The Composable Store: Unleashing Retail’s Potential with Modular POS

Woman stacking commerce boxes
What is the Composable Store?

Composable is one of the most common terms being thrown around within eCommerce technology circles these days. Oftentimes, it’s only looked at in relation to the architecture. However, it’s important not to forget to understand the commercial model of the technology platform and its motivations, pro or con.

Traditionally, digital commerce platforms have been built as monolithic systems, where all the features and functionalities are tightly integrated. This can make it difficult to modify or add new capabilities without the need for extensive coding or customization. On the other hand, composable commerce takes a more modular approach, where different components or services are developed independently and can be assembled or composed together as needed.

The key idea behind composable commerce is to leverage APIs and a microservices architecture. APIs allow different components or services to communicate and interact with each other, while microservices break down the functionality of an application into small, self-contained services that can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently. This modularity enables businesses to mix and match the specific components they need in order to build (compose) a tailored experience.

While the term “composable commerce” is frequently mentioned in conversations related to various eCommerce platforms, at Jumpmind, our focus is on elevating this concept to the store. We aim to empower retailers with an architectural solution that doesn’t bind them to outdated platform principles. With the Composable Store, retailers can select the best from each of the various domains such as OMS, CRM, Loyalty programs, PIM, Payments, etc. This approach allows IT and Operations the ability to provide their associates and customers with their desired add-on solutions, delivered in a seamless experience without the necessity of subscribing to the conventional platform idea.

Another important consideration with composable solutions is whether the technology vendor you are working with has a commercial structure that enables and can support a retailer to be able to select the components they want and swap in other services from different vendors as they need. Today, many vendors are talking about Composable but are ultimately still selling and delivering a singular platform. It’s important to remember that the best architecture only really matters if it provides the business outcomes a retailer needs, both today and tomorrow.

Potential Pitfalls in the Composable Journey

There are clear benefits of the Composable Store, but there are also potential pitfalls that organizations should be aware of from the beginning, in order to mitigate them.

Composable can introduce additional complexity compared to monolithic solutions. The key is to focus on careful planning and architecting. Leveraging a solution that is API-first and cloud-native from the ground up, ensures you have a solid modern architecture to build on.

Another area of concern is around vendor lock-in. Relying heavily on a single third-party vendor for critical components can result in limited flexibility with switching vendors or adapting to changing needs. The point here is to be very selective with the tech companies you work with. Ensure their focus is on empowering you to solve your challenges, whatever the solution may be. 

Consider openness, flexibility, and choice in all areas of a potential vendor’s solution. To have a “composable” solution that limits your deployment choice, cloud preferences, or form factor really misses the point. Don’t just select a vendor because of a buzzword but rather the business outcomes their solution provides. Openness and flexibility in all areas ensure that a retailer can serve both today’s customers as well as tomorrow’s.

Lastly, there can be integration challenges in composable due to sourcing multiple services from different vendors. Versioning and dependency management issues can arise that require thorough testing and coordination with various stakeholders. However, the proper use of API technology should limit these concerns.  Also, make sure your vendors are trusted partners who genuinely desire your success as much as you do and are willing to flex and work together to ensure you meet your goals.

It is important to note that while these pitfalls exist, they can be mitigated with careful planning, thorough evaluation of components and vendors, effective testing, and ongoing monitoring and maintenance.

How Can The Composable Store Help Brick & Mortar Retailers?

The Composable Store offers many benefits to brick-and-mortar retailers, helping them enhance their operations and customer experiences.

First, Omnichannel Integration: Seamlessly connect physical stores with digital platforms for a consistent customer experience across channels. The Composable Store facilitates the integration of inventory management, order fulfillment, and customer data across channels, enabling a unified and convenient shopping experience.

Personalization and Customer Engagement: The Composable Store enables retailers to leverage customer data from various sources and systems to deliver personalized experiences. By integrating customer data from in-store purchases, online interactions, loyalty programs, and other sources, retailers can gain a deeper understanding of their customer’s preferences and behavior. This data can be used to personalize marketing messages, recommend products, and offer targeted promotions, both online and in-store, fostering customer engagement and loyalty.

Flexible Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems: Allow retailers to customize their POS systems to meet their specific needs. They can select and integrate individual components such as payment processing, inventory management, loyalty programs, and CRM systems. This flexibility enables retailers to adapt their POS systems to changing requirements, add new features or services, and seamlessly integrate with other back-end systems.

Third-Party Integration: Easily integrate with external services and technologies to enhance offerings.

Agility and Innovation: The Composable Store enables retailers to quickly respond to market trends, experiment with new technologies, and stay ahead of the competition. They can easily swap or upgrade components, embracing emerging technologies like AR, VR, and IoT to enhance in-store experiences.

Conclusion: The Value and Impact of the Composable Store

The Composable Store represents a significant leap forward in retail technology, offering unparalleled flexibility and adaptability to brick-and-mortar retailers. By leveraging APIs and a microservices architecture, retailers can create customized, omnichannel experiences that seamlessly integrate digital and physical platforms, resulting in a superior and consistent customer experience.

This approach empowers retailers to quickly respond to evolving market trends and customer needs, fostering industry-leading innovation. Retailers can easily integrate third-party services, personalize customer engagement, and upgrade or modify components as needed. The advent of the Composable Store is indeed a game-changer, providing retailers with the tools and flexibility they need to succeed in today’s fast-paced and customer-centric retail landscape.