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Composable Commerce: The evolution in eCommerce

Iñaki BarturenSeptember 01, 2021

Composable Commerce involves developing platforms tailored to your company. Each feature is selected from a complete ecosystem of providers, and each one of them is integrated as an autonomous piece of your development.

These external integrations offer several advantages over traditional monolithic developments, which seek to be all-in-one solutions. They get faster loading speed even in eCommerce sites with thousands of products by being less bulky platforms.

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During the first quarter of 2021, Colombia experienced a 44% growth in online sales and more than 78% in electronic transactions. Aligned with Colombia's digitalization plan, which aims to connect 70% of the population by 2022, this scenario shows how important it is to be ready for continuous change.

  • In 2020, the concept of Composable Commerce was coined by Gartner to refer to the organizational model that companies can use to respond to changes in the behavior of their customers and the market. This IT consulting and research giant tells us that a healthy organization experiences change as a constant.
  • Composable Commerce arises from this need, and therefore it is much more than just talking of a new way of thinking about your eCommerce or a simple digital solution. This concept drives the JAMstack methodology or the MACH architecture as a digital solution for businesses; meaning the platforms are based on decoupled models whose various features are assembled as building blocks of your business, allowing your site to grow and adapt as your company grows.

Rapid deployment modular sites

Whether to adapt to customer behavior or new technologies, the essential idea is for your organization to be prepared. Thus, testing new integrations or removing deprecated ones should never jeopardize your site uptime with issues like server misconfiguration, as it usually happens with monolithic platforms.

This "modular" approach means goodbye to the idea of a single solution for all: the answer today is a specific solution for each business challenge. To achieve this, we can follow the notion of deploying software as cloud-based services for each feature, search engine, content, payments, among others. This model offers business agility and profitability due to the simplicity for both development and use from the customer side.

Let's visualize each feature as a block, a modular package waiting to be integrated into your system, which will have the shape of a tower for this example. Although each block changes the overall result by making the tower taller or wider, it does not affect what's inside the other blocks, maintaining the integrity of each one. That is the magic.

If you fail quickly, you will know how to correct it sooner. If you get it right fast, you can move on.

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Ecosystems open to innovation

This new way of developing eCommerce platforms is also directly promoted by the competition and innovations coming from service providers.

The above allows us to understand why, when searching for the concept "composable commerce", it is common to find results about "best-of-breed" solutions, referring to the best of their kind. The same provider specialization helps their services be top-notch, as is the Algolia search engine.

The key players in the new eCommerce trends are the members of the MACH Alliance.

  • They promote the development of eCommerce platforms based on Microservices ("M"), which connect and interact via API calls ("A") to cloud-based servers ("C") of each provider.
  • All the content is managed from a headless CMS ("H"), following the same objectives of providing greater agility and better quality to the digital experience in a microservice or a highly compatible block (HCB).

Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs): The basic piece of a Composable Commerce

The formal PBC definition defines it as software components that represent a self-contained and well-defined business feature. It allows platforms to have a particular function for their business scheme and end-users to use these features on the site. A PBC works as an assembled piece or block, where its integration does not condition or determine other integrations.

Think of your favorite online store and imagine buying three products. In your journey to acquire them, you will likely go through a catalog or gallery comparing prices, use a search engine, select your products in a cart, and even enter a discount coupon before payment.

Thus, from the cart, the payment system will interact with various PBCs that communicate with each other and allow your shopping experience to be completely functional. But internally, they are not conditioned; therefore, each block is autonomous from the others and bases its communication on API calls to establish a macro-operation (and an ideal experience).

Improved agility for eCommerce platforms

As mentioned above, each PBC is autonomous. Its deployment on your site is independent, and each has its own servers; this is why large businesses choose this development strategy since it allows them to plan every component as a modular unit.

Although we already mentioned some of them, deploying a Composable Commerce brings a series of advantages that are worth reviewing with it:

  • Agility in the deployment of features and new integrations at the production level.
  • Scalability: As each provider is responsible for their service, they are constantly improving their performance and efficiency.
  • Develops a custom business by having only the features you need for your business rules, not requiring unnecessary infrastructure, as is the case with all-in-one monolithic solutions.
  • Ability to change, create new experiences, and accommodate components. So change is part of your life as a business and not a constant challenge.
    • For your peace of mind, at Reign, you will find the best partner to join you on the path of transforming your old stack into one based on modular blocks or PBC's. We are partners with the best providers, and we know each component in-depth to create a solution tailored to your business.

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