roadblocks, a monolithic platform won’t sustain businesses in the long-term. Today’s modern enterprise retailers need a composable commerce solution that provides the flexibility and agility needed to respond quickly to unexpected change.