Are you considering composable commerce, but aren’t sure if it’s right for your business? We’re here to help. We’ve developed a great solution to help clients understand if composable commerce is the right step for them with our specialized workshops. Discovery is a series of workshops that we at Vaimo run, working with clients to define a solution that will satisfy their customer and business needs in the most efficient way. The result – a set of documents produced by our UX, solution, and architect teams that serve as a blueprint for what we build, including user experience and solution architecture.

In this article, we will look at the best practices we follow when doing discovery for composable commerce builds. However, before we dive into best practices, let’s explore composable commerce, what it is, and what it is not.

Related Reading: Ecommerce evolution: platform-based vs composable architecture




Why choose composable commerce?


Nowadays, business and customer needs are diverse, complex, and ever-changing. While some companies may choose to use one single platform or solution to fulfill every requirement, others may need a different solution. Client data, order management, product information management, blogs, ecommerce, catalogs, checkout, marketing, analytics, and so on are all critical components of a well-functioning enterprise. This is where composable commerce comes in to help solve the challenges of diverse and changing business and client needs.

Composable architecture allows us to deconstruct and establish best practice services and features that meet customer experience needs. It lets different teams retain control over the technology underpinning their business functions and provides the best possible solutions for very granular business challenges.

In other words, it allows a business to leverage different solutions for different parts of the commerce experience, ensuring that each part is well suited for its job.

Let’s say you want to leverage Adobe Commerce but want a more robust content platform and storefront because the Adobe Commerce out-of-the-box (Luma) storefront isn’t sufficient for your needs. No problem – you can use Adobe Commerce (backend), Amplience (content management), and Vue Storefront (website storefront).

Or maybe you want a very customizable and lightweight backend that is super fast, and you don’t need a sophisticated back-office UI – perfect, you could leverage commercetools with a custom frontend and Bloomreach as a content management system.

Related Reading: How to go composable with Adobe Commerce


Getting started


When building your composable tech stack, it is more important than ever to define and document your commerce business capabilities, or in other words, what your ecommerce does.

In a more traditional, packaged-based approach, many business capabilities are defined by the ecommerce platform itself. For example, when using Adobe Commerce Cloud + Luma (out-of-the-box frontend), we usually know what the system can do, what requires customization, and what is not native to the system and better to be avoided. This is great when the business model fits nicely into the system – you have many things working right away, out of the box.

Should you decide to use a particular solution, many businesses’ capabilities are driven by what is considered the best practice in the solution, and it’s harder to think creatively.

This is even more apparent in more constrained platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, where the entire business model can, and often is, defined by the platform itself. This also can be a good thing if you are looking for an easy and quick solution to get your ecommerce business up and running.

On the other hand, composable commerce allows you to build whatever you need to build with whatever components you want, but you still need to run a thorough discovery to support that build.

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How can discovery help?


When you have already defined a list of ecommerce [business] capabilities (often, we at Vaimo are very much involved in this process), it’s time to move forward to the discovery. This is when we define how each ecommerce capability can be achieved with composable commerce use in mind.

Let’s look at some of our best practices when performing composable discovery.

1. Business-centric naming approach

To keep your focus on business aspects, utilize nouns instead of verbs when naming capabilities. This underscores the “business-at-rest” nature of these elements. For example: “Fast Checkout – One-Click Payment” or “Flexible Checkout – Installment Payment.”

2. Balancing the present with the future

As you embark on the discovery process, remember to balance your current needs with your future aspirations. Documenting your goals and objectives will ensure that the technical solutions you implement today can evolve and adapt to your future vision.

3. Collaborative capabilities

Imagine an online bookstore. Its primary business capability is the “ability to sell book subscriptions.” This capability relies on the collaboration of multiple systems in the composable commerce approach: product information management system, ecommerce platform, checkout, and payments.

4. Organizing capabilities in a hierarchy

Not all capabilities are on the same functional or logical level. For example, “selling physical products” can be a top-level business capability, with the following related sub-capabilities:

  • Product data management and enrichment
  • User-friendly product page experience
  • Streamlined checkout process:
    • Accurate tax calculation
    • Secure payment options:
      • Credit card
      • Invoice
    • Reliable delivery partners
      • DHL
      • DPD

5. Distinguishing core and support business capabilities

It’s essential to identify the difference between core and support capabilities, as it can help you prioritize resources and investments.

  • Core capabilities – The vital elements that define your business and enable it to provide value to customers (e.g., selling wine subscriptions).
  • Support capabilities – The complementary functions that facilitate smooth business operations (e.g., maintaining a service level agreement (SLA) for your tech stack, managing product stock in the warehouse, or ensuring that reports and analytics are available).

6. Emphasizing flexibility and adaptability

In the ever-changing world of commerce, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of flexibility and adaptability in your chosen solutions. By opting for a composable commerce approach, you’re equipping your business with the tools to grow and evolve in response to market demands and emerging trends. This adaptability will ensure your business remains competitive and relevant in the long run.

Related Reading: Infographic: Is composable architecture right for you?


Key takeaways


  • In composable commerce, defining business capabilities is critical, as the platform will not define them for you.
  • Capabilities define what your business does or can do in the future, not how it works or what system is doing it. The same capability may be implemented in different ways.
  • Business capabilities are owned by the business and are named using business domain language.
  • Make sure your capabilities are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive – there should be no overlaps or gaps between them – make sure to note EVERYTHING – grouping comes next.


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How Vaimo can help


At Vaimo, we have extensive experience guiding ecommerce companies through uncharted territories. Our expertise lies in assisting numerous brands and retailers in identifying the most suitable approach for their individual requirements and objectives. Experience is everything.

Let our solutions consultants help you with your composable commerce discovery.