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10 things we learned at the UK’s first Composable Commerce Summit

March 2024 - Commerce • News

In today’s world, new platforms, regulations, technology, behaviours and audiences emerge almost daily. Which means steering your business towards sustainable growth has become more complex than ever.  

To capitalise on this complexity, many technology and marketing leaders have turned to Composable Commerce as a strategy. Composable Commerce is an approach that sees businesses shift from a one-size-fits-all monolith tech model to a custom technology stack incorporating the best platforms, products and solutions in the market.  
This new approach gives you the ability to respond with speed and agility to market changes and customer demands, allowing your brand to meet customers anywhere —online, mobile, in-store, social — and unlocking a brave new world of possibility. 

But getting it right — or even just knowing where to start — can be hard. 

That’s why Brave Bison Commerce hosted the UK’s first-ever Composable Commerce Summit.  

On Wednesday 20 April, the best brands, tech partners and platforms came together to help marketers and tech leaders navigate the composable ecosystem. Our fireside chats, panels and keynotes tackled the most pressing challenges businesses face today, from integrating AI to sustainability and the evolving landscape of social commerce. 

We’ve condensed the day’s top insights (of which there were many!) to give you our top 10 key takeaways below.  



1. Composable doesn’t have to mean complicated. 

Going composable can feel like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. “Composability is about simplifying your ability to architect your tech stack to your specific business needs, whether it’s importing and managing products, synchronising product descriptions, or managing content,” explains Elizabeth Azide, EMEA director of marketing at BigCommerce.  “Composability is about people more than tech,” adds Rachel Tonner, VP of marketing at Klevu. “What do your shoppers need on your site to make a purchase? What about your teams? Composability lets you deliver on these considerations.” You don’t need to attack everything at once. Take it one step at a time, and you can still achieve your business goals as well as a speedy time to market.

2. The transition to a post-fossil fuel economy is already happening. The sooner you act the better. 

Composable systems are not only beneficial from a performance and cost perspective, but they’re a more sustainable choice. And with legislation requiring businesses to start reporting on their carbon emissions from next year, we should all be choosing greener products.  “Data centres currently outweigh the aircraft industry for carbon emissions,” says Andy Eva-Dale, technical director at Tangent. “By adapting your caching strategies using headless architecture and serving information to people on your site locally, you make huge performance gains, save money and reduce carbon.”   
Develop a long-term action plan. “There’s no shortage of resources on sustainable business practices. So do some research, and ask yourself, ‘How ready is my business for this? Have we got the right products and services?’” advises Leo Rayman, EdenLab’s founder and CEO. “If you’re overwhelmed, start with small steps to build confidence.” 

3. Know your audience.  

Cliché but true. Understand who’s driving purchases for your business – as well as their shopping habits, preferred channels, and methods of communication. “Hit them with a form of content they understand – and stay authentic. That’s key to driving conversions,” says Flavia De Pfyffer, fashion lead at TikTok Shop.  “Bloomreach lets us identify and target our comms to specific types of customers in a highly personalised way, which has boosted our conversions,” explains Connor Weir, community manager at HMV. 

4. Think outside ‘out-of-the-box'.

Take the time to evaluate your tech stack. Is it working its absolute hardest to deliver your business goals? Have you done the market research to find products that would work better? You don’t have to settle for out-of-the-box. If there’s one thing our speakers demonstrated, it’s that there’s a composable commerce solution for every type of business.  

5. Accept that the journey may not be smooth... 

“Composable tech is a fairly young concept and it’s still evolving,” says Andy Pickup, digital and marketing director at MKM. “There’s no playbook as such. Testing and learning is part of the process.”  

6. ...but there are things you can do to mitigate bumps in the road. 

Ralph Urmel, global senior digital experience manager at Danone, says having specific criteria is crucial for vendor selection – of which there are many. Time to market is the obvious one, but you should also consider pricing, interoperability with existing systems, end-user experience, and best fit for your teams.

7. Bring solutions, not problems, to the table. 

It’s something Sam Billett, senior communications and digital solutions manager, learned while getting buy-in from stakeholders on Vodafone’s composable project. “Instead of approaching stakeholders with your problem, ask stakeholders for their feedback and present them with a solution. That way they’re already halfway in on the journey,” he advises.

8. Clean data is essential for operationalising AI in your business.

“AI is a hot topic, but it actually has practical implications and benefits for businesses,” says Leigh Gammons, Tangent’s CEO. The right AI tool can streamline workflows, solve business challenges, and free up your teams to do creative, enjoyable work. But it’s essential to have good, clean data before you start investing. “If you don’t put the right data in, AI won’t give you the right answers out,” says Kieran Lane, director of solution engineering at Amplience. 

9. But beware of AI washing.

Don’t be afraid to ask vendors the important questions. “What does your algorithm actually do, and what kind of data is feeding it? How do you mitigate bias? How long have you been working on this? Do you have a team of AI scientists? What's proprietary and what isn’t? Can I build your tool myself? If vendors can’t answer these questions, they’re probably AI washing you,” advises Rachel. 

10. Last but not least: don’t neglect the lower funnel.  

“Marketers invest a lot of time in optimising the top and middle of the funnel, but not enough energy goes into ensuring shoppers actually convert at the checkout once they’ve found a purchase,” argues David Nisbet, Head of Agency Ecosystem Partnerships EMEA at Stripe. Take the time to implement a few simple solutions, and you’ll lock in purchases. Improve your checkout experience through mobile optimisation; offer the right payment methods; have a clear-cut brand purpose; and earn trust through transparency by showing customers how you use and protect their sensitive information.  

If you're considering the shift to composable or have already started the journey, then let us help you capitalise on this complexity. We've developed a comprehensive consulting package that takes just 2 weeks, you can find out more here.

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