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The newest meaningless buzzword: “Composable Commerce”

The Breakfast Club of Ecom
July 23, 2021
Pictured: Shopify, Demandware, Adobe Commerce, Magento Open Source

“Composable Commerce” is all the rage in jargon-land today.

In short, it means that you can bring together best-in-class point solutions (aka siloed systems) into a makeshift enterprise-grade org. The further you get down the line in building a retail operation, the closer you approach rebuilding the bundle that SAP and Oracle cobbled together in the prior era.

Rather than a monolith like Oracle, today we use Brightpearl, Smartsheet, Xero, Gusto, and Shopify. Oh, and Excel. Best-in-class, atomic, point-solutions. This is the heart of Composable Commerce.

And let’s be honest: enterprise software kind of sucks. One hand to shake is over-rated, and the commerce engines in those ecosystems are just awful. Netsuite is just one example of an aged dinosaur that needs to be put out to pasture (pardon the mixed metasaur)—Suite Commerce is incapable at best, and decrepit at worst.

If you step back, you’ll find that it’s harder and harder to find a standalone eCom platform (unless you want to be on Squarespace ::shudder::). Adobe now owns Magento, Salesforce owns Demandware and Cloudcraze, SAP owns Hybris, and so on, and so on…. The value of Demandware (quit trying to make Commerce Cloud happen, Gretchen) is experienced when you own the other, far more expensive, Salesforce Clouds: Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, etc. Their unholy Captain Planet-like combined powers also provide a tremendous amount of lock-in that most will find it nigh-impossible to ever leave. They call this “go to market,” I call it “Hotel Commercefornia”. 

What Composable Commerce promises is the ability to eschew big contracts in favor of smaller, nimble, point solutions. Every ecosystem now promises end-to-end, and built-in composition, but instead delivers lock-in. Fewer choices to make gives us boundaries, and boundaries are good. What you trade off in agility, you make up for with interoperability.

On the other hand, does it even matter what eCom platform you use anymore? The only thing left for it to run is the PDP! We have:

  • Shogun for home page, landing pages
  • Klevu for category pages
  • Bolt for checkout
  • Nosto for product recs
  • Octane for quiz and popup management
  • Okendo for reviews
  • Klaviyo for like, everything else...

Atomic parts of the experience are being farmed out to best-in-class engines. This, itself, is a form of Composable Commerce. 

Maybe composable isn’t jargon, after all. Maybe it’s an eventuality.


Taking home the Gold. If you really want to get sidetracked today, read on. With the Tokyo Olympics kicking off, you'll notice today’s interactive Google doodle links to a series of anime-esque sports games which take place on Champion Island. Once you start playing, it will likely be impossible to stop challenging Tengu to another round of table tennis. But—you should stop, and then you should watch actual amazing athletes at the Olympics compete for more than just their personal vendetta against Tengu, who is always cheating anyway.

Clean Beauty at Walmart. The latest DTC brand to be sold in a retail chain is Bubble. The clean skincare brand which focuses on Gen-Z is now available at Walmart, and all offerings in their line are under $20.

Wait, I thought it was Shark Week? Crocs have been flying under the radar this past year and stocks have risen over 250%. This past quarter alone they posted up 93% growth. Shout out to Steve Irwin, but I don’t think this brand’s going into a death roll anytime soon.

Ice Cold Brand Activism. Okay, are you ready for this? So Ben and Jerry’s announced an end to their sales in Occupied Palestinian Territory. Now Unilever is scrambling to make sure everyone knows they are still committed to Israel, amidst the Prime Minister of Israel asserting that he will “act aggressively” against the decision. This really set off the state of Oklahoma, which is considering boycotting Ben & Jerry’s sales to show their support of Israel. And also, there’s a non-profit group in Israel that now wants to start selling a knock-off version of the ice cream called “Judea and Samaria’s Ben & Jerry’s” and is basically saying they’ll go to court if someone tries to stop them. Annnnnd breathe.

The great expanse of slave labor. In part 5 of a Buzzfeed investigation, it is revealed that China has the capacity to imprison more than one million people in camps in the Xinjiang region. And the majority of those people are Muslims. When asked about these findings, China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond, though, in previous statements about the camps and detention centers being investigated, it said that they are “vocational education and training centers” meant to “root out extreme thoughts.”

So it bears the question… how many DTC goods are produced in Xinjiang?

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