The world of digital commerce is changing fast. While consumers have become used to being able to submit shopping orders via a few clicks on their phone, and with deliveries arriving in record time, customer expectations for quality digital experiences are higher than ever.
The speed of digital transformation in the consumer retail space is setting new standards that those operating in the B2B space will want to replicate.
However, while B2B buyers may be beginning to demand the same kind of technology and self-service they’ve experienced in B2C purchasing, their needs are obviously very different. The purchase journey for the average B2B business is much longer than a B2C one, and with many more variables at play.
Customer-specific pricing, for example, or bulk pricing options. Or how about allowances for different approval processes, invoicing or payment structures for different customers? Or the opportunity to offer flexible rebate schemes as incentives? Wholesalers require far greater customization options for their buyers than a typical consumer retailer, and this must all be replicated as part of the digital journey.
The good news is that advanced eCommerce technology is now available that has the flexibility to cater for all B2B retail requirements while providing personalized digital experiences, just like modern B2C platforms. Composable commerce provides a more scalable and customizable commerce platform that meets both the current and future needs of B2B e-commerce.
In this article, we will explain exactly what composable commerce is, and why it’s a great choice for forward-thinking wholesalers and distributors. We’ll talk about how to make the move to a composable commerce platform, and why it will be the last time you ever need to replatform.
Why should wholesalers replatform to composable commerce architecture?
According to a Gartner report, by the year 2023 organizations that have adopted a composable approach to commerce will outpace their competition by more than 80% when it comes to the implementation and rollout of new features.
Adopting an enterprise-grade composable commerce platform, then, is not only the only way to keep up, it’s also the best way to become as competitive as possible and future-proof your business.
What is a monolith commerce solution?
In the past, the only option for setting up an online business was to sign-up to a monolith solution - a basic website running from a single platform. There would be limited customization options, only pre-packaged features and capabilities, and you would sign-up to the provider for a fixed contract, probably over a few years. Usually in the years of the contract that followed the system would become gradually outdated and unfit for the demands of the business, so as each fixed-term contract came to a close it would be time to shop around, replatform the whole site to the new monolith and lock-in to another vendor’s product before repeating the cycle. The unenviable job of the IT team would be to manage and troubleshoot this process, always playing catch-up with updates rather than spending time on innovative IT projects that could actually add value to the business.
In the world of wholesaling and distribution, this was never going to work. The vast majority of tasks required in a B2B sales journey would still need human involvement and a reliance on old-school systems. And for many wholesalers this is still the case, even taking orders over the phone and manually writing them down in the log book. But this needn’t be the case. Ditching traditional, monolithic commerce platforms and breaking free from vendor lock-in will liberate your digital commerce strategy.
Enter composable commerce.
What is composable commerce?
Composable commerce leverages the latest MACH technology to make digital architecture completely flexible, adaptable and scalable. The combination of Microservices, an API-first approach, Cloud-based solutions and Headless architecture that decouples the backend from the frontend allows businesses to create their very own, custom-built digital experiences that will differentiate their businesses.
MACH technology offers the chance to select a best-of-breed combination of functionalities and capabilities across every touchpoint, from website and mobile to smart speakers, that will all perform and update independently. There is no vendor lock-in, and all updates are taken care of by the technology partners providing each of the microservices.
The digital commerce solution is no longer limited to out-of-the-box features and static solutions, but a dynamic, customer-centric and ever-evolving platform that makes your business easier to do business with than ever before.
How to replatform to composable architecture - the right way
Like any other significant business project, replatforming is usually a complex process that should be implemented using an organized and agile software development method. Clearly defining and then communicating goals, expectations and requirements from the start is essential.
Set a clear idea of the timeline and be aware of the role of different stakeholders involved in the replatforming, as they will all need to be choreographed to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Communicating specific requirements to your replatforming partner and entertaining external ideas or contributions is also a good approach to achieve the outcomes that work best for your business.
For more insights on the project management aspect of replatforming and a step by step guide, you can visit the Complete Guide for Migration to a Composable Commerce Solution.
B2B replatforming, once and for all
By migrating to a composable solution you will be able to design and redesign your own solutions using the best, most suited microservices and front-end displays without any limitations associated with a monolith vendor lock-in. To emerge as a market leader, you will need the ability to adapt and innovate at your own pace, use changing trends to your advantage, control the total cost of ownership, and enable your in-house experts to roll out new features in lockstep with consumer trends.
Long story short – If the future of your business is your primary concern, your next move should be to replatform from your ‘monolithic’ service to composable commerce.
Why it matters? Because once you have completed this project, you will never have to replatform again.