11 things to consider when choosing components for your composable setup

January 9, 2023

Jan 9, 2023

Expert Insight

Increasing scalability and flexibility gives modern ecommerce brands a competitive edge in the field. Here, composable architecture is a brand’s biggest ally. By leveraging top-tier, fully extensible components, brands can achieve perfect setups and meet customers’ rapidly changing expectations. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the main benefits of composable architecture and walk you through selecting the best-in-class components for your stellar technology stack. Finally, we'll have a look at the setups that successful fashion brands use.

Composable commerce – what it is and the benefits it brings

In composable architecture, each building block of the tech stack can be easily replaced and developed independently. This allows development teams to pick and assemble the best-of-breed components in order to put together a solution that most closely aligns with their organizational goals. By doing so, brands gain the flexibility to keep up with technological and behavioral trends and keep their stores in step with tomorrow’s needs.

Composable commerce uses Jamstack (JavaScript, APIs and Markup) technologies and MACH (microservices, API-first, cloud-native and headless) architecture, which offers certain benefits:

Easier integration with existing company systems

With a composable commerce tech stack, stores are created using an API-first approach, enabling smoother integration with existing company systems and tools. That makes it easier to expand an ecommerce platform’s capabilities and meet customers’ demands. 

Higher flexibility and scalability

Composable commerce allows brands to design more scalable stores and give them greater flexibility to offer customers unique experiences across different countries, devices and channels. This enables brands to sell across borders with localized content, currencies and payment methods.

Development agility and control

Also, the teams working on integrations gain more freedom and control. That’s because the modification of each element – for example, a shopping cart, analytics or CMS – is done separately, without affecting the others. Modular architectures also make scaling and upgrading components straightforward.

For more information about composable commerce architecture, read the whole article here.

The main components of the composable commerce setup

When designing ecommerce stores, there’s no one-size-fits-all list of components – every brand has its requirements. But a composable approach lets you freely build your setup from the ground up. You cherry-pick the functionalities that are most essential for you to succeed. This way, you save money and effort to pay for specific features you want. That’s a significant difference compared to monolithic platforms that are inflexible and pricy to develop, and might not even serve your business purpose.

Here are essential elements to include in your modern tech stack.  

1. Headless ecommerce platform 

To make a perfect composable setup, first find the most suitable ecommerce platform. This will be the control tower of your business operations, where you manage cataloging, orders, inventory, returns, shipments and marketing. 

A headless ecommerce platform, by design, gives you a myriad of customization options by making it possible to modify the back end and the front end independently. With this flexibility, brands can choose the most relevant parts for the back end and offer their customers a unique experience on the presentation layer. 

What’s more, a headless platform grants you scalability, faster web development and complete control over the architecture of the site. 

When selecting a vendor, make sure it meets the following requirements:

  • Integrations with your existing systems and tools

  • Support for multiple payment service providers

  • Automatic tax and account calculation

  • Customer support

  • Low cost of ownership

  • Reasonable pricing

  • Built-in product information management

  • Ecommerce analytics

2. Payment service providers (PSP)

Payment service providers are the cornerstone of any ecommerce website. They offer merchants the ability to accept electronically transferred payments, such as:

  • Real-time online bank transfers

  • Bank transfers 

  • Credit and debit card payments

  • Direct debit 

  • E-wallets

On top of the transaction security, PSPs often support cross-border payments by processing multiple currencies, as well as offering transaction reporting.

Giving customers a seamless payment experience requires having the best payment gateway. The question is, how do you choose the right one?

Here are some questions to help you decide:

  • What’s your customers’ most popular PSP?

  • Does the PSP support your countries and currencies?

  • Does the PSP work with your existing tech stack?

  • What are the PSP’s fees?

  • Is it possible to make recurring payments with the PSP?

  • Is there any other feature or service that the PSP offers?

3. Content management system (CMS)

As part of your composable commerce setup, you’ll need a content management system (CMS). This enables your brand to manage digital content on your e-stores using a user-friendly editor without having to write code. You can customize the store’s design, change the layout of product pages, and add promotional banners or extra store sections to improve advertising.

Over the years, the CMS market has evolved considerably, and now, choosing the right tool for your brands is no easy feat. First, decide whether you want a headless, monolithic or hybrid system.

A headless CMS separates the storage of content (“body”) from its presentation layer (“head”). In other words, the headless CMS works as a back-end content management platform, and using the API, you can display the content everywhere you want. 

The headless solution offers you, among other things, more flexible content delivery, faster development, omnichannel support, and greater scalability. It’s also more secure – with only one endpoint to access your data, it exposes fewer attack surfaces.

On the other hand, traditional monolithic systems are all-in-one solutions, with the back end tightly connected to the front end. Website content management is handled by one codebase. Unlike the headless options, monolithic CMSs were built to support one type of channel: websites. This means you can’t seamlessly publish the same content across multiple mobile devices using APIs. 

Monolithic CMSs lack modularity by design – they do not integrate well with modern software stacks and cloud services. Because they depend on the presentation layer, you manage content using templates and plugins, which limits what you can display and deliver in terms of user experience.  

A hybrid version combines a monolithic system's usability with the flexibility of the headless architecture. In a nutshell, it’s designed for developers and business users. Developers have the API power to deliver content to multiple channels, and marketers can work with the templates they know from traditional CMSs.

Second, before you choose a particular CMS platform, ask yourself a few questions: 

  • Do I want to maintain and host my content?

  • Will it be possible to easily scale my content without exceeding my budget?

  • Will I get technical support when issues appear?

  • How much flexibility do I want for content creation? 

  • Do I have developer expertise in-house?

4. Wholesale management 

A wholesale management module in your stack will streamline your B2B operations. Ideally, your wholesale management module should be built into the ecommerce platform, letting you sell to wholesale and DTC customers from one place.   

A wholesale management system should include:

  • Product information management (PIM)

  • Reporting and analytics 

  • Order and purchase management 

  • Inventory management 

  • Digital wholesale showroom

  • Tax handling

  • Dynamic pricing 

What else to look for in wholesale management:

  • Ease of integration. Even with a comprehensive stack, you should be able to add new services or tools if necessary. For instance: email services, payment gateways, personalization tools, CRMs, third-party logistics (3PL) or fulfillment.  

  • Flexibility. Nowadays, technology evolves so quickly. Wholesale platforms must be flexible, enabling you to integrate new features and functionalities, import data, and make system changes.

  • Scalability. Before you decide on a particular platform or tool, check if it keeps up with the growth of your business. 

5. Front-end framework 

By providing rewritten reusable code modules, standardized technologies and other building blocks, front-end frameworks make web development easier. 

For instance, Next.js, a free, open-source web development framework that provides fast webpages and grants you UX freedom – no limitations in terms of templates, plugins or using a CMS. This framework is a good fit for ecommerce because of its internationalized routing functionality, which allows users with different language preferences to navigate to different pages. With Next.js, you can build various digital assets such as:

  • Web portals

  • Dashboards

  • Interactive user interfaces. 

Next.js improves development speed and usability. 

Gatsby, a React-based framework, offers a plugin library that lets ecommerce businesses integrate APIs, content, analytics, CMS and various third-party services. Thanks to the progressive web app (PWA) features, Gatsby ensures high performance and a mobile-friendly experience. For better performance, Gatsby loads only the essential HTML, CSS and JavaScript files. This framework is well known for producing fast, static sites that are also SEO-friendly. 

Another example is Vue.js – an open-source framework integrated into a larger ecosystem. It offers developers many ready-to-use integrations and components to speed up the development process. Vue has a relatively small bundle size, and only loads what is required, making the ecommerce store run faster. Using Vue.js as a storefront gives developers great freedom and flexibility.

6. Inventory planning and management

Ecommerce brands and retailers rely on inventory planning and management software to analyze and forecast sales and inventory to prevent overstocking and overproduction. That end-to-end software provides real-time inventory and sales information, including metrics like margins, return rate and discounts. Additionally, it reduces manual work and human error risks.

With that detailed data at your fingertips, brands can make informed decisions on inventory optimization and product allocation, and improve collaboration with retailers and other players involved.  

How to buy the inventory planning software that meets your business needs? Here’s what to take into consideration: 

  • Possible integrations: Assess if you can integrate the inventory planning tool with other systems in your setup, e.g. product information management or ERP. 

  • Forecasting options: See if the tool enables you to adjust forecasts and plans based on your insights and expertise  

  • Analytics dashboards: Ensure that the tool you choose offers analytics dashboards and reports with real-time data that allow you to track key operational metrics and correct course when necessary.

  • Powerful data models: An effective inventory management should provide comprehensive data models to help you forecast more precisely. 

  • Your budget: Evaluate the pricing of different vendors and how it fits your budget. The cost varies based on your business size, inventory volume, number of orders, and locations.

  • Business goals: Analyze your brand’s requirements, challenges you want to tackle and how this purchase would let you save time and costs with automation. 

  • Ease of use: Check the usability of the platform, if it requires some training or additional help resources. 

7. Hosting 

Hosting options come in different types, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS), self-hosted (also called on-premises), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or platform-as-a-service (PaaS). When choosing the right hosting provider for your online store, take into account the following features:

  • Scalability 

  • High bandwidth 

  • Data storage

  • High performance 

  • Support

  • Automatic backups

  • Security 

Your decision on which hosting provider to go for will depend on your brand’s specific needs. That’s why you should first consider your traffic, sales volume, and budget, the number of domains you want to have, and technical expertise in-house. Knowing that will help you find a vendor with a product that best fits your stack.  

8. Email and marketing automation

Including marketing automation tools is crucial for your composable setup to enable brands to generate leads, send emails and post on social media. Email drip campaigns and automated emails are integral parts of a brand’s marketing strategy. Marketing automation software helps brands track key performance metrics, test and monitor email campaigns, and personalize their messaging to target customers. 

If you want to make sure you choose the right ecommerce automation platform, keep in mind:

  • Business objectives: What business goals will you meet using those tools? Does it have all the necessary functionalities?

  • Integrations with existing tech stack: Is it possible, and how easily can you connect the platform to your current tech stack?

  • Ease of use: Can you work with the platform without the training?  

  • Pricing: How does the product align with your goals and budget plans?

9. Content delivery networks (CDN)

Content delivery networks (CDN) are geographically dispersed servers that deliver web content, such as HTML pages, stylesheets, images and videos, faster by bringing it closer to users. CDNs reduce loading time for ecommerce stores for shoppers far from hosting servers – for instance, European shoppers who visit US-based stores. 

The load time of an ecommerce store can make or break the sales. That’s why having a CDN in your stack is a must. 

To help you decide which is best for you, evaluate the following factors:  

  • Performance: The right CDN is a high-performance platform that accelerates your website to guarantee your consumers a seamless shopping experience. 

  • Purge mechanism: Sometimes, you want to remove files from the CDN. How long will it take? What are the steps involved?

  • Customer geography: Depending on where your consumers are, you’ll need to have CDN servers located close to them. 

  • Security: A CDN has to include comprehensive cybersecurity protection to ensure you send data securely over the internet. It should also have web filtering technology that prevents DDoS (distributed denial of service) and hacker attacks, reduces spam and blocks bots.

  • Customer support: Would you be able to contact your partner immediately if there was a problem with the CDN configuration, during a big launch for example? 

  • Pricing: Does the product fit your budget and business goals?

10. Shipping and delivery service

Offering buyers the shipping and delivery options they know and love is critical for your business. Composable commerce simplifies this task, allowing you to connect with any shipping carrier you want. 

When choosing the right solution for your business, consider:

  • The availability of a given delivery service in your customers’ location

  • Tariffs, taxes and duties for international shipping

  • The shipping rates of the carriers

  • Delivery times that different carriers offer

11. Personalization 

Personalization in ecommerce is not just a fad. Nowadays, It is an essential part of a sound marketing strategy and something customers demand. Done right, it offers a more relevant and engaging shopping experience, consequently leading to increased conversion rates. 

With personalization software, brands can customize their stores based on the preference and behavior of their customers. For instance, personalization platforms often let you connect buyers’ real-time and historical data to ensure that content is tailored to your customers’ preferences across all channels. 

Some personalization tools enable you to segment audiences based on lifecycle stage, industry and company size. As another option, you can integrate chat support into your website, which helps you better address visitors’ problems. Brands can also use chats to link to relevant product pages and encourage consumers to explore their stores.

The most common ways to utilize personalization software are: 

  • Product recommendations

  • Retargeting campaigns across channels like email, ads and SMS

  • Up-selling and cross-selling in the checkout process

  • Personalized emails 

  • Push notifications

  • Personalized search

Examples of fashion brands using the composable commerce tech stack

Let’s look at some examples of fashion brands and their flexible composable setups. 


Eytys is an independent fashion brand based in Stockholm. The brand started with unisex footwear, embracing a philosophy of juxtaposing contrasts and proportions. Soon, the brand expanded its product portfolio with jeans, off-the-shelf clothes and accessories.  

Eytys sells their products worldwide through their web shop, as well as in brick-and-mortar stores in Stockholm and London.

Eytys’s composable stack includes

  • CMS: Headless WordPress

  • PSP: Adyen, Klarna

  • Hosting: Amazon

  • Frontend framework: Next.js

  • Inventory planning and management: Madden Analytics

  • Ecommerce platform: Centra

  • Wholesale management: Centra 

  • Shipping and delivery: PostNord, Budbee, UPS

Our Legacy 

A Stockholm fashion brand, Our Legacy is known for its unique take on timeless fashion, playing with custom-developed fabrics, textures and minimalist silhouettes. Initially a menswear brand, they now offer women’s apparel, sunglasses, shoes and fragrances. Collections feature ready-to-wear apparel with immense attention to detail and repurposed materials.

Our Legacy has the following ecommerce setup:

  • Ecommerce platform: Centra

  • Wholesale management: Centra

  • Inventory planning and management: Madden Analytics

  • Front-end framework: Next.js

  • CMS: Sanity

  • PSP: Adyen, Klarna, PayPal

  • Email and marketing automation: Rule

  • Hosting: Vercel, AWS

  • CDN: Cloudflare

  • Shipping and delivery: DHL

Frank Dandy

Leading Swedish underwear fashion brand Frank Dandy is known for its avant-garde designs. From its beginning in 2003, the brand wanted to make underwear more interesting than dull, single-colored styles. Frank Dandy continues to challenge the traditional view of underwear by creating a bold and daring fashion. Their goal is to offer well-designed quality underwear, beachwear and leisurewear for everyone.

Frank Dandy has built its composable setup using:

  • Ecommerce platform: Centra

  • Wholesale management: Centra

  • Inventory planning and management: Madden Analytics

  • CMS: Headless WordPress

  • PSP: Klarna, PayPal

  • Personalization: Voyado

  • Marketing automation: Voyado

  • Front-end framework: Next.js

  • Hosting: AWS, Cloudflare, Digital Ocean

  • CDN: Cloudflare

  • Shipping and delivery: DHL, FedEx, Bring, Postnord

Wrapping up 

Ecommerce is constantly evolving, and brands need to invest in innovation. Assembling your ideal ecommerce setup requires researching and experimenting, and composable commerce offers the best way forward. It makes it simple to swap components and technologies at any time, allowing brands to optimize their stores to adapt to marketing trends, meet customer expectations, and stand the test of time.

This article was written by our partner Centra. Reach out to them directly for a demo of their headless commerce platform.

Want help with inventory planning? Madden Analytics has direct integrations to Centra and will integrate to your ERP, WMS and payment solution as needed. Book a free demo to learn more.


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