Written By

Consulting Lead, Retail

Composable Commerce: rethinking tech to land great eCommerce experiences

It’s been a vintage year for eCommerce, with brands across the board revelling in booming online sales and record stats. But as the confetti settles and international lockdowns ease, the heat is on eCommerce managers to move out of survival mode and keep delivering results.

This transition offers brands an opportunity to take a step back and scrutinise their longer-term eCommerce strategy – including a critical review of the technology they choose to enable it.

The eCommerce market has never been more competitive

While we’ve got Covid to thank for this year’s eCommerce boom, the legacy of the massive acceleration of digital is an arena full of brands vying for customer attention.

In this ultra-competitive environment, how do brands cut through the noise and differentiate themselves? The foundation for this is always achieved through delivering a fantastic customer experience, something that can only be enabled via robust, nimble tech solutions.

Getting customers attention is a battlefield...

The old approach to eCommerce platforms is broken

Gone are the days of reviewing your eCommerce technology every three to five years.

Now that innovative tech solutions that help to attract, sell to and engage customers are being churned out at a crazy pace, the traditional tech lifecycle is defunct.

So, in order to deliver an experience that exceeds modern and international customer expectations it is critical that brands are agile enough to adopt fresh solutions, fast.

Moving away from the monoliths

Monolithic eCommerce platforms ruled the roost when retail and consumer brands wanted an ‘all in one’ solution to manage every aspect of their online storefront.

But with this method comes complexity – and that comes at a cost: expensive support, slow and costly changes for bespoke solutions and in-house technical know-how, plus sizeable investment into hosting and security.

But a lack of flexibility has always been the biggest drawback of this approach. It’s clear that no single solution will cover the full gamut of what brands now need to deliver and therefore lots of additional customisation is necessary – meaning protracted integrations with other tools to perform tasks outside the remit.

The takeaway? Significant investment into a tech setup that’s hard to chop and change no longer makes sense.

Bring on Composable Commerce

In order to better serve customers, lower tech overheads and focus budgets on growth, brands need more agility built into their tech approach.

The tech market has responded with MACH (Microservices, API First, Cloud Native & Headless), a modular architecture that offers the flexibility for companies to better meet their customers’ needs. 

In essence, MACH offers a nimble plug and play approach (that's become known as Composable Commerce) that gives brands the flexibility to interchange their technologies easily, without worrying about hosting, support, upgrades and security. 

This allows brands to keep improving and tailoring their tech to meet evolving requirements and deliver a great experience across the entire customer journey.

An approach that suits timeless brands

Matter Of Form works with timeless brands rich in creative spirit that recognise great design as a means of unlocking business value.

Our clients are rarely driven by technical cultures, which makes the Composable Commerce a particularly attractive choice. Why? Because the approach demands less technical knowledge, less development resource and less time - leaving brands free to focus their energies and budgets where they excel and on the activities most likely to grow their business.

Making Composable Commerce work effectively is something that requires expert knowledge of how to connect business and customer objectives to the optimal solutions. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to turn.

Marrying tech with customer experience

When pivoting towards this more modern, fluid technology approach, success is the nexus between customer needs, business objectives, operational requirements and technology choice.

It can be tricky to bring these elements together harmoniously in-house because best practice requires cross-department collaboration and is most effectively actioned with an ‘outside in’ perspective.

We can help bridge this. Firstly, as a full service, brand-led agency, we understand the needs that exist across different teams and what a great customer experience looks like. Secondly, we have a fantastic grasp of what’s what across the spectrum of eCommerce technology.

Themes for timeless brands to consider

For enhanced results when weighing up your eCommerce needs, it’s worth factoring the following themes into the planning process:

Customisability

Your site is more than just a destination for customers to buy your products, it’s an opportunity to stand out from the competition. This means thinking carefully about how you can deliver elements of your service differently and include unique propositions that bring your brand to life. Executing this type of experience elegantly requires technology that can accommodate different models for eCommerce, hence customisability has to be a priority.

Social and marketplace

Social commerce is growing rapidly at the moment and niche marketplaces are gaining traction. Wherever your customers are is where you need to be, so a solution that can easily connect to these touchpoints is key.

Content driven commerce

Stretching out the online path to purchase by peppering the journey with engaging brand and product content can help foster customer connection to your business, resulting in more successful sales. Sophisticated content management should therefore be a wish list consideration too.

Picking the right eCommerce platform

In order to enable the above, it’s important to select the appropriate main eCommerce platform.

There are a number of solutions that fit the MACH criteria, but we are most impressed with BigCommerce. 

The platform provides a great deal of flexibility for retailers and consumer brands to launch into new markets, connect to customers across different channels, tweak their proposition and deliver brand experiences.

It is also simple to use, easy to integrate and delivers a composable commerce approach that suits everything from small through to medium and large-scale enterprises.

We successfully delivered a global eCommerce roll out via BigCommerce for skincare specialist Dr. Barbara Sturm in only 3 months. This included integrations to more than 30 different commerce solutions, complete with plenty of interesting customisations around how the brand sells its products.

Bringing this together

Yes, planning and delivering a new approach to eCommerce is daunting. But in a competitive post-Covid world, agile tech is essential for brands to deliver unique customer experiences and keep pace with changing customer expectations.

We use OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) to align teams and determine what needs to be done. We can help you bring together your cross-business needs, define customer goals and figure out what tech solutions are most suitable to create a game changing strategy that will transform how you deliver your eCommerce customer experience in a short workshop.

If you'd like to discuss how we partner with companies to provide strategic design and tech services, please get in touch via hello@matterofform.com to arrange a time to speak with our team of consultants.

Retail
Digital
Technology
eCommerce
Fred BH

Published by Fred Beatson-Hird

Consulting Lead, Retail

Fred has nearly 10 years of experience working as a consultant across some of Britain’s most loved consumer and retail brands, including Tangle Teezer, Dr Barbara Sturm, The Rug Company and PZ Cussons. Previously he worked in tech venture capital and he gets a buzz from bringing together business, brand and creative strategy to help his clients grow.