Opinions & Insights
Achieving Agility with Composable Commerce: Insights from Mira Commerce
The evolution of e-commerce architecture
At Mira Commerce, a digital transformation consultancy that has been operating for almost two decades, change is a bellwether of growth. For president and CEO Sergei Ostapenko and CTO Eduardo De Lisa, brands aim to level up work with Mira to, among other things, reconfigure their e-commerce architecture to usher in a more flexible approach.
“E-commerce is evolving into the best-of-breed model where vendors are known to do one thing very well,” says Ostapenko in a conversation with Netlify. He’s referring to a composable tech stack where various components can be swapped in and out by brands working with a variety of vendors. For example, one vendor may be a specialist in the checkout, while another may be an expert in customer segmentation and mailing lists.
Flexibility as a key driver
Mira Commerce works primarily in specialty retail, such as fashion, sporting goods, automotive parts, and outdoor sporting goods, and what they’ve consistently seen with clients is how flexibility is important for brands aiming to rejig their tech backbone.
“Some brands may be hearing the siren song of headless e-commerce but they don’t know why it would fit well for them,” says Ostapenko. Those in charge of ushering in headless into their websites should “view technology as a product and strategic asset rather than a budget line to be approved.”
Embracing composable commerce
He has noticed how some brands balk at moving towards headless due to the many different vendors and customer service teams they must work with, as opposed to dealing with one vendor when they purchase a monolithic system.
“But then we see a positive reaction when clients start to understand how all components play together,” De Lisa notes “and then they recognize how far they can go with performance to deliver content as fast as they can to customers.”
How the headless approach improves page load time
So why does headless engineer a quicker page delivery load time? A Content Delivery Network (CDN), like Netlify, enables customers to distribute content across a wide network of servers, globally. This network of servers hosts site content and requests it from the server which is closest to the visitor in order to reduce load time as data doesn't have to transit as far. When a user then loads a web page it will be the closest CDN that sends a cached version of the web page's content to the user's browser. In some cases, CDNs have been able to reduce page load time by as much as 30%.
When brands use out-of-the-box e-commerce platforms, they often rely on the server those systems use as the hosting option. Even if this might look like an easy deployment option, it is not ideal for page speed to, for instance, use a US-based server when operating in Europe. By leveraging a headless solution, brands can use optimized servers for deployment to improve page delivery speed to the end user.
Demonstrating the benefits of composability
Ostapenko explains how Mira Commerce supercharges e-commerce assets by helping brands “build bridges across content and the assets, such as smart search and CDPs, and to help market them intelligently… For example, the platform can conduct A/B testing and segmentation and also provide tools for retargeting options, or deploy smart functionality for product recommenders. The shopping cart, the CMS, those are building blocks, with the middleware binding it all and helping components talk to each other.”
He adds how Mira Commerce has preferred partners on every one of those components, but they engage with brands on what exactly they need in their tech stack to ensure they are getting the strongest solutions from the most applicable vendors.
Ostapenko says Mira Commerce customers can view for themselves during this digital transformation journey how the benefits of headless work for them. “We show them incremental wins in terms of metrics and how that translates into added revenue. They see the value in plug-and-play architecture, and how this approach can, say, decouple customer profiles and rules from monolithic platforms and allow them to own that data regardless of the tools they add.”
As intimidating as moving away from a well-worn system to a headless approach, and questions may come up about the ROI of that transition, Mira Commerce allays those anxieties with a sensible statement posted on its website: “Migration projects also are not how merchants maximize their ROI. That is actually done by delivering a streamlined and solid use experience to their online shoppers and internal users which can be realized with the experience and competence of Mira Commerce.”