Composable architecture helps meet changing needs

Modern customers expect to interact with digital businesses through various channels, whether a physical store, a kiosk, an app, social media, online customer support, loyalty solutions, and more. These customer touchpoints are constantly changing and evolving.

Customers anticipate a consistent experience personalized to their needs across all channels. This requires a deep understanding of the customer and foresight.

As architecture grows more complex by the day, it’s a great time to consider composable architecture.

What is composable architecture?

Based on a microservices concept, composable architecture refers to loosely coupled services, applications, and features acting as independent building blocks communicating via APIs. This approach provides the chance to handpick the best-of-breed technologies to create a flexible ecommerce stack and replace components without impacting other parts of the system.

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Composable architecture in 3 minutes

What does composable architecture do?

Composable architecture lets you assemble a set of best-of-breed technologies for your business. The technologies and operating methods used are based on the needs and goals of your business. The modular approach is the opposite of the traditional platform-based approach, boasting out-of-the-box features and functionality.

The customer experience is at the center of composable architecture, as every component can easily be replaced as new needs or technologies arise. Composable architecture is perfect for companies that want to create cutting-edge digital customer experiences and consistently keep up with digital trends.

Microservices vs APIs: What’s the Difference? »

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How to get started quickly: the Vaimo Launchpad

If you’re interested in going composable but you’re not sure where to start, check out the Vaimo Launchpad: Composable Architecture Accelerator.

We’ve pre-selected leading partners and best-of-breed tools to onboard your organization into the composable sphere quickly and easily. Take the guesswork and complexity out of the equation. Launch into composable architecture with the Vaimo Launchpad.


Discover the Vaimo Launchpad

The benefits of composable architecture

Enjoy the freedom to choose the elements you need without building your solution from scratch or (gasp) re-platforming. A flexible, light-weight architecture lets you pivot to quickly stay ahead of trends and competitors.

What happens when you keep customers happy and coming back? More sales, of course! A flexible working environment lets teams work together quickly to constantly improve your customer experiences.

Save money on resources, from hosting and product licenses, to site maintenance. Pay for only the microservices you need–nothing else.

Plan for growth and scalability with the freedom to choose, integrate, and swap out components. Don’t limit yourself when expanding to new markets or trying the latest trends.

Customer Experience (CX) is at the heart of…everything. It’s not a one-and-done kind of thing nowadays; it’s a constant work in progress to keep customers happy. Make it simple to update, adapt, and tweak your CX.

Unleash your developers to build integrations, create multiple sales channels, integrate third-party services, swap data between applications, and more. Ensure every microservice meets a specific business need.

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The MACH principles

Composable architecture is based on the MACH principles, a concept centered on a modular ecosystem containing loosely coupled microservices.

The MACH acronym consists of the words: Microservices, API-First, Cloud-native, and Headless

  • Microservices: Independently functioning services or systems that are each responsible for a certain function
  • API-First: Microservices use Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, to communicate with each other
  • Cloud-native: Cloud-native applications provide better scalability, faster development, and improved flexibility without the burden of maintaining personal servers
  • Headless: The concept of decoupling the frontend, or user interface, from the backend

Watch: Headless and Composable Architecture »


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Composable vs headless

Are composable and headless the same thing? No, but they are closely related. Headless is a part of the composable architecture concept.

A headless online store does not contain a “head” or a “presentation layer” with which end users interact. Headless refers to a completely separated backend and frontend (presentation layer) as opposed to a single platform as one entity or suite.

This provides the possibility to use systems from different suppliers for the backend, a CMS (content management system), and the presentation layer visible to customers. The backend and frontend systems generally “talk” through APIs in a headless solution.

Go headless with Vaimo »

Composable Commerce vs headless

Composable architecture refers to an ecosystem that contains independent systems and components that communicate with each other with the help of APIs. Composable architecture can contain several different headless implementations. Headless architecture allows for deeper flexibility, as developers and teams can work independently to change different functions without jeopardizing one another.

Often, headless is the first step towards a more flexible approach, such as composable architecture, where the backend is also composed of separate components, or “microservices.”

Headless Magento: Is It the Right Choice for You? »

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Headless and composable, explained

From a business perspective

When you want to offer your customers a high level of brand experience, even the most advanced ecommerce platform with a plethora of plug-and-play features may not be enough to meet all your needs. Building a sophisticated and detailed customer experience requires multiple tools and features that are tuned to peak performance in their specific area of expertise.

When a company’s ecommerce solution is composed of microservices that communicate via APIs, each separate microservice can be updated or exchanged individually. According to research by Gartner, companies that adopt a composable approach are faster than competitors when implementing new functionalities.

Composable architecture enables business drivers, with:

  • A strong focus on branding
  • Increasing the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Optimizing features and functions for the customer
  • Forging new sales channels
  • Faster return on investment (ROI) through increased value

How to Go Composable with Adobe Commerce »

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Platform-based vs composable architecture

Ecommerce companies typically choose either a traditional ecommerce platform or go the composable architecture route. Neither is necessarily a better choice, but the right solution for you is based on your company’s unique needs and current technological state.

Composable architecture (also known as microservices-based architecture) is based on microservices, where the features of the online store are divided into individual components that function independently.

The benefits of composable architecture

  • Since composable architecture is built from separate microservices, it’s possible to remove, add, replace and improve the components anytime. You’re free always to choose the best-of-breed tools available on the market.
  • Composable enables the optimization of every part of your system, and as a result, your developers can work on your system at a more detailed level.
  • With composable, you avoid the need for large-scale projects, such as re-platforming, which can last several months or even years.
Composable Commerce vs Suite

The benefits of traditional platform-based architecture

  • Composable architecture requires a higher level of technical expertise in order to ensure the functionality and maintenance of your ecommerce solution. Using a single all-in-one platform can be simpler from a technical point of view.
  • An individual platform, or a suite, already contains a large number of well-functioning, ready-to-use functionalities out-of-the-box, which can be customized up to a certain point according to your company’s needs.
  • Platform-based architecture follows the specifications made by the manufacturer. As a result, it’s usually easier to integrate add-ons and plugins that belong to the same ecosystem and use the same data models.
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Technical organization & delivery

Full-stack-based architecture, such as the traditional ecommerce platform, generally has fewer systems to cover processes and functionality. On the other hand, composable architecture requires slightly different capabilities, and a new way of thinking when it comes to design.


Technical vision

  • Traditional architecture doesn’t offer as much flexibility, but it provides best-of-breed solutions focused on solving business problems.
  • A headless implementation strategy ensures the frontend and backend can be updated separately.
  • Composable architecture allows developers to change or add “services” independently.


Technical organization

  • Traditional architecture calls for a smaller team with 1-2 product owners or business analysts, and support from IT on architectural elements.
  • Headless architecture enables in-house or multi-partner delivery.
  • Composable requires wider technical expertise, with in-house system architects, DevOps, product owners, and business architects.


Partner collaboration model

  • Traditional architecture outsources ecommerce maintenance, agile development, and DevOps to a partner.
  • Headless allows for separate development roadmaps for the backend and frontend.
  • Composable allows a company to use in-house teams for DevOps and maintenance along with cross-organizational development teams.

Who is a great fit for composable architecture?

Composable architecture is not the only choice, nor is it the right one for every company. For a smaller company with a straightforward business model, composing an ecommerce solution from components is a big investment that won’t pay for itself. Generally, the composable approach suits larger organizations with more complex business models. Composable architecture is an excellent fit in the following scenarios:

  • A company with a marketplace operation
  • A manufacturer that produces complex equipment
  • A large, internationally operating brand
  • A company within the telecommunications, finance, or automotive industry
  • A company that is an advanced multi-channel seller
  • A company that offers IoT-based services

Choose composable architecture if you cannot allow your system architecture to slow down innovations, you have ambitious omnichannel goals and a vision of connecting all sales channels, or you want to experiment with new digital services and tech.

Talk to our specialists today »

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Our Partners

commercetools is the world’s leading commerce platform built on modern MACH Principles (Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-Native, and Headless) and allows you to work with your commerce solution and create tailored customer experiences.

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Contentful is an API-based headless content management platform where you can create, manage, and publish content on any of your digital channels.

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Adobe Commerce is an extendable and scalable end-to-end ecommerce platform that lets you manage, personalize, and optimize the commerce experience across touchpoints and the customer journey.

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Alokai lets you build fast, engaging, and mobile-friendly ecommerce websites. With a mobile-first design, and robust performance, Alokai ups the ante when it comes to speed and customer engagement possibilities.

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The field of ecommerce is constantly evolving. At Vaimo, we stay at the forefront of technical developments and continuously bring on new tools and skills as needed.

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