The Rise of Composable Commerce: Adapting to the Changing E-commerce Landscape

Traditionally, building e-commerce experiences from the ground up takes a lot of manual labor. Businesses usually create custom solutions from scratch or rework pre-existing monolithic platforms like Shopify. 

Take a product catalog. It takes grunt work to build it. It’s endless data entry of pricing, tags, descriptions, images, and categories. That’s before even considering the organization and inventory of the catalog. Setting up payments, social media plugins, and personalized recommendations is even more demanding. 

But it’s more than just labor-intensive. Traditional ways of building e-commerce are stiff, unresponsive, and weighty. Everything is tacked onto one predefined system. Updating or altering them risks disrupting the entire project. 

But a new approach is on the rise that’s shaking up the e-commerce landscape. It’s agile, flexible, and light. It’s composable commerce. Composable commerce is all about modularity. Rather than setting up your e-commerce business experience atop an inertial monolith, you can assemble it with independent pieces. You can choose best-in-class modules that fit your unique needs. And swap them out on the fly. 

Composable commerce allows businesses to adopt new technologies faster and quicker than ever. Their customers can shop across every channel imaginable. It tailors their shopping experience to their preferences. In a fast-moving industry, composable commerce is helping businesses stay ahead of the curve. All while scaling and meeting the ever-evolving customer expectations. 

In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into composing commerce. We’ll learn what composable commerce is. Why it’s on the rise. And how composable commerce can help your business grow and adapt.

Understanding Composable Commerce

Imagine you’re buying a house. It’s pre-designed. All the rooms and features are already installed. You have some wiggle room here and there. But if you want to add something, remove something, or alter a feature altogether, it’s going to be costly and messy. 

Now picture a house you can put together by yourself. You’re given a selection of walls, rooftops, doors, windows, and furniture to pick from. Using the available catalog, you can pick the studiest walls, the finest windows, the most appealing doors, and the furniture to tie it all together. 

Just as a modular house lets you choose the right walls or furniture for your living space, a modular e-commerce system allows you to design an entire system with swappable elements. A specialized and customizable component can handle product management. Another can set up payment processing. And yet another modular solution can cover customer service.  

Traditional Commerce vs. Composable Commerce

In traditional e-commerce, you would have to rely on the all-in-one solutions that platforms like Shopify provide. But there’s little to no customization or flexibility. You would have to build your own custom system using your own infrastructure to get any meaningful customization. 

Traditional solutions may or may not gel with your unique brand or voice. Integrating external microservices into these platforms is rarely simple. Scaling is complex. And you have to scale with caution. If one component fails, it’s liable to bring down the entire system with it.

The Core of Composable Commerce

Composable e-commerce platforms work on an entirely different philosophy. They take excessive custom design out of the equation. Integration of microservices is at the heart of this approach. 

You can choose the best-of-breed components and swap them out without disrupting the system. You can scale independently by optimizing the modules in place or replacing them entirely. It keeps the entire e-commerce experience agile and flexible. 

Pillars of Composable Commerce

Now onto the nitty-gritty details. Composable commerce rests on three pillars — API, modularity, and cloud. We’ll break down each of them. And our explanation will take us to the heart of composable commerce.

API-First Commerce

Let’s start with APIs. APIs or Application Programming Interfaces are the translators of the software world. They help different software components “talk to” each other. In composable commerce development, APIs go first. It means the behavior and lines of communication for these translators are established before anything else. Doing so ensures seamless interaction with the many components working together in the e-commerce project.


Composable commerce is built on a modular structure. A module (sometimes called microservice) is a small program that does a very specific job. Its focus could be managing the inventory, processing payments, or sending personalized recommendations. You have a wide selection of modules that can perform the same function. So you can pick and choose freely. But each module works separately. 

Many modules come together to form a cohesive system. Each aspect of your e-commerce business can run on its own module. And they “talk” to each other using APIs. Optimizing, or scaling the system becomes a matter of swapping out one of these modules — easy as pie, only easier. 


The cloud is the final piece of this puzzle. Composable e-commerce is “cloud native”, meaning it’s made for the cloud. Composable platforms are built to run in cloud environments from the ground up. With that cloud-first approach, businesses don’t need to buy or maintain heavy-duty infrastructure. And they get to leverage the full might of the cloud. It’s easy, dynamic, flexible, and scalable. Not to mention it cuts costs.

It’s not too different from saving all your photos and videos in iCloud instead of your phone’s limited storage. But instead of browsing photos, you can access and operate your shop from anywhere in the world.

In a nutshell, composable e-commerce gives you a cohesive cluster of free agent modules that seamlessly communicate via APIs, all within the cloud. It’s an agile, customizable, and future-proof design. 

Drivers of Composable Commerce

The inflexibility of traditional systems is only one of the driving forces behind the rise of composable commerce. Headless architecture is becoming the new norm. Customer expectations are getting amazingly complex. They want seamless, personalized shopping everywhere, on websites, apps, social media, and even physical stores. And market dynamics are pushing businesses to quickly adapt to modular commerce. 

Customer Comes First

There was a time when business-customer interaction was simple. All that consumers expected was a transaction, nothing more, nothing less. But today, they want businesses to make personal recommendations, tailored to their unique tastes. A shop should be available on the platform of their choice — social media, website, or phone app. And the business should accept every form of payment under the sun. They expect instant customer support in their own language. 

The industry has slowly but surely become customer-centric. And it’s the reason composable commerce is skyrocketing in popularity. Businesses can create a personal shopping experience with a product recommendation engine, a support chatbot, or a microservice for analyzing customer feedback. 

More than just functionality, the composable model allows businesses to create a cohesive experience across all channels. 

With the API-first logic, third-party apps and microservices can interact seamlessly and consistently. On the backend, the data lives in the central cloud. It doesn’t matter what touch point the customers use — mobile app, social media, or website — it all feeds into the same center. And since the design is headless (software without an interface), the business can customize the UI/UX for each touchpoint. 

New Technologies 

Rapid advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are also driving the rise of composable commerce. Today’s AI goes beyond personalized recommendations and potentially integrates with every component of an e-commerce business. Automated customer service, AI-powered pricing strategy, predictive analytics, and more are revolutionizing commerce. 

Customizing traditional e-commerce platforms with those AI enhancements is a daunting task. But composable commerce simplifies the integrations, empowering businesses with the tremendous potential of AI.

The Fast Pace of E-Commerce

E-commerce is dynamic by nature. And that nature demands businesses be quick on their feet. Tech is always advancing. Consumer demands evolve. And competition in the market gets fiercer every day. In such a landscape, traditional monolithic platforms with their one-size-fits-all solutions struggle. 

But where traditional e-commerce suffers, composable commerce thrives. Businesses can pick and choose the perfect payment gateway, the most robust search engine, or the most powerful recommendation engine to give them a competitive edge. They can update and customize those modules on the fly. And keep up with customer and market demands, while staying at the cutting edge of tech.

Composable Commerce in Action

E-commerce Landscape

So far, we’ve seen the different features of composable e-commerce. But what does it look like in action? Let’s take a close look at an imaginary shoe store, Sneaker Planet. Sneaker Planet is built on a composable commerce approach. 

Product Catalog

The Sneaker Planet store integrates Contentful for managing product catalogs. This microservice stores everything about the shoes in Sneaker Planet’s inventory — the pictures, descriptions, tags, sizes, colors, everything. When a new sneaker comes in, the standalone module updates the catalog without touching the rest of the site. 


TradeGecko handles all their inventory. When a new order comes in, this microservice finds out if the right size and color are in stock. It sends out requests to suppliers when stock runs low. And it accounts for every pair in real time. 


Sneaker Planet has also integrated Pricefx into its system for smart pricing. Pricefx uses AI to set prices, optimizes them over time, and monitors the store’s pricing strategy.

For promotional campaigns, Sneaker Planet has Talon. Talon manages the store’s loyalty program, discounts, and coupons. 

Order management and fulfillment

When Sneaker Planet receives an order, Magneto steps. Magneto order management “talks” to TradeGecko, the inventory service to confirm availability. Then, it interacts with Pricefx to calculate the bill and finally processes the customer’s payment. It monitors the order from packaging to shipment and delivery — while keeping the customer in the loop. 


Sneaker Planet also delivers tailored recommendations and promotional emails to customers.

Some challenges and speculation

For all its merits, composable commerce doesn’t come without its challenges. Because of its unique modular design, it gets tricky to connect all the pieces and track so many vendors. You need a competent, skilled team of engineers to keep everything running smoothly. The data also lives in a centralized system, which raises security and privacy concerns that businesses need to address.

At the same time, composable commerce is definitely shaping up to be the technology of tomorrow. More and more businesses are transitioning to the modular model. And we’ll likely continue to see more API-first systems pop up. 


During our journey, we explored composable commerce, its technical workings, the driving forces behind it, and why it’s the future of e-commerce. We also saw the composable commerce model in action with a fictional sneaker store. And we learned about some unique challenges that come with modular e-commerce. It’s clear that composable e-commerce isn’t just a fad. It’s here to stay. And it’s only going to strengthen today’s customer-centric paradigm.