In new commercial environments, retail players are facing a class of consumers increasingly inclined to buy online, seeking more personalized and convenient shopping experiences. Although the topic is not totally new as it has been around for years, adopting an omnichannel strategy still remains the main goal for companies in the retail industry.
The priority for retail companies is still to reach customers on the right channels at the right time. Consumers should feel free to choose the channel that best suits their needs, experiencing the best possible shopping experience regardless of context.
Composable Commerce is definitely one of the most interesting approaches to support the operations and dynamics of companies that want to open up to the omnichannel. In this blog post, we will illustrate what Composable Commerce is and its role in the retail industry.
What is Composable Commerce?
Composable Commerce is a strategic approach based on creating an ecosystem of modular services and technology components that can be combined and integrated according to business needs. On the one hand, this approach enables the creation of personalized shopping experiences for each consumer. On the other hand, it allows organizations to quickly adapt to new trends and market changes.
At the heart of Composable Commerce are the Packaged Business Capabilities (PBC). These modules, in turn, represent a set of components that share the same goal and perform a given task or business functionality. PBCs can be developed in‑house by the organization or outsourced by purchasing them from third parties or using open‑source components.
Such a composable solution implies a composable IT architecture, typically based on microservices that communicate with each other via APIs.
Composable Commerce in support of omnichannel strategies
The world of commerce has entered a new era in which consumers are demanding that organizations be able to handle frictionless transactions around the clock. Keeping up with the competition requires business organizations to react quickly to market trends that emerge every day. The key to achieving this Business Agility is to actively innovate and choose the ideal conformation of technology stacks to deliver a unified customer experience, including pre‑and post‑sales.
Specifically, companies in the retail sector today need to:
- Rely on a unified, real‑time view of inventory availability, integrating information from physical stores and return processes;
- Build a consistent brand experience across channels;
- Respond to customer inquiries (e.g., via chatbots or equivalent services) and take care of the post-purchase phase through all its channels;
- Support the adoption of hybrid products that combine and unify the physical and digital experience.
How does a composable approach support retail companies in pursuing these goals?
First, thanks to a composable solution, digital experiences are assembled as required by customers, depending on their requirements and the chosen touch point. The actual implementation of an e‑commerce site in this way becomes just one of many modular building blocks. In this way, the focus of the customer journey is placed on the customer itself and their experience.
A composable approach also provides greater flexibility in inventory management and product distribution through the ability to integrate different suppliers and logistics services. This optimizes stock management and reduces shipping costs, improving operational efficiency.
Composable commerce is a priceless ally in omnichannel strategies as it enables companies to create an integrated, consistent, and continuous customer experience across all touchpoints. Indeed, it will be possible to add or remove channels according to needs and preferences, integrate new technologies, and experiment with new approaches and new compositions of functionality for their customers.
Using the case of a company active in the retail sector as an example, one of the first requirements for achieving an omnichannel strategy is definitely to integrate its eCommerce with mobile apps, digital channels, and physical stores. With the concurrence of different PBCs dedicated to the various channels in a modular perspective, a resilient solution can be structured that is open to constant customization and future changes.
A traditional monolithic approach has several limitations to adding new channels and touchpoints, as a change to the application would require updating the entire stack. In direct contrast, a retail company that relies on a composable approach will be able to implement new technology solutions more quickly. For example, it will respond much more dynamically to the need to add new channels to communicate with new touchpoints, such as chatbots or voice assistants.
This is because PBCs are developed, implemented, and managed independently of each other. In many cases, PBCs are managed by separate groups of people with differentiated skills and expertise. This ensures the agility needed to build new prototypes and quickly bring new features to the market.
Mia-Platform solutions for Composable Commerce
Mia-Platform supports your composable strategy with its suite of products:
- Mia-Platform Marketplace is a software catalog that collects and provides reusable modular components that accelerate the creation and evolution of applications.
- Mia-Platform Fast Data is a set of ready-to-use microservices that decouples data from enterprise systems, re‑aggregates it and makes it available to channels in real‑time, 24/7, thus ensuring consistency of information across systems and applications.
- Mia-Platform Console is an Internal Developer Platform (IDP) designed to industrialize cloud‑native development and operations, helping you rethink your architecture with a microservices approach.
The big players in the retail world must aim to become what Gartner calls an “Intelligent Composable Business“, adopting an approach that allows them to “assemble and reassemble their components as they please”.
In fact, again according to Gartner, by the end of 2023, companies that have adopted a composable approach will be able to outperform their competitors by 80 percent in terms of the speed at which new features are implemented. Thus, not adopting a composable approach means falling behind competitively.
With this in mind, it will be necessary to begin the transformation to a Composable Enterprise. This can be done by moving away from a monolithic approach, supporting one’s omnichannel strategies with composability and a customer‑centric approach that ensures a personalized, efficient, and smooth customer experience. This is why it is important to count on reliable and innovative technology partners like Mia‑Platform, who can support you in this transformation and help you make the most of it.