Businesses have become accustomed to a constantly changing reality in the retail industry. They’ve had to pivot their business models to cope with a complete digital-first evolution forced by the pandemic alongside the rapidly increasing Australian online shopping appetite and ever-changing customer demands.

Moving into 2022, retailers will need to elevate their business architecture and strategies to deliver seamless experiences from anywhere, at any time, both online and in-store. One in three consumers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience – customer experience is a bedrock for the industry and cannot be overlooked.

Back to basics with a composable business

Composable businesses are organisations built on an architecture of interchangeable “building blocks” designed at its core to be flexible, resilient and agile. These businesses use APIs (application programming interfaces) to respond faster to changes in the market and consumer trends while also allowing different internal systems to communicate and share information.

There are a few critical benefits for composable businesses:

  • Business centricity: This technology empowers leaders to experiment, adapt and make changes to the business strategy and create unique experiences without relying on major IT infrastructure projects.
  • Solutions emerge from the bottom up, not just top-down: Opening up the business enables greater transparency, revealing ideas, patterns, and capabilities at all levels while improving the experiences across all touchpoints.
  • Reuse and grow: Composable businesses, by their nature, are continuously improving, experimenting and adapting. APIs enable organisations to build and develop the same technology throughout its lifecycle, rather than hop from one project to another without any longevity. This approach is very cost-effective, reducing overhead and focusing on consumption.
  • Open ecosystem: Businesses can incorporate best in breed technologies with leading partners incorporating innovative solutions, building their architecture rather than dismantling.

By 2023, Gartner predicts that organisations that have adopted a composable approach will outpace the competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation. Change is inevitable for the retail industry; as Australians embrace the “shop anytime, anywhere and anyhow” mindset, it is critical to invest in technology to respond to these demands at scale.

Powering eCommerce

Australian eCommerce is booming, currently worth over $43.9 bn, and is expected to continue its rapid growth next year. Personalisation and customer experience are key for businesses hoping to capitalise on this market. Retailers coming out ahead are using technology to transform customers’ digital retail experience – ensuring they have the same level of service on every platform.

APIs are critical to powering eCommerce platforms; for example, retailers can use them to help you manage and update your product catalogue so that it syncs across different platforms. A checkout API can allow you to customise your checkout experience and connect it to your eCommerce platform. Anything that involves system integrations and sharing data, that’s where you’ll find an API.

Many companies see agility and resilience as their top priorities but are often stumped on what technology will achieve these goals. While no one can predict what the future will bring, retailers will undoubtedly need to invest in solutions that can scale and pivot quickly in line with the market. In 2022, an innovative business will be a composable one.

Grace Micallef is regional vice president of industries at MuleSoft.