How Composable Commerce Can Help Brands Get More Out of Holiday Shopping
By Sean Skamnes
In many retail organizations, the holidays tend to be marketing- and product-forward: Which promotions will run? How will campaigns be structured?, etc. While these certainly affect shoppers’ buying decisions, these efforts may not be as effective if you haven’t given much thought to site speed lately.
The catch: the monolithic e-commerce platforms many brands still use are based on an arcane approach to e-commerce, making optimization for things like speed difficult. Composable commerce can help and make it easier to customize promotions, accurately assess inventory, test pricing strategy, and more. Here’s how.
How Composable Commerce Enables Faster Retail Sites
First, a definition: Composable commerce is an approach to e-commerce that involves “composing” a platform from best-in-breed tech providers (including a front-end website framework, a CMS, a transaction engine, and a payment gateway).
Whereas the all-in-one platforms that are still prominent in e-commerce today try to solve everything in one suite, a composable commerce approach lets brands build a digital storefront and sell their products in a way that is customized to their specific needs.
One universal benefit of composable commerce is the ability to improve site speed. Sites built with discrete components that may use things like server cache or client-side APIs to simplify the technical implementation alleviate the need for more complex things like orchestrating a bunch of services or regularly indexing site data. Those composable commerce services provide exactly what visitors need and communicate via APIs to the back end to deliver more information as visitors navigate.
For holiday shoppers in a hurry, the faster load times alone will translate to more purchases. But that’s not the only way composable commerce can benefit retailers.
Picture this: A user in New England loads a skincare products site and gets a pop-up banner offering a coupon code for lip balm. Meanwhile, a user in Australia visits and sees an offer for a discount on sunscreen.
Composable commerce can make these geo-based promotions easy.
How? Choose a CMS that lets you customize product content by user location, a transaction engine that can easily serve different promotions and prices based on geography, and a payment gateway that’s familiar to users in the markets you serve.
Contrast that with monolithic e-commerce platforms, which often charge a fee for currency conversions and transaction costs if you don’t use their preferred solution and may require a lot of dev work to customize the front end.
Personalized Pricing and Promotions
Topline promotions get visitors to come to your site, but personalized promotions may be necessary to drive conversions.
For example, if a visitor puts something in their cart but leaves before checking out, you may want to alert them to a “price drop” the next time they visit. Or you might create urgency by notifying them when inventory on that item dips below a certain level.
With composable commerce, it’s possible to test such promotions and others to see what resonates with different users and at different times. This can be much more difficult with legacy e-commerce platforms.
That’s because monoliths tie their transactional data so closely to the entire system that it can be hard to offer personalized changes. The many moving parts in a monolith have rigid relationships, which means when you manipulate one element (web page, product image, promotion, etc.) all the others are affected as well.
The Best Holiday Shopping Experience Is Unique
We’re long past the days of genius ad men delivering the brand narratives that define a season’s hot items. Today, shopping has become incredibly personal; it happens in customers’ homes, in their hands, on the same device as conversations with their loved ones.
Brands that are able to create a retail experience that feels as personalized as a shopper’s social media feed are the ones that will connect with customers and win their loyalty. Composable commerce makes those experiences possible.
Skamnes is VP of ecosystem and partnerships at Commerce Layer. Skamnes is a business development and digital marketing professional with 20-plus years of experience in software and consulting/agency services. The last 15 years, Skamnes specifically focused on sales and development of digital marketing and ecommerce programs for Fortune 1000 clients.
This year, in particular, inflation and changing consumer behavior are making the holiday retail season even more unpredictable than usual. With no crystal ball, retailers need to adapt quickly so they can maximize peak season sales.