Composable Commerce: The Whole Story

Composable Commerce: The Whole Story

There are many shops worldwide that decided to go with composable commerce. Suppose we need to offer one answer that sums up all those people and their expectations of composable commerce. In that case, it's the greater flexibility and scalability in the development, and easy maintenance of an e-commerce platform.

But, one of the key benefits is that composable commerce allows different platform parts to be developed, updated, and scaled - independently.


Defining and explaining the composable commerce

If we have to sum up everything composable commerce is in one sentence, we’ll go with: “A development approach where the picking of best-of-breed commerce components (PBCs) is needed in order to combine them into a website built to fulfill the particular business needs.”

The success of a composable commerce project surely lies in composed Packaged Business Capabilities or PBCs. Each PBC will be a feature or capability of the application. PBCs are usually third-party software components that will be bought while creating the application.

The easiest way to understand why composable commerce needs PBCs, usually from the start, is their use. For example, a PBC is a shopping cart for our eCommerce website, or a checkout component necessary for an online shop.

Since composable commerce can be labeled as a strategy for selecting PBS, we need to mention that it leverages modern technologies and approaches like MACH (Microservices, APIs, Cloud, and Headless) and Jamstack (JavaScript, APIs, and Markup).

If we imagine composable commerce as a solution where all parts of it come from different vendors and are built for a single purpose, we can finalize this introduction by concluding that composable commerce is undoubtedly a better choice than a one-vendor and one-size-fits-all eCommerce website. Why? Because of endless possibilities. And the modern digital world needs (and expects) all possibilities at all times.

Composable Commerce

Composable Commerce

How is composable commerce different from traditional commerce?

Traditional eCommerce platforms are created to be "all-in-one" solutions. They are built to provide the whole package for someone who wants to run an online store.

Monolithic, or traditional commerce architecture, is specific for having all of the components creating one platform. For example, the components responsible for tracking inventory and managing checkout processes are all part of the same application — an eCommerce platform like Magento, Salesforce, Oracle ATG, Shopify Plus, and BigCommerce.

Contrary to that, composable commerce allows the creation of a custom application from the modules that fit specific business needs. All services can be added or replaced (removed) as the user pleases, giving the endless combinations we all strive for.Monolithische oder traditionelle Shop-Architekturen zeichnen sich dadurch aus, dass alle Komponenten eine Plattform bilden. Zum Beispiel sind die Komponenten, die für die Bestandsverfolgung und die Verwaltung der Checkout-Prozesse verantwortlich sind, alle Teil derselben Anwendung – einer E-Commerce-Plattform wie Magento, Salesforce, Oracle, ATG, Shopify Plus und BigCommerce.

Im Gegensatz dazu ermöglicht der Composable Commerce die Erstellung einer benutzerdefinierten Anwendung aus den Modulen, die den spezifischen Geschäftsanforderungen entsprechen. Alle Services können nach Belieben hinzugefügt, ersetzt oder entfernt werden, wodurch die von uns allen angestrebten endlosen Kombinationen möglich sind.

Are composable commerce and headless commerce the same thing?

Headless commerce and composable commerce are similar in that they both involve decoupling the front-end and back-end of an e-commerce platform.

In headless commerce, the front-end and back-end are completely separate, so the front-end can be built using any technology and can be easily changed without affecting the back-end. This allows for greater flexibility and customization in the design of the storefront.

Composable commerce is similar, but it takes this concept a step further by allowing the front-end and back-end to be composed of microservices, which are independent, modular units of functionality. This allows different parts of the platform to be developed, updated, and scaled independently, resulting in a more flexible and scalable e-commerce platform.

In short, headless commerce involves separating the front-end and back-end of an e-commerce platform, while composable commerce involves breaking the platform down into smaller, independent microservices.

What is the difference between modular and composable commerce?

Yes, modular commerce and composable commerce are similar. They both involve breaking down an e-commerce platform into smaller, independent units of functionality.

But, modular commerce involves dividing the platform into larger, more cohesive modules that can be developed and maintained independently. These modules can be considered as large "building blocks" that can be combined to create a complete platform.

Composable commerce, on the other hand, involves breaking the platform down into even smaller units of functionality known as microservices. These microservices are independent and can be developed, tested, and deployed independently. This allows for even greater flexibility and scalability, as different parts of the platform can be easily customized and updated without affecting other parts of the system.Beim Composable Commerce hingegen wird die Plattform in noch kleinere Funktionseinheiten, sogenannte Microservices, unterteilt. Diese Microservices sind unabhängig und können individuell entwickelt, getestet und bereitgestellt werden. Diese ermöglichten eine noch größere Flexibilität und Skalierbarkeit, da verschiedene Teile der Plattform leicht angepasst und aktualisiert werden können, ohne andere Teile des Systems zu beeinträchtigen.

Example structure with microservices

Example structure with microservices
Example structure with microservices

Various headless services combine to create a flexible environment.

Going over the Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs) in detail

Definition PBCs

As we mentioned in the chapter above, Packaged Business Capabilities are the building blocks of Composable Commerce, used to create the commerce solution for particular business needs.

PBCs are, to be precise in tech language, applications or services created by developers to fit and serve a particular function.

Using API (Application Programming Interface), PBCs “glue” all these picked services together, creating a website with a neat workflow and almost no need for extensive back-end management.

Difference between PBCs and Microservices

Let us explain the first thing first: microservices are not PBCs.

Microservices are autonomous services created to build various PBCs. Therefore, PBCs can be defined as a combination of microservices. Combined microservices have a role to finish a particular task of the PBC, and combined PBCs are composable commerce platforms. We know you got it now.

MACH: Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless Development

MACH is a software architecture style built on concepts of Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless development. If we break this definition apart, we will learn that:


Microservices have a role in establishing the functionality of self-contained, specialized components. They will be responsible for reusability and base for regular, well-targeted software updates.


API-first means that API is placed ahead of other concerns, like the application or UI. Web APIs are responsible for connecting microservices to serve users' data and functionality.

Cloud-native architecture

Cloud-native architecture has a role in providing scalability in delivering fast and reliable shopping experiences. Since it's on the cloud, the platform will scale automatically based on the user's needs, offering speed, performance and security.


Headless means separating the "head" from the back end. Headless development has a role in offering better-equipped apps to cater to multiple platforms and devices.

More about Headless CMS
MACH vs. Jamstack

It's important to know that MACH is different from Jamstack (JavaScript, APIs, and markdown). They are both created for headless front-end experiences and a modular back-end powered by APIs, but:

  • Jamstack has the front-end pre-built into super-optimized pages and assets
  • MACH is a collection of applications arranged as a collection of coupled and independently deployable services

Benefits of Composable Commerce

Many benefits and many articles cover all the benefits of compostable commerce. But, in order to be practical and informative, we made a list of the top 10 benefits:

01: Greater flexibility

Composable commerce allows for greater flexibility in developing and customizing an e-commerce platform.

02: Improved scalability

The modular nature of composable commerce allows for easier scaling of the platform as the business grows.

03: Enhanced security

Microservices can be developed with safety in mind, making composable commerce platforms more secure.

04: Faster deployment:

Because microservices can be developed and deployed independently, composable commerce platforms can be updated and modified more quickly.

05: Easier maintenance

With composable commerce, it is easier to maintain and update different platform parts independently.

06: Improved reliability

Composable commerce platforms are more resilient to failures because microservices can continue to function even if other parts of the system are down.

07: Increased agility

The modular nature of composable commerce allows for more rapid development and deployment of new features and functionality.

08: Better user experience

Composable commerce allows a more tailored, personalized user experience.

09: Enhanced interoperability

Composable commerce platforms can more easily integrate with other systems and platforms.

10: Lower costs

Because composable commerce allows for the development and deployment of smaller, independent units of functionality, it can be more cost-effective than traditional e-commerce platforms.

Disadvantages of composable commerce

If we're being honest, the e-commerce platform, as any other platform, has advantages and disadvantages. To place relevant information in this article, we're listing out all the challenges of embracing composable commerce:

01: Complexity

One potential challenge is that composable commerce platforms can be complex to develop and maintain, especially for businesses that need to become more familiar with this approach.

02: Integration

Another challenge is integrating different microservices and ensuring they work seamlessly.

03: Testing

Testing a composable commerce platform can be more complex because each microservice must be tested independently and in combination with other microservices.

04: Documentation

It can be challenging to keep track of all the different microservices and their dependencies, which can lead to issues with documentation and maintenance.

05: Expertise

Building and maintaining a composable commerce platform requires specialized knowledge of microservices and other relevant technologies.

06: Cost

While composable commerce can potentially be more cost-effective in the long run, the initial development and setup costs can be higher than for traditional e-commerce platforms.

Despite these challenges, many businesses are finding that the benefits of composable commerce outweigh the challenges and can be solved in the transition to this approach.

Why are modern brands choosing composable commerce?

Modern brands need fast results and flexibility, right? The majority of offered platforms can only partially compete with composable commerce.

Besides flexibility, composable commerce offers scalability, security, and ease of maintenance compared to other e-commerce platforms. There are numerous benefits in the development and customization fields,  giving the fully functional and scalable platform.

But, at the end of the day, modern brands value tailored and personalized user experience above all the benefits composable commerce can offer.

How to start with composable commerce?

There are a few key steps we recommend when starting with composable commerce:

  • Identify the types of your products that are suitable for composable commerce. These are typically products with many possible configurations or customization options, such as computers, cars, or furniture.
  • Determine the component parts or modules customers can choose when creating their customized products.
  • Offer a set up system for customers to select and assemble their desired components or modules. This can be done through a website, app, in-store kiosks or sales associates.
  • Implement a system for managing inventory and production of customized products. This will involve keeping track of the availability of different components or modules and coordinating the production and delivery of the finished product.
  • Learn how to promote the composable commerce offerings to customers and educate them on the benefits of customizing their products.

Why is composable commerce a game changer?

Why is composable commerce a game changer?

Long story short: composable commerce is a game-changer because it allows customers to create products tailored to their specific needs and preferences. This level of customization is not possible with traditional e-commerce models, which typically offer a limited selection of pre-assembled products.

In addition to providing a more personalized shopping experience, composable commerce also offers a number of benefits to businesses. Those benefits are made with the goal of increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, as customers are more likely to be happy with a product that they have customized themselves.

Another goal that is in focus is reducing waste and inventory costs, as businesses can produce customized products on demand rather than maintaining a large inventory of pre-assembled products.

Overall, the composable commerce era represents a significant shift in the way that products are sold and consumed. By giving customers the ability to create their own products, the potential to revolutionize the e-commerce industry and create new opportunities for businesses and consumers alike is more than real. And it's happening, too.

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