The ‘e’ in eCommerce
The ‘e’ in eCommerce has now become so normalized as to almost be redundant. The next generation of digital commerce is here, and what was “electronic commerce” has arguably evolved into “everywhere commerce”. For both B2B and B2C operations, the ability to engage customers on their terms and cater to their individual needs has become the new standard.
Traditional eCommerce and the MACH approach
A decade ago, an online shop front might have sufficed, but to compete for a share of the market today, businesses need to mobilize their eCommerce capabilities across multiple channels and touchpoints, offering everything from tailored pricing and personalized messaging to real-time stock alerts and recurring invoices.
The ability to deploy new eCommerce functionality and rollout new features has become critical to not only keeping up with competitors, but in staying relevant in a changing marketplace. That’s why taking a conventional approach to eCommerce is no longer viable.
Businesses simply cannot afford to be locked-in by one software vendor, using a static, monolithic platform to try and keep up with more dynamic, digitally-native solutions like those offered by MACH architecture (Microservices, API-first development, Cloud native and Headless).
A MACH approach works because it offers the key benefits of a system that is not only built to your specific requirements, rather than confined by the available options within a monolith, but also the agility to quickly adapt your commerce platform depending on business conditions, and to scale elastically as required.
These are some of the fundamental drivers behind the composable commerce approach, and we’re seeing the rigidity of monolith-based eCommerce evolve into a far more flexible solution afforded by composable commerce technology.
Preparing eCommerce for Composable Commerce
Emporix commissioned a report in which top-level decision makers from the world of B2C and B2B digital commerce were asked about their perspectives on selecting, implementing and expanding their eCommerce operations. If there was any doubt that now is the time to evolve, around 9 in 10 said they were actively planning to extend their digital commerce operations in the future. The only question was “how?”
Respondents recognized that re-platforming from one monolith to another was an expensive way of trying to keep up with their competitors, so “scalability” was high on the list of key drivers, along with “reduced costs”, “mobile expansion” and “flexibility”. What these business leaders are interested in is everything offered by MACH architecture and composable commerce, although they may not realize it.
Continuous improvement in eCommerce
In the race to keep up with customer expectations, the rate at which businesses are finding they need to roll out new features and services has picked up pace dramatically. Those at the bleeding edge of eCommerce, setting and raising the bar, now consider digital commerce less of a box to be ticked and more of a continuous improvement initiative.
If a customer has a seamless, personalized, VIP eCommerce experience with one brand, they’re likely to look for that experience wherever they do business. This is as true for B2C as it is for B2B. Functions like live chat, real-time stock alerts, recurring orders and subscriptions, one-click-purchasing, and the ability to customize products online before purchasing have all now become fairly commonplace.
Optimize eCommerce processes
A key point that came out in our research is that it’s not just customer experience and customer expectation driving this trend toward a new generation of digital commerce. It’s businesses themselves looking to streamline operations, reduce overheads and make more efficient use of their time. Backend functionality that allows recurring invoices to be set up for instance, or the ability to automatically cross-sell or recommend relevant products to customers based on their purchase history, without the need for time-consuming admin or sales calls. In fact, the majority of customers now actually prefer to self-serve as much as possible, bringing channels like mobile apps and live chat into the fore.
Composable Commerce is the new eCommerce
Businesses know these channels are increasingly important, but if they’re tied to a monolithic platform that’s locked to a specific vendor, they can’t act on that knowledge. With this setup they are not futureproofed - they’ll forever be at the mercy of their chosen vendors and whatever features those third parties decide to roll out.
The need for dynamic scalability that composable commerce enables is why so many decision-makers are now considering microservice-based composable architecture, and it’s here the fourth generation of “everywhere commerce” begins.