Running an e-commerce store today means operating in an environment of relentless competition and rapid technological change. Customers increasingly demand integrated shopping experiences across all channels, from web to mobile to social media, while expecting access to the latest innovations. Traditionally, retailers relied on rigid all-in-one commerce platforms. Now, a more agile approach is enabling businesses to adapt and thrive online.

Keep reading to learn how “composable commerce” is helping to level the playing field for online retailers of all sizes.

The Drawbacks of Traditional E-Commerce Platforms

To fully understand the benefits of composable commerce, it helps to recognize the drawbacks of conventional all-in-one e-commerce platforms. With these monolithic solutions, retailers often get locked into a single vendor’s proprietary technologies. There is a lack of flexibility to customize or change solutions over time. It can also be difficult to scale these platforms or adopt new innovations in a timely manner.

Moreover, retailers can't easily mix and match components from different providers to assemble their ideal commerce stack. These limitations of traditional platforms drove the need for more modular approaches like composable commerce.

What Is Composable Commerce?

Composable commerce represents a completely new, modular approach to assembling an e-commerce technology stack. Rather than relying on a single end-to-end platform, it combines different apps and services via application programming interfaces (APIs).

Composable commerce has three key architectural traits:

  • Cloud-native: The software runs fully in the cloud, which provides benefits such as reduced maintenance, automatic scalability and faster deployment since you don't have to manage your own servers.
  • Component-based: Composable commerce combines interchangeable components that can be added, swapped or dropped at any time. For example, you could use one component for your product catalog, another for checkout and another for reviews.
  • Tech-agnostic: With composable commerce, you aren’t locked into any proprietary technology or vendor. You have complete freedom to select, integrate and manage different applications without needing specific programming languages or certifications.

By assembling customized combinations of cloud-based components, composable commerce provides the flexibility to create tailored online shopping experiences.

For example, an online toy shop could use one solution for 3D modeling to allow customers to customize dolls, integrate with a different payment processing provider and incorporate a third-party review management application. By mixing and matching these components, the toy shop can upgrade its website functionality without completely rebuilding from scratch.

Benefits of Composable Commerce for Small Business Owners

Composable commerce offers small e-commerce businesses several key benefits compared to traditional platforms:

  • There are major cost savings since you only pay for the specific capabilities you need.
  • It facilitates easy scaling to add innovations like virtual reality product viewing or live shopping events.
  • With interchangeable components, retailers can release new features and upgrades faster without relying on platform-wide releases.
  • The composable model empowers small retailers to readily adapt and augment their online stores to keep up with larger competitors.


In today’s rapidly changing e-commerce landscape, composable commerce provides the flexibility and modular architecture small businesses need to thrive. By swapping out components like building blocks, retailers can readily adapt their online experiences to meet customer expectations. Composable solutions allow small retailers to cost-effectively customize their tech stacks and scale to add new innovations. No longer limited by rigid all-in-one platforms, small businesses of all sizes are enabled by composable commerce to assemble their ideal online store for the future.

Take a look at the accompanying infographic to fully grasp the transformative potential of this new modular approach.

Infographic created by commercetools, a composable commerce platform company