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Composable commerce: Lego for modern businesses

Written by
Saad Merchant
Published on
October 20, 2023

Isn’t it enviable or deeply reminiscent for a grown-up business owner or manager to see kids enjoying the freedom of playing with building blocks - reconstructing, recomposing, and freely evolving what they create? Wouldn’t it be great if large businesses could flexibly change their processes and how they work, without it being expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive? Well, the world of data and application integrations has a new game-changer that actually allows businesses this Lego-like flexibility, and it’s called Composable Commerce! It’s a newly trending development framework that allows businesses to freely modify their tech stack, by adding or replacing software components and e-commerce features as per evolving business needs. Let’s put the pieces together to discover how it works…

How does Composable Commerce provide the building blocks for digital commerce?

Most digital enterprises implement big monolithic software solutions, or all-in-one platforms to provide a wide variety of e-commerce features and business capabilities. While this may seem like a great single-investment solution, it’s actually detrimental in the long run, as e-commerce businesses that implement a more agile and tailored approach are predicted to be the ones coming out on top in the future.

The need for composability in e-commerce

The e-commerce industry keeps rapidly evolving and there are always new applications, features, or trends that businesses need to adopt in order to stay ahead of (or even keep up with) the competition. As such, those e-commerce businesses that implement monolithic systems tend to struggle with vendor lock-in, preventing them from effectively integrating new e-commerce apps or features into their tech stack.

Turns out, blocks are actually the best solution to unblock businesses from this vendor lock-in dilemma. Yes, just like the composable building blocks kids build great things with. Introducing Composable Commerce, an innovative strategic framework that breaks down e-commerce software into individual software components or building blocks. As such, It allows businesses to choose each individual software service or business capability they wish to implement, instead of investing in implementing entire monolithic software solutions.

Read more about why businesses are investing in Composable Commerce →  

What is Composable Commerce? And what does it have in common with Legos?

As the name indicates, Composable Commerce helps build e-commerce experiences by stacking modular e-commerce components or microservices in favor of all-in-one monolithic software or platforms. It involves implementing decoupled e-commerce architecture, which enables businesses to easily add, remove, and recompose their tech stack with best-of-breed solutions or microservices from various vendors.

The building blocks or business capabilities that Composable Commerce enables e-commerce businesses to compose could include microservices like inventory management, shopping carts, payment gateways, product recommendations, advanced predictive chatbots, marketplace channels, and many more. And, just like with Lego bricks, replacing components doesn’t affect the rest of the stack, or in the case of e-commerce, adding or replacing microservices doesn’t affect data integrity or business continuity. Businesses can freely tailor their e-commerce experience with customizable, interchangeable components or “building blocks”.  

Sticking with the building blocks analogy, instead of the rigidity of action figures, Composable Commerce provides businesses with the customizability of Lego blocks. In other words, it provides the flexibility to rearrange or interchange e-commerce features based on evolving market demands, CX trends, and new technology and applications. So, for instance, if a better payment gateway becomes available or a cutting-edge recommendation engine is developed, businesses can easily replace or upgrade these components without disrupting the entire system.

Discover more about how it works in our step-by-step guide to Composable Commerce →

The Lego-like benefits of Composable Commerce

Building blocks aren’t just a great analogy to explain how Composable Commerce works, the customizable benefits they provide are similar to how Composable Commerce enables businesses, on a larger scale, to be:

  1. Scalable: Expand what you build freely
    With Composable Commerce, businesses can choose to deconstruct and rebuild their e-commerce ecosystem by integrating only best-of-breed services, as they grow, in a scalable way.
  2. Integration-friendly: Enjoy an open ecosystem
    Freeing businesses from vendor lock-in, Composable Commerce allows businesses to freely experiment with many new third-party services, APIs, and extensions to enhance their e-commerce capabilities. Just as kids combine pieces from various types of Lego sets to create complex structures.
  3. Adaptable: Upgrade and swap out pieces freely
    Like swapping Lego blocks to create new structures, Composable Commerce enables businesses to replace or upgrade e-commerce components without overhauling their entire system. This ensures adaptability in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
  4. Free from re-platforming: enjoy endless customizability
    When kids get bored of Lego they replace them with new Lego, not necessarily other toys. Similarly, with Composable Commerce, businesses don’t have to worry about re-platforming their businesses with every new generation of technology. It allows the flexibility to swap out old features and services for new ones.
According to Gartner, “Organizations that have adopted a composable commerce approach will outpace the competition by 80% in speed of new feature implementation.”

MACH & Composable Commerce - matching Lego blocks!

Most experts discuss Composable Commerce in the same breath as MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless) architecture. While they aren’t entirely synonymous, MACH helps explain the technology behind how Composable Commerce works. At the same time, implementing MACH architecture provides a solid foundation for Composable Commerce.

What is MACH architecture?

MACH is an acronym for software architecture that supports “Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native applications that are Headless”. Like Composable Commerce, MACH’s microservices-based architecture breaks down applications into smaller, independent services for flexibility and scalability.

API-first emphasizes the central role of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in enabling seamless communication and integration between various software components. Cloud-native signifies the design and deployment of applications in cloud environments, offering agility and scalability. Lastly, being Headless means separating the frontend presentation layer from the backend, allowing for greater flexibility in delivering content across various digital touchpoints. Together, MACH principles provide a framework for businesses to create agile and future-ready e-commerce systems.

How do MACH architecture and Composable Commerce fit together?

MACH Architecture and Composable Commerce are like two building blocks that fit perfectly together in the realm of modern e-commerce. The MACH structural framework aligns seamlessly with the Composable Commerce approach of breaking down e-commerce operations into interchangeable building blocks. Together, they offer businesses the foundation to create agile and scalable e-commerce ecosystems that can evolve with the ever-changing demands of the digital marketplace.

The missing building block for Composable Commerce: iPaaS

However, now that we’ve explained Composable Commerce, how it works, and the kind of architecture it demands, one crucial piece that’s still missing is the baseplate. Just like Lego blocks need a base plate to build all composable structures on, businesses can greatly benefit from having a central platform to build all their Composable Commerce integrations. That’s where the Alumio integration platform comes in!

Alumio iPaaS: The Lego baseplate of Composable Commerce

Alumio is a next-gen, cloud-native “integration Platform as a Service” aka iPaaS. As an API-driven, low-code integration solution, it helps businesses create, monitor, and manage integrations between multiple software, cloud apps, microservices, and data sources, from one user-friendly web interface. It enables real-time data exchange and synchronization. It provides flexible data transformation and workflow automation features. And, in the context of Composable Commerce, it provides the scalable infrastructure needed to build unlimited composable integrations with third-party services, APIs, and data sources.

The cloud-native advantage of the Alumio iPaaS for Composable Commerce

As a cloud-native integration platform, the Alumio iPaaS leverages the power of clustered microservices technology in order to provide exceptional scalability, customizability, and performance. It provides dedicated resources and multiple isolated microservices on a secure cloud environment, engineered to provide a highly scalable and resilient platform. Most importantly, Alumio offers a holistic visual overview of all integrated data flows and microservices and provides robust monitoring and logging to detect integration errors or conflicts. Thus, just like a Lego baseplate, it helps hold all Composable Commerce components together, enabling businesses to leverage the full potential of their e-commerce ecosystem.

Read more about the benefits of implementing Composable Commerce with an iPaaS →

Building future-proof e-commerce with Composable Commerce

So, there you have it, a quirky exploration of the connection between Legos and Composable Commerce with the Alumio iPaaS as the foundation block. Just as building blocks give children the freedom to boundlessly experiment with new structures, Composable Commerce gives enterprises the freedom to build flexible, modular, and optimal e-commerce ecosystems that freely evolve with their business needs. After all, it can be argued the future of e-commerce itself is composable, thus giving businesses the freedom to build and expand their online presence brick by brick, is one of the most effective ways to stay future-proof.

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