A composable and integrated ecosystem: understanding the benefits and how to best leverage


July 20, 2022

Composable commerce is a way for brands to create an experience that aligns with their customers' needs, expectations, and organizational goals.

Standing on the cusp of 2020, few brands and retailers could have predicted the huge upheaval to come—or the agility it required to keep up with customers’ changing needs and expectations due to the pandemic.

Some two-and-a-half years later, the commerce landscape is forever changed. The pandemic brought the limitations of monolithic ecommerce platforms to the forefront and highlighted the advantages of new, highly flexible, and customized composable commerce solutions.

Gartner first coined the term composable commerce in June 2020. They predict by 2023, brands that adopt a composable model will be 80% faster at implementing new features and capabilities than their competitors married to monolithic models.

Here’s what you should know about how composable architecture works with your ecommerce ecosystem.

what is composable commerce?

Composable commerce is a way for brands to create an experience that aligns with their customers’ needs, expectations, and organizational goals. It takes a modular approach to technology that allows brands to mix and match “microsolutions” to design a completely custom tech stack perfectly suited to their needs.

the four basic tenets of composable architecture

Composable architecture has several essential elements that distinguish it from monolithic systems:

  1. Modular design: Each component is self-contained and can be independently deployed and interchanged. That includes fundamentals such as shopping cart, CRM, and even PIM and warehouse management solutions.
  2. Open standards: Open standards allow brands to combine best-in-breed solutions using accelerators and APIs for maximum flexibility and customization.
  3. Agility and flexibility: Composable commerce technologies are flexible enough to allow brands to create a commerce experience tailored to their customers’ needs.
  4. Business-centric: Composable architecture enables brands to agilely respond to changing business needs and market conditions without heavy IT support, thus lowering the cost of innovation.

the advantages of composable architecture

When planning an upsell strategy, too many choices can be overwhelming. Instead, offer a few Monolithic full-stack applications are designed to work across various business types and verticals. That means they are rarely a perfect fit for any individual business. The advantages inherent in composable commerce solve the “one-size-fits-all” dilemma of monolithic ecommerce solutions:

seamless customer journeys

By using integrated APIs and accelerators, brands can manage even the most complex customer journeys with multiple channels and touchpoints such as chatbots, self-serve customer service, ratings and reviews, and VR enhancements.

no vendor lock-in

Composable commerce’s headless architecture means that brands can quickly add, update, and remove features without the high cost and effort of replatforming.

faster evolution and iteration

As business needs and customer expectations change, brands can quickly pivot to adopt new features and iterate with speed, all without disrupting the existing customer experience.

reduced costs and inefficiencies

Monolithic solutions often contain features that are either unnecessary or unconfigured for the needs of the business. With composable commerce, brands can purchase stand-alone capabilities and scale on-demand, lowering the overall cost of doing business.

leveraging a composable and integrated ecosystem

The beauty of composable commerce is the capabilities that make it a true tech powerhouse also improve your business operations. When you avoid vendor lock-in, you can focus investments on the services you actually need to compete without wasting money on the services you don’t. You can create a “best-for-me” system perfectly aligned with your business needs.

Composable commerce lets you meet your customers where they are. With retailers increasingly concerned about rising customer acquisition costs, it’s more important than ever to deliver a consistently excellent customer experience throughout the entire journey. The headless nature of composable commerce systems means you can continuously experiment and optimize your experience based on your customers’ needs.

composable commerce and the omnichannel challenge

Consumers are interacting with brands in new and unexpected ways. Social media is no longer just a social channel; it’s a sales and customer service channel. The new sales and marketing channels are game consoles, smart TVs, and home speakers. Marketplaces and mobile devices dominate the space.

Ready or not, commerce is omnichannel, and every touchpoint has the potential to be transactional.

Composable architecture helps you meet the challenges posed by omnichannel commerce because it decouples the frontend customer experience capabilities from the backend commerce platform. Composable solutions provide the flexibility to work with third-party tools such as PIM, IMS, and ERP necessary to support omnichannel commerce.

More importantly, composable architecture lets you launch and update new features faster and with more scalability. The time to build and launch a new channel or route to market is cut from months to weeks or even days.

PIM unlocks composable commerce

Product information is the foundation for all your product experiences across every channel. How a consumer first experiences your product sets the tone for their entire relationship with your brand. Getting it right is fundamental to your success.

Multiple best-in-breed applications contribute to the overall product experience in a composable commerce system. Product information flows through each of them, controlled by a series of APIs. PIM ensures that all your product information is complete, accurate, consistent, properly structured, and localized for your market. It’s the key to a consistent product experience at every touchpoint.

Inriver PIM is composable by design. It partners with best-in-class solutions, and in fact, it’s the only PIM on the SFDC app exchange. As a cloud-based SaaS solution governed by APIs, it’s a system that works with today’s headless architecture to grow and scale your business.


Gauri Chawla

Senior Vice President of Global Partners & Alliances

Gauri Chawla is the Vice President of Global Partners and Alliances at inriver.

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