Best-of-breed approach or all-in-one suite? The requirements in all areas of ecommerce are increasing and becoming more specific. Accordingly, more and more specialized tools are emerging that cover targeted task areas, and are sometimes even sector-specific. On the other hand, there are suites that try to cover as many areas as possible. Our Shopware partner Flagbit demonstrates the advantages of the best-of-breed approach or composable commerce compared to the all-in-one suites.
What now? Headless commerce, composable commerce or best-of-breed? In fact, all three terms mean more or less the same thing. Best-of-breed does not just refer to ecommerce, and headless commerce in particular refers to the separation of backend and frontend. Here we use these terms synonymously.
In principle, both approaches have their purpose. While all-in-one solutions are often denigrated as monoliths, a unified suite can make perfect sense for companies with low requirements or corporations with enough resources and long decision-making processes. Composable commerce should also be pursued with a sense of proportion. For example, if you only have a few products in your store, you will not necessarily need an independent PIM.
Advantages of composable commerce
The advantages of the best-of-breed approach include the following:
Best possible tool
It is obvious that if a system has been developed for only one purpose, then it will be able to fulfill this task particularly well. After all, it was developed by experts for experts.
Interchangeability of individual systems
When requirements change, other solutions are needed. In a diverse system landscape, only a single system needs to be replaced. This is less complex than further adapting or even replacing a suite.
All systems receive updates from time to time. These are not always easy to carry out, take time and can be stressful. With a monolith, there is an enormous risk, because the more complex a system, the more difficult it is to carry out updates. This means that individual systems with limited complexity have an advantage here.
Complexity not only has an impact on updates, but often also on performance. Lean systems can be significantly faster.
In addition to updates provided by the manufacturer, special tools often offer the operator the possibility to make adjustments themselves. This is much easier because there are fewer dependencies.
Failures can occur with any system. If this happens to a suite, it's the end of the line: all processes are affected. The situation is different if it only involves an expert tool. In this case, often only a small section is lost. Planned downtimes can also be better coordinated this way.
If the systems are separated from each other, employees or external parties only get access to what they need. When using a PIM, for example, it is not necessary to go into the merchandise management system or the store to maintain product data.
Employees who work with a lean tool designed for their tasks will find their way around it more quickly than in a large suite. This saves costs during training.
The complexity also decreases internally when the next expansion stages are clear and do not have to be coordinated with other departments.
Since you only pay for the tools you use, there may be advantages here compared to a large suite.
The biggest concerns store operators often have with composable commerce are the interfaces. Depending on the number of systems, it may be worth using an ESB (enterprise service bus) or middleware. In this way, the data is always reliably provided where and when it is needed.
It is important to choose systems that follow an API-first approach. Prime examples include Shopware for store solutions or Akeneo for PIM systems. These make it very easy to address all areas within the system via an interface.
Besides ERP/WaWi and Shop, there are countless systems that you can take a closer look at.
For us, three major systems in particular have emerged:
CRM (for example Hubspot)
BI tool (for example Power BI)
PIM (for example Akeneo)
Other possible tools could be:
Frontend (for example Vue Storefront, React)
CMS (for example Contentful)
Search (for example Algolia, Fact-Finder)
Newsletter (for example Inxmail, Klaviyo)
Marketplace integrations (for example Tradebyte, Channelpilot)
Payment (for example Adyen, Mollie)
and many more…
Whether you call it headless, composable commerce or best of breed, it is always about using the best and most specialized tools. Despite some disadvantages, there are many advantages. The first step is to choose the right store system. It's best to go for solutions with an API-first approach like Shopware.
Do you want to learn more about this topic? Then you can find the free download of Shopware's headless commerce white paper here: