From made to specification bikes, to customising sports shoes, we all love the flexibility to choose what suits our unique needs and preferences best. So why shouldn’t it be the same with your business? Fortunately, composable allows you to do just that, and is becoming even easier to implement.
The best news is, you’re probably already using some form of composable system in your store. Maybe you’re using a separate website to your payment portal, or your CRM could be connected to your email tool. However far into the composable journey you are, this blog should help you understand more about how it works and help you take your first or further steps towards a fully composable digital solution.
What is Composable?
Composable isn’t a new idea, but it’s the future of online commerce. As shoppers meander through an endlessly changing set of sales channels, growing commerce brands need the best in class tools that satisfy their customer’s unique demands.
Brands with sites built on traditional monolithic systems find it incredibly difficult to keep abreast of new buying behaviours, especially where omnichannel experiences are a key part of the journey. As e-commerce leaders push boundaries and innovate beyond imagination, brands need to find ways to stand ahead of the competition. Traditional out-of-the-box systems simply cannot provide the perfect digital solution for each individual brand, and instead tend to slow down creativity.
Composable commerce allows brands to select best-in-class solutions which make sense for the business objectives, building them into a flexible and unique tech stack that can be constructed in a virtually unlimited number of ways. These components are seamlessly linked together, meaning brands are never welded to one single vendor, or stuck with functionality they may never use. They can easily join up new systems as the market changes, and remove dead weight that is no longer serving their digital experience.
Why is this important?
Where satisfaction is measured in milliseconds, an exceptional online experience is the baseline for any e-commerce site. Traditional monolithic systems are, by nature, woven together and difficult to adapt, which can make integrating new functionality incredibly challenging without huge (potentially disruptive) upgrades from the vendor. For retailers, making changes in one part of the system can mean risking unintended downtime, security issues and even payment failures, which can be disastrous.
Think of it like a game of topple blocks, each relying on the blocks around it to keep it stable. Making even the smallest tweak or moving the wrong piece can bring the whole thing down. Watch our video to see this in action.
Retailers need to be able to innovate and create at speed to keep up with their shoppers’ interests, or risk being left behind by an increasingly disloyal customer base.
And your website is only part of the story. Brands are expected to meet and delight customers wherever they are, and increasingly where they aren’t even expecting. From social shopping to voice-activated devices and the return to in-person shopping, having a complete experience allows retailers to continue to engage their customers wherever they are. Implementing a composable commerce architecture allows you to quickly plug in new features and connect new platforms without having to wait for expensive upgrades.
Why composable right now?
As acquisition costs rise and ROI from ad spend plummets, brands must prioritise loyalty and customer lifetime value by creating experiences which keep customers engaged from research to repurchase and beyond. Businesses focusing on digital experience, building communities, and creating content are seeing results.
However, the death of third party cookies means that personalisation is now trickier than it once was. Businesses should invest in collecting first party and zero party data which enables them to continue to personalise their customer’s experience with data they own and have been given more freely. In a composable world, this data can then be passed between different channels to make sure that wherever a customer is shopping, their preferences are available.
Finally, as more and more companies adopt a composable system, those held back by their clunky legacy solution are likely to experience issues keeping up with those investing in lighter, more agile systems. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2024, 60% of businesses will seek composability in new application investments. For most brands, the question is no longer, “should we go composable?” but instead, “when should we go composable?”
Advantages of Composable
One of the biggest drawbacks to a monolith are the hefty licence fees that come with simply keeping the system running. And if the vendor chooses to increase prices, brands have no choice but to find that budget, cutting into other areas of the business. Moreover, to keep up with the ever changing landscape and customer expectations or fix any bugs, vendors release huge, costly upgrades to update their functionality, allowing brands to compete.
Whilst theoretically providing more functions, a new update can often risk breaking the current system. Remember those topple blocks we talked about? Imagine placing a huge weight on top of that precarious tower, and see how easy it is to manoeuvre now!
Composable architecture removes the need for huge upgrades. By nature, each solution has its own functionality, pricing structure and benefits which you can choose to tailor to your business needs. Because of this, your investment is much lower in the long-run (although do remember, there is an initial set up cost for a composable build) Fed up of one vendor and want to switch to another? No problem. You can simply disconnect without breaking the rest of the system.
Producing campaigns with composable technology means you can create seamless customer-focused experiences without long delays. In their old monolithic environment, a client of ours complained they had stopped bothering with campaigns completely, due to the month-long process involved in back and forth conversations with developers to simply update their site.
With composable commerce, the front end is decoupled from the back end, which means content is untangled from code. Marketers can concentrate on creating beautiful campaigns to build trust and likability at speed, whilst collecting data across the journey to optimise as needed.
And the drawbacks
Composable means you can pick and choose the functionality you need from the vendors who do it best. However, teams will need to manage more and more vendors as your composable stack grows, rather than dealing with one single provider.
This may set off warning bells, and you’ll definitely need to consider this when selecting a composable system. Be rest assured, whilst this may seem more complex, the beauty of composable means you can select whatever functionality you like from the best in class vendors. This means dealing with platforms, agencies and partners who are expert at their technology.
Getting approval for composable may also be a challenge. For businesses who have a more traditional sales and marketing process, composable commerce can be met with resistance from teams who are comfortable with their current platform, regardless of persistent problems. Whilst this may be “good enough”, senior teams must be presented with the benefits as well as longevity of a composable system.
To mitigate some of this concern, you can start small with your adoption of composable. A strategic adoption of individual components, rather than a “big bang” approach, can feel less risky and can provide quick wins to help prove its value. If you’d like help doing this, chat to our team, we’re experts at composable and carefully unpicking brands from their monolithic architecture.
Finally, composable might not be right for you yet. Depending on the size and needs of your business functions, a composable commerce strategy may actually be more complicated than an all-in-one solution. If you require only a few essential functions or if you’re just starting on your digital journey, composable may give you far more than you need. Talk to our team to find out if composable is right for you.
Composable commerce is a powerful approach that can help businesses set themselves up for success in 2023 and beyond. If you're interested in getting started with Composable Commerce, Nemetos Tanasuk have a team of global experts who can help you navigate the process and ensure a smooth transition for your business.
If you're currently locked into a monolithic system, Nemetos Tanasuk can help you migrate to a composable commerce structure in line with your business goals. Take the first step towards success in 2023 by exploring the world of composable commerce and getting the expert help you need to succeed. Get the ball rolling and schedule a discovery session with one of our experts now.