How online retailers keep up with Amazon & Co

How online retailers keep up with Amazon & Co

Composable Commerce allows online retailers to react agilely to changes in consumer habits and to leverage potential. […]

The latest figures show that e-commerce giants such as Amazon are weakening in their core business. For smaller traders and the technical teams responsible for the operation of their online trading platforms, this opens up the opportunity to regain market shares that were thought to be lost forever. To do this, e-commerce platforms must have functions that enable a high degree of personalization – because the constantly changing consumer habits and competition make it necessary to tailor offers for customers.

The answer to all these requirements lies in composable commerce.

The term “composable commerce” was first coined by Gartner in 2020. Simply put, Composable Commerce is about giving companies the freedom to choose providers that offer the commerce solutions and services required for their specific business requirements – for example in the field of embedded finance. This means that the best solutions can be (re)selected at any time to put together a highly adaptable technology stack.

Many retailers are still stuck in monolithic ERP environments that are inflexible and unsuitable for modern retail. Although the pace of digital transformation has increased significantly due to the pandemic, some companies still see little need for action. This has to change, because consumer habits are constantly changing: the customer experience must be smooth – from the shop experience, to the availability of the goods and payment, to delivery.

The difference between composable commerce and legacy systems is similar to that between Lego and a toy car. With the latter you can play the way it is delivered. But with Lego components you can build your own toy. One has only to learn to understand how the parts can be combined.

It is important to note:

  • Retailers should not simply replicate their old commerce system. Instead, it helps to think about the new composable system from the customer’s point of view and to define at least three strong customer journeys on which the relaunch is based. This is how you update the complete shop logic and not just the technology.
  • If you want to be successful with composable commerce, you should first decide which modules really make a difference. Is it the individual workflows, the content or the product data? Accordingly, the decisions for the initial setup should then be made.
  • The transition to a fundamentally new commerce system must be well prepared in the team. The organization should be adjusted to the fact that the project will not be completed in a big waterfall mode, but will be permanently improved in small, pragmatic steps.

In order to compete with Amazon and other e-commerce giants, companies have to make extremely personalized offers. This includes introducing new features, interacting with customers through the medium they prefer, and issuing customized prices or offers that apply only to that one customer.

This is often not possible with an old, non-modular commerce system “off the shelf”. The advantage of individually composable shop or marketplace systems is that the various applications can be seamlessly integrated along the customer journey. To do this, they should be based on open standards.

As customers demand more and more functions on trading platforms or across different touchpoints, companies must be able to react flexibly to the constantly changing business environment.

In today’s world, this best-of-breed principle is far more relevant and attractive than standard packages that force companies to use redundant or outdated technology. Composable commerce creates the space for this flexibility that a standard solution cannot offer.

*Alexander Graf is a serial founder and e-commerce entrepreneur. As CEO of Spryker, a software company for digital commerce, he is shaping the disruption of transactional business of all kinds. Whenever it comes to the digitization of commerce, Alexander Graf is a sought-after expert as host of the industry podcast “Kassenzone”.

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