Digital Commerce: Agile and Flexible but Decentralized
There was a time when digital commerce was little more than a storefront and a shopping cart. Today, even the most rudimentary online retailers are expected to deliver their services through a series of integrated and personalized digital experiences. In fact, user behavior has shifted so rapidly in the past year that an increasing number of businesses are turning to modern, headless, microservices-based technology to power their e-commerce experience rather than leaning on traditional, monolithic, all-in-one platforms.
By 2023, Gartner predicts organizations that adopt this “composable” approach to e-commerce will outpace the competition by more than 80% when it comes to the implementation of new features. But what do we mean by composable commerce as part of a modern digital commerce strategy? What challenges are businesses facing and how can a modern digital commerce strategy help to overcome them?
Why commerce needs to evolve
The digital ecosystem we inhabit today is made up of innumerable channels and routes to market. Consumers tend to take to new technology very quickly, and it shapes their expectations when it comes to their day-to-day interactions with commerce brands online. While channels like chatbots and smart speakers might once have been fringe novelties, they’re now a core part of the digital commerce picture. In fact, more than 60% of today’s customers say they prefer digital “self-serve” tools like mobile apps, websites, chatbots and voice assistants. What’s more, three-quarters say they’re more likely to buy from a retailer that calls them by name and suggests products they may have an interest in, putting personalization high on the agenda.
The thing is, none of these channels are mutually exclusive and they need to complement each other. A traditional tech stack that treats channels like static silos simply isn’t enough to offer the cohesive, connected brand experience customers are looking for these days. Businesses have done their best to keep up with these rapid shifts in customer behavior over the years. Where once everything was centralized under an on-premise ERP umbrella, things have become more decentralized as more and more channels and services are added into the mix. This “fragmentation” of processes has its uses - namely, allowing businesses to innovate more quickly - but it poses several new challenges when trying to orchestrate a cohesive end-to-end customer experience.
The challenges of decentralized commerce
As we’ve discussed, today’s commerce industry is very customer-centric. As more and more channels enter the mix and consumer expectations grow, businesses have to push hard in order to keep up. Thankfully, technology innovation cycles have gotten much quicker and the “barrier for entry” to a lot of these channels is much lower than it was, say, a decade ago. In other words, technology has become democratized over time, leading to a “goldrush” of software providers that can “fill in the gaps” for commerce businesses that want to embrace a new channel. In the past decade alone, the number of software vendors in the marketing and commerce technology sector has increased by more than 5,000%.
This has led to many businesses taking a “Frankenstein” approach to their commerce strategy, bolting on new apps and services from third parties in order to meet the demands of modern-day consumers. This is perilous for a number of reasons, but “data noise” is by far one of the biggest challenges - and contributes to one of the biggest lost opportunities. If an organization’s data comes from a range of disparate, third-party applications instead of one centralized, orchestrated source, they’re often left with hours of manual, laborious work to try and collate and map that data into a usable form. This leads to overly complex data pipelines, duplicate records and invites human error into the mix.
Using orchestration to master decentralization
Businesses can’t roll back decentralization. In fact, decentralization is very much needed if digital commerce businesses are to remain fast, agile and resilient in a landscape that’s constantly undergoing rapid change. Instead, what they need is a solution to help them centrally compose and orchestrate the disparate elements of their organization in one unified approach. This is what we mean by “composable”, putting commercial businesses in a position to seamlessly compose an orchestra of disparate solutions using cloud-based APIs that put them in control of data and process flows.
Emporix saw this trend emerging, and that’s why we’ve created a modern, enterprise-grade composable digital commerce platform that can integrate seamlessly with any B2B or B2C commerce business. Using our solution, your business will be able to take advantage of packaged business capabilities that are consumable through cloud-based APIs, allowing you to “compose” your business as you see fit. That means you’ll have the flexibility to only use - or develop, if you choose to - the features and functionality that are intrinsic to running your online business, saving you time and valuable resources.
To learn more about Emporix's Digital Commerce Platform, simply get in touch today.