Integrations are the Achilles Heel of Composable Commerce: Tips for Overcoming Challenges

The appeal of in-person retail shopping may have diminished in recent years, as ongoing industry trends underscore the unrivaled convenience of online shopping. Analysts project that U.S. online retail sales will reach $1.6 trillion by 2027. To ensure they have the capacity to meet that demand and to see the benefits from those sales in their own revenue growth, digital commerce teams must scale their own technology capabilities to match. Composable commerce is a key part of that scaling, but it’s often complicated and labor-intensive for organizations to implement — and this is especially true when it comes to integrations.

Integrations lie at the core of composable commerce as the source of both its potential and its vulnerabilities. They allow brands to go further, faster when creating a multi-vendor digital commerce solution, but any breakdown in these integrations can disrupt the entire system. 

For example, a payments integration can process a customer’s purchase quickly and securely, keeping merchandise flowing smoothly. But if the integration isn’t seamlessly integrated into the site, it can compromise the customer experience, leading to churn and abandoned carts. 

Many brands struggle with the cost and complexity of building, hosting, managing and monitoring the integrations that power a composable approach. According to a report from Forrester, “In 2023, a third of digital businesses will abandon or restructure midstream projects that prove too complex to execute or maintain.” Far too many businesses that hope to realize a unique commerce vision by implementing a composable architecture instead end up spending a vast amount of resources, both time and money, on custom development work in order to connect the disparate systems. Instead of delivering experiences that delight, brands find themselves forced to direct disproportionate resources to simply holding things together on the backend.

Don’t let integrations trip up your efforts to implement a truly customizable approach — there are less frustrating ways to achieve your composable commerce dreams.

Give Your IT Team a Break with Low- and No-Code Options

Excessive reliance on IT is one of the biggest issues feared by teams hoping to implement composable commerce. Connecting your organization’s online retail storefront with multiple backend applications can require extensive coding. Managing numerous APIs further complicates matters, leading to potential frustrations not only within the IT department but also among other team members entangled in discussions over each distinct integration. Unless, of course, those integrations are specifically designed to require little to no coding, simplifying your company’s processes.

Naturally, these low- and no-code integrations must remain robust and secure, capable of handling your brand’s customary ecommerce traffic while accommodating future growth. The simplicity of a low- or no-code integration means that any problems that do arise can likely be addressed with far fewer IT resources than would otherwise be required, meaning your team regains time to work on product innovation. With a well-established framework, teams can monitor for potential issues and address them before they become apparent to customers and affect your organization’s financial performance.

Remember: The Job Doesn’t End After Implementation

Once your integrations are up and running, you have to keep them that way. If a critical integration experiences an outage at an inopportune moment, such as your company’s order management system failing during the peak of the holiday shopping season, your company can face severe financial repercussions. That’s where integrations monitoring comes in.

Integrations monitoring entails continuously tracking the activity, status and effectiveness of each of your business’s integrations. This provides valuable insight into how well each of the company’s technology services are performing. Ideally, all this information should be accessible through a centralized dashboard, updated in real time.

Integrations monitoring allows tech leaders to spot where the company’s digital commerce environment — whether it’s an ESB architecture, APIs or an iPaaS — could be made more efficient or enhanced based on their performance. As a result, you can continually fine-tune your brand’s architecture to align with your requirements and better serve your customers.

Select Integrations that Offer Potential for Future Growth

What an organization needs tomorrow is likely to be different from what it needs next year, and you shouldn’t feel tied down to a retail framework that no longer fits — or one that feels fine for now but can’t grow and change right along with your own needs and requirements. When implementing your company’s integrations, leave room for scaling and other changes. If one day a business wants to implement bundles, enable location-based storefronts or stay current with other digital commerce trends, it shouldn’t create a headache.

Leveraging low- and no-code integrations will make swapping out integrations seamless when the time comes, enabling optimization without slowing down sales or hindering the consumer buying experience.

Flexibility is a key component of a composable approach, but it can be hampered if the integrations powering your brand’s ecommerce platform are overly complicated or too intertwined with one another to allow for nimble changes. If your organization decides to expand or reduce the scope of its products, or target a new market, your digital commerce presence should easily and immediately reflect those changes. The customer experience, and your brand’s own ability to keep up with and stay on the winning side of market projections, depend on it.

David Stover is the Senior Director of Product Management at Elastic Path, a leading provider of Composable Commerce solutions. With over 20 years of experience developing, managing and executing digital products, ecommerce and SaaS solutions, Stover is a seasoned expert and thought leader with a heavy focus on customer experience. Prior to joining Elastic Path, he held leadership roles at a broad spectrum of organizations, ranging from startups to publicly traded entities.