Unified Commerce,

Boost ROI and reduce TCO with MACH enabled Composable Commerce

In the world of retail, life rarely (if ever) stands still. And when everything moves as fast as it does in retail, the ability to adapt, change, evolve and innovate in order to keep pace with change become crucial factors to success. No one knows what will happen in three or five years from now, so you don’t want to end up in a backseat situation where you don’t have control over your tech. You need to be the driver.

You’re faced with a choice when it comes to software and IT architecture; stick with what you’ve got or invest and be ready for the future

We’re already seeing that traditional monolithic commerce platforms, with their rigid structures and limited flexibility, are proving inadequate in the dynamic landscape of retail today. 

Enter composable commerce. Built on simplicity, adaptability and open innovation, a composable approach to retail software means you can quickly adapt to customer needs and market dynamics.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What composable commerce is
  • How composable commerce reduces TCO (total cost of ownership)
  • How composable commerce delivers ROI (return on investment)
  • How composable commerce relates to MACH technology?

So, what exactly is composable commerce? 

At its core, composable commerce is a strategy that revolves around the idea of assembling best-of-breed commerce capabilities through the seamless integration of modular, independent components. Instead of relying on a monolithic platform that encompasses every aspect of the commerce experience, composable commerce empowers retailers to handpick and combine various specialized components, including front-end applications, and back-end services to create a tailored and personalized commerce ecosystem.

In today’s hyperconnected world, consumers demand seamless, personalized experiences across multiple touchpoints, whether it’s online or in-store. Composable commerce allows you to swiftly adapt to these demands by giving you the flexibility to integrate new technologies, experiment with innovative features, and rapidly respond to market trends.

Furthermore, composable commerce offers unparalleled scalability. As you grow and expand your operations, the ability to scale your infrastructure becomes crucial. Composable commerce allows for the seamless addition of new components, enabling you to easily adapt to increased in-store traffic, higher transaction volumes, or enter new markets without overhauling your entire commerce ecosystem.

“Ok, that sounds great,” you might be thinking. “But won’t multiple different pieces of software from different vendors be way more expensive than just having one solution?”

Look, it’s a fair question to ask because, on first glance, a composable commerce approach surely must cost more. There’s upfront costs, implementation costs,  and ongoing subscriptions all multiplied across different vendors.

But this is where the long-term view and investment comes into play. TCO really does mean ‘total’ in the truest sense of the word. It’s not just the upfront costs you have to take into consideration but your running costs and your potential future costs as well. And it’s the composable approach that represents the most cost effective option. 

Composable commerce reduces TCO by:

1. Eliminating maintenance and upgrades. Traditional monolithic platforms often require substantial resources and effort to maintain and upgrade. With composable commerce, retailers can leverage the power of modular components that are developed and maintained independently. This decentralized maintenance approach simplifies system upgrades and reduces the risk of disrupting the entire infrastructure. You can adopt new versions or features of individual components without undergoing extensive testing and reconfiguration of the entire platform, resulting in significant cost savings.

2. Making integration easy. Integrating third-party solutions and services is often a complex and expensive process with monolithic platforms. Composable commerce, on the other hand, embraces a modular and API-driven architecture, making integrations smoother and more efficient. This streamlined integration process reduces the time, effort, and costs traditionally associated with connecting external systems and services, payment gateways, shipping providers, or marketing tools.

3. Giving you flexible scalability. As you grow and expand your operations, you must scale accordingly. Composable commerce provides the flexibility to scale specific components independently. Instead of scaling the entire system, you can allocate resources to the components that require expansion, minimizing costs associated with infrastructure provisioning and maintenance.

4. Allowing you to experiment and innovate. Innovation is crucial for staying ahead in the competitive retail landscape. Composable commerce empowers you to experiment with new technologies, features, and services more easily. With its modular structure, you can quickly test and iterate on innovative ideas without the need for extensive system modifications or expensive development cycles. This agility minimizes costs associated with lengthy development processes and allows for faster time-to-market.

5. Putting you in control. The beauty of composable commerce is you can pick and choose systems and modules that meet your unique and specific needs. Not only does this mean that you are in control, this approach eliminates the need to invest in a comprehensive monolithic platform that includes features and functionalities you may not require. By selecting and incorporating only the necessary components, you can optimize your investments and avoid unnecessary costs.

All of the above combine to influence TCO and, when viewed as a long game, the composable approach becomes way more cost effective. This mindset also has the added benefit of giving you a much better ROI.

Composable commerce delivers ROI by:

1. Empowering store associates. By creating an ecosystem based around your needs and using modern, intuitive software you make life a dream for your store associates as everything is straightforward, optimized for its purpose, easy to use and works seamlessly. This means they can focus their energy on serving your customers and giving them the kind of experience they expect.

2. Giving you next level CX. By having a 360° view of your customers cross-channel behavior (and, in turn, giving them a 360° view of you) you can turbocharge your CX and put yourself in a position where you can give your customers exactly what they want – every single time. Your store associates are empowered, through this approach, to deliver personalized experiences to your customers, helping you go above and beyond customer expectations and stay ahead of your competitors.

3. Including evolution. A best-of-breed composable commerce solution is most often provided as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) with continuous updates being included. Since  continuous updates are automatically made available for all users the solution actually gets better as you use it and the value of your investment subsequently increases over time . 

4. Future-ready architecture. As we’ve mentioned, investing in composable commerce isn’t just about solving a problem you have today. It’s about laying the groundwork that the whole future of your organization can be built on. By embracing composable commerce, you can future-proof their business by ensuring you have the flexibility, scalability, and adaptability to navigate the ever-changing retail landscape.

How composable commerce relates to MACH technology?

MACH-based architecture provides the technical foundation that enables composable commerce. MACH architecture ensures every component can be continuously improved through agile development and that every component within your composable commerce set up is pluggable, scalable and replaceable. The principles of MACH (Microservices-based, API-first and Cloud-native and Headless) give retailers the control they need to constantly evolve with changing business requirements. 

MACH also gives you a ‘seal of approval.’ If a piece of software is rubber-stamped as MACH-certified by the MACH Alliance you know instantly that it’s already had to meet and pass specific criteria. What MACH does is ensure that the SaaS companies you’re working with are actually delivering what they say they’re going to deliver from an architecture perspective. For example, to be part of the MACH Alliance a software vendor has to actually be microservices-first and not a big, monolithic system with an API bolted on to it.

This is what composable commerce gives you. 

In Summary

Shopping behavior is changing, physical stores are changing, software is changing and competition is changing. And they will continue to change. These changes aren’t going to stop. Retail is in constant evolution and this means if you don’t change with it, you’ll get left behind.

Embrace change and build it  into your approach to software. Be flexible, agile, fast and responsive. But realize you don’t have to change everything at once. Composability doesn’t mean instantly changing from one software provider to fifty. It means finding the solutions that best serve your business. Focus on the things that increase sales, improve operational efficiency and provide a fantastic customer experience. Empower your associates with the right tools so they can serve your customers, give them what they want when they want, and always feel like they can say ‘Yes’ to any question your customers have.

With a new mindset and approach to retail software, you can build your own retail ecosystem to create the kind of omnichannel retail experience you know your customers want.

Talk to us and find out more about how composable commerce can help you!

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