The last few years of disruption have forced changes in the commerce landscape which have fundamentally changed the relationship between brands and shoppers. Customers have made it clear they want an omnichannel shopping experience that is easy, interesting and frictionless. They also expect brands to have the robust digital backbone necessary to meet their needs and basic e-commerce functionality is no longer noteworthy. Customers want to be able to use multiple channels on all their devices and see product and service insights and peer reviews all within the same journey. This means that all commerce, in some way, must become digital commerce.

The retail challenge is orchestrating technology to enable this rich, seamless experience. Limited scalability and flexibility, the high cost of maintenance, slow innovation and limited mobility are just a few of the key challenges holding retailers back. The traditional monolithic architecture used by many brands continues to give retailers a sense of doom when they think about expensive development costs and time-consuming code changes. All of this translates to a critical inability to meet the evolving customer experience needs in a timely manner and leaves retailers thinking there is no point in spending months creating an experience that customers wanted or expected last year. But what if things could be different?

In the heat of the market shift, the concept of “headless” commerce — decoupling back-end capabilities from front-end capabilities — stepped in to fill the gap between legacy storefronts and modern customer expectations. IBM Consulting believes in future-proofing retail organizations and partners with clients to go beyond headless commerce and bring the latest iteration of the composable storefront to life.

Composable storefront characteristics

A composable storefront, sometimes referred to as a composable architecture, refers to any digital commerce platform that allows retailers to customize their storefronts to meet specific customer experience needs. They enable businesses to exceed customer expectations by integrating a range of microservices offered as modular components from multiple platforms or service providers that can be added, removed, and customized, as needed.

At IBM Consulting, we believe there are five key reasons why composable storefronts drive commerce transformation that grows with enterprise and customer needs and doesn’t age out.

  1. Flexibility: Retailers can quickly respond to changing customer needs or market trends by easily adding or removing microservices. This level of flexibility is critical in a constantly evolving industry that demands businesses be responsive.
  2. Personalization: Retailers can provide customers with a personalized shopping experience. By integrating a range of microservices that enable functionality like recommendations and tailored product pages, retailers can cater to each individual customer’s unique preferences and needs.
  3. Scalability: Retailers can efficiently scale digital commerce needs up or down as they grow. Whether adding new microservices to meet the demands of a growing customer base or scaling back to reduce friction, composable storefronts can adapt to the changing needs of any business.
  4. Innovation: Retailers can safely experiment with new technologies and services without committing significant resources. This ability to test and innovate is critical within an industry where staying ahead of the competition is crucial.
  5. Cost-effectiveness: Retailers can start small and gradually add new microservices as needed. Traditional monolithic storefronts can be expensive to develop, launch and maintain. Using modules means that retailers only pay for the microservices they need, reducing waste.

As the digital commerce industry continues to grow and evolve, businesses must be proactively responsive to stay ahead of the competition. Composable storefronts provide retailers with the flexibility, personalization, scalability, innovation and cost-effectiveness to build long-term value and growth. With the ability to create customized storefronts that cater to the specific needs of their customers, retailers can provide a shopping experience that’s both unique and memorable, while driving customer loyalty and sales.

IBM Consulting helps companies build composable storefronts to grow their commerce footprint.

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