Monkey Monday - November 20th, 2023

What is composable commerce?

Web Design

Introduction

Many organisations are considering the move to a composable architecture for their tech stack. The move can lead to savings in costs and increase the agility of the business and the speed in which they can adapt to changing customer needs.

It may not be the best choice for every business though so in the article below we describe the differences between monolith and composable and provide some pointers on the advantages and disadvantages of both architectures and a starting point on how you can migrate your stack.

Understanding monolithic ecommerce stacks

Monolith architecture in software development is like playing a game of Jenga. In Jenga, you have a single tower of blocks, which represents a monolithic application; all parts of the application are tightly integrated and stacked together in a single, large structure.

When you play Jenga, you remove one block at a time and place it on top. This is similar to making changes or updates in a monolithic architecture. You have to be careful with each change, as it can affect the stability of the entire tower. Similarly, in a monolithic application, making a change in one part of the system can have unforeseen impacts on other parts, because everything is interconnected.

As the game progresses, the Jenga tower becomes taller and more unstable. This represents the increasing complexity and risk in a monolithic system as it grows and evolves over time. It becomes more challenging to make changes without affecting the whole system's stability.

Finally, when the tower falls, it's a bit like a major failure in a monolithic application because everything is so interconnected, one significant issue can bring down the entire system. This illustrates the risk of having a single, large, tightly-coupled codebase.

Introduction to composable commerce

Composable design in software development is similar to using a character builder toy to create a unique character. With the toy, you start with a basic figure, which is like the foundational structure of your application. This figure on its own is simple, representing the core functionality of your software.

To this basic figure, you can add various accessories and clothing items, such as hats, glasses, shirts, trousers, and shoes. Each of these items is akin to a component or module in composable design. Just like you can dress the toy character in different outfits by adding or changing these items, in composable design, you enhance your application by adding or modifying these independent components.

The ease with which you can swap a hat, change a shirt, or add a pair of glasses to the toy character reflects the flexibility and modularity of composable design. You can update or add new features to your software application seamlessly, without needing to overhaul the entire system. This approach allows for greater adaptability and scalability, much like how you can continually evolve the character's look and functionality with different combinations of accessories and clothes.

This concept highlights the core principles of composable design, building an adaptable, scalable application by assembling and reassembling various self-contained components, much like dressing up a character with different combinations of clothing and accessories.

Benefits of migrating to composable commerce

Flexibility and customisation

Composable commerce's flexibility in selecting specific components tailored to a business's unique needs leads to more efficient operations and cost savings. This customization enhances the customer experience and aligns closely with market demands, directly contributing to increased sales and profit margins.

Scalability

The modular nature of composable commerce allows businesses to efficiently scale their operations in line with their growth, avoiding unnecessary costs associated with overhauling systems. This scalability ensures that investment in ecommerce infrastructure directly supports revenue growth and profit maximisation as the business expands.

Enhanced user experience

By integrating specialised components, composable commerce significantly improves the customer experience. This leads to higher customer satisfaction, increased loyalty, and repeat business. Enhanced user experience directly correlates with higher conversion rates and increased average order values, driving profitability.

Faster time-to market

The agility of composable commerce in integrating new components enables businesses to rapidly respond to market changes and consumer demands. This faster time-to-market means businesses can capitalise on new opportunities more quickly than competitors, leading to increased market share and revenue growth.

Challenges and solutions in migrating from monolithic to composable ecommerce systems

Integration complexity

Challenge: Migrating to a composable stack involves integrating various independent components, which can be complex and time-consuming.

Solution: Employ middleware and API-based integration platforms to streamline the process. Prioritise components based on business needs for phased integration.

Data migration risks

Challenge: Transferring data from a monolithic system to a composable one carries the risk of data loss or corruption.

Solution: Implement robust data backup and migration strategies. Conduct migration in stages, ensuring data integrity at each step.

Resource and skill requirements

Challenge: The migration process is resource-intensive, requiring skilled personnel familiar with the latest technologies.

Solution: Invest in training existing staff or hire specialists with experience in composable systems.

Potential downtime

Challenge: The migration process can disrupt normal business operations, leading to potential downtime.

Solution: Opt for a gradual migration strategy, possibly running both systems in parallel for a period to minimise disruption.

Cost Implications

Challenge: The initial investment for migrating to a composable system can be significant.

Solution: Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to understand the long-term savings and ROI. Plan the migration in phases to spread out costs.

Who should migrate?

The decision to migrate from a monolithic to a composable ecommerce system depends on a company's size, growth trajectory, and specific business needs. While the migration presents challenges, the long-term benefits of flexibility, scalability, and enhanced customer experience can significantly outweigh the initial hurdles for many businesses.

Businesses Seeking Scalability and Flexibility: Companies experiencing rapid growth or needing to quickly adapt to market changes will benefit from the modularity of composable systems.

Organisations with Diverse and Evolving Needs: Businesses with diverse product lines or those that require frequent updates to their ecommerce platform are ideal candidates for migration.

Who might be best staying with a monolithic system?

Small Businesses with Simple Operations: Companies with straightforward, stable business models and limited product lines might find the simplicity and integrated nature of monolithic systems more cost-effective.

Businesses with Limited IT Resources: Organisations that lack the IT infrastructure or resources to manage a complex, composable system may benefit from staying with a monolithic setup.

How to migrate your stack

We covered this in our last blog. Go check it out!

Are you ready?

Ready to explore how Composable Commerce can transform your business? Go ahead and contact us for a free one hour consultation.

We love ecommerce!

Transcript Show / Hide

In the world of web architecture, one size does not fit all. Traditionally, monolith architectures have been the go-to solution. These cohesive models offer simplicity and cost-effectiveness for smaller organisations. But as businesses grow, the limitations of a monolithic system become apparent. It can be bulky, rigid, and limiting and if one piece fails, the entire system collapses. Composable architecture breaks that model. It’s more like a character builder - you choose what to take with you and what to leave behind. You decide the content, design, and functionality by breaking down the tech stack into distinct components. You’re not confined by pre-set templates anymore. You can add things like CMS, email marketing, search and merch, customer service, offer engines - the options are endless. And if something stops working? Don’t worry, the rest of your website will still be in one piece. This modular approach isn’t just about technology – it’s a strategic business decision. Future-proof your website. Your content, your control.

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