How to Make WWWow with
star image
Jamstack / Headless
A free guide!

Composable Commerce Migration - The Guide To Replatform From Monolithic

Businesses nowadays are increasingly turning towards a more modular and flexible architecture known as composable commerce. This allows enterprises to select and integrate the best solutions tailored to their development and project needs, providing the agility and scalability required to stay competitive.

composable commerce migration cover image

Understanding Monolithic Systems

Monolithic e-commerce platforms, which have been the industry standard for decades, are characterized by their unified and interconnected architecture. This traditional approach consolidates all functionalities—front-end, back-end, databases, and more—into a single, cohesive system.

While this can offer simplicity and straightforwardness in the short term, it often leads to long-term challenges such as:

  • Inflexibility: Monolithic systems are notoriously rigid, making it difficult for businesses to adapt to changing market demands or integrate new technologies. The tightly coupled nature of these systems means that even minor changes can require significant effort and resources.

  • Scalability Issues: As an e-commerce business grows and traffic increases, monolithic systems can struggle to handle the load efficiently. Scaling resources or adding new features can be complex and time-consuming, often requiring extensive downtime or complete system overhauls.

  • Slow Innovation: The pace of innovation is significantly slowed in monolithic setups. New feature development and core updates are slow to market and may need more quality and functionality to keep up with competitors.

  • Vendor Lock-In: Businesses using monolithic platforms often face vendor lock-in, which limits their ability to switch to different solutions or vendors without incurring substantial costs and complexities.

  • Limited Omnichannel Capabilities: Monolithic systems typically offer limited support for omnichannel strategies, making it challenging for businesses to provide a seamless customer experience across various channels.

  • High Total Cost of Ownership: The overall cost of maintaining and updating monolithic systems can be high, considering the need for specialized skills, and resources, and the potential for increased downtime during updates.

In contrast, the emerging trend of modularity with composable commerce improves flexibility and scalability and enables quicker innovation and adaptation to market changes.

Composable Commerce - A New Player Rising In Popularity

Composable commerce represents a shift, moving away from these monolithic systems towards a more agile and adaptable solution. It involves piecing together various “composable” elements, such as:

  • Frontend interfaces: Separated from the backend, allowing for quicker updates and a better user experience.

  • Microservices: Independent services that perform specific business functions, enabling easier updates and maintenance.

  • Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs): Reusable components that can be quickly integrated to add new functionalities.

According to a recent survey by Shopify conducted in partnership with IDC (International Data Corporation), 45% of enterprises are now using a composable front-end with a full-stack back-end.


of companies

are either implementing or contemplating changes to their existing commerce platform design as part of their forward-looking strategy


What is Composable Architecture

Want to discover more information about Composable Architecture and its features for scalable projects?

We covered this topic in depth in one of our articles!

Benefits of Composable Commerce

The transition to composable commerce offers numerous advantages:

  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Tailor-made solutions that can quickly adapt to customer preferences.

  • Improved SEO Performance: Faster and more responsive websites that rank better in search engine results.

  • Future-Proof Scalability: Easily scale individual components to meet growing demands.

  • Shorter Time-To-Market: Rapid deployment of new features and updates.

  • Flexibility: Swap out or upgrade components without disrupting the entire system.

  • Higher ROI: More efficient processes lead to cost savings and increased revenue.

Which Strategy To Choose While You Migrate To Composable Commerce?

Transitioning from a monolithic commerce platform to a composable architecture requires strategic planning. Here, we'll explore the two primary migration strategies to help you choose the most suitable path for your business.

1. Phased Migration: A Gradual Transformation

This approach focuses on a step-by-step transition, allowing you to minimize disruption and maintain some level of business continuity throughout the process. 

Here's what a phased migration typically involves:

  • Decoupling the Frontend: Begin by gradually decoupling your front-end user experience (UX) from the backend. This allows you to explore the possibilities of a composable front-end solution and gain familiarity with headless commerce principles.

  • Systematic Replacement: Identify critical functionalities within your monolithic system. Prioritize the migration of these functionalities to composable alternatives, one by one. This allows you to test and validate new components before moving on to more complex areas.

  • Focus on User Experience: Prioritize the migration of front-end components that have the most significant impact on user experience (UX). This could involve migrating your product catalog, search functionality, or shopping cart for quicker wins and a faster return on investment (ROI).

  • Continuous Integration & Testing: As you migrate components, establish a clear integration and testing strategy. This ensures seamless communication between new and existing elements and identifies any potential issues before they impact your customers.

2. Replatforming: Building A New Stack

This approach involves creating a brand new composable commerce stack alongside your existing monolithic system. Once the new system is fully functional and thoroughly tested, you can migrate your data and switch over entirely. 

Here's a breakdown of the re-platforming strategy process:

  • Parallel Development: Develop your new composable architecture in parallel with your existing system. This allows for continuous operation while the new platform is being built.

  • Data Migration Planning: Carefully plan the migration of your essential data (e.g., product information, customer data, order history) from the old system to the new one. This often involves data cleansing and transformation to ensure compatibility with the new platform.

  • Cutover and Go-Live: Once the new system is ready and thoroughly tested, perform a cutover to migrate your data and switch all operations to the new composable architecture.

tl;dr Which One To Go With?

AspectPhased MigrationReplatforming
ApproachGradual, step-by-step transitionBuilding a new stack alongside existing system
DisruptionMinimized, and maintained business continuityPotential for significant disruption during cutover
TimelineLonger, incremental changesPotentially faster, but with a more abrupt transition
RiskDistributed across the migration processConcentrated around the cutover period
FlexibilityCan adjust your strategy as you progressLess flexible once development starts
Resource AllocationCan be spread out over timeMay require more intensive resource commitment

Learn more and get insights into headless commerce solutions with our comprehensive article.

Discover the advantages of going headless in online stores!

Migration To Composable Commerce Architecture - Step-By-Step Guide

Ready to transform your commerce experience with the power of composable commerce? Our comprehensive guide provides a strategic roadmap to navigate your transition smoothly and maximize the benefits for your business.

Part 1: Planning Your Course to Composable Commerce

The first step in your composable commerce journey is a thorough discovery and gap analysis. This analysis involves a comprehensive assessment of your current digital ecosystem.

Remember, a migration presents a golden opportunity to eliminate overhead and streamline your operations.  Use this chance to think outside the box and design a composable commerce architecture that perfectly aligns with your unique business needs.

Step 1. Defining Success - Goals & Gap Analysis

  • Identify Objectives: Increased sales, improved customer experience, or greater efficiency? Set clear goals for your composable commerce journey.

  • Uncover Weaknesses: Analyze your current system's limitations (scalability, inflexibility, personalization). Identify areas for improvement.

  • Audit Features: Eliminate unused features from your current platform for a cleaner solution.

  • Prioritize Needs: Decide what features are critical to migrate first and what can wait.

  • Gap Analysis: Identify functionalities missing in your current system.

  • Choose Solutions: See if current tools' features address your needs. Consider 3rd-party integrations or custom development for remaining gaps.

  • Plan Your Migration: Determine your transition's best approach and starting point.

Step 2. Building Your Dream Team - Selecting the Right Composable Solutions

Composable commerce thrives on best-of-breed solutions. Analyze your specific needs and research the optimal components for your stack, including:

  • Storefront UI: Craft a beautiful and engaging shopping experience.

  • API Orchestration Layer: Ensure seamless communication between all your systems.

  • E-commerce Platform: Manage products, orders, and customer data efficiently.

  • CMS (Content Management System): Maintain dynamic content and marketing initiatives.

  • Hosting: Find a reliable and scalable hosting solution to support your composable architecture.

  • Third-Party Tools: Integrate complementary tools to enhance specific functionalities (e.g., payment gateways, marketing automation).

Step 3. Weighing the Investment: Cost Analysis & Business Case Development

Transitioning to composable commerce requires careful consideration of both the financial investment and the potential return. Here's how to navigate this crucial step:

  • Beyond the Software:  While software licenses are a key cost, remember there are additional expenses to factor in.  API development, data migration services, and potential team training can add to the overall budget.

  • Building a Strong Business Case:  Focus on the long-term benefits.  Don't just see the migration as a cost but as an investment in future growth.  Develop a business case that quantifies the potential return on investment (ROI) by considering factors like:

    • Increased sales potential through a more engaging and personalized shopping experience.

    • Improved operational efficiency from a more flexible and scalable architecture.

    • Enhanced customer lifetime value through improved loyalty and repeat purchases.

By taking a holistic view of the investment and strategically outlining the growth potential, you can make a well-informed decision about moving to a composable commerce architecture.

Part 2:  Executing Your Composable Commerce Migration

Following a thorough discovery phase, it's time to translate your vision into a concrete plan. 

Embrace an iterative approach that prioritizes gradual improvements and enhancements. Focus on addressing the most critical gaps between your current state and your desired future.

Step 4. Prioritizing Your Migration Roadmap - Key Areas To Focus On

Your roadmap should address three key areas (not necessarily in this order):

  1. Data Migration & Modeling: Reassess and streamline your data architecture. Eliminate unnecessary data and design a flexible environment that supports your current and future goals. Plan the migration of critical data from existing systems to your chosen platform, considering your specific business needs.

  2. Best-of-Breed Ecosystem: Identify any custom extensions needed and explore third-party services that complement your composable architecture. Remember, composable commerce allows you to choose best-of-breed solutions for each component.

  3. User Experience (UX) First: Prioritize the migration of your front-end components. Because you're adopting a headless backend solution, you can leverage the platform's flexibility to connect the frontends of your choice and create customized visual layers, or customer experiences.

Data Migration & Modeling

This is typically the first step, regardless of your chosen migration path. Here's a breakdown of the process:

  • Identify Data: Prioritize essential data for migration, including product information, orders, customer data, and potentially category structures, multimedia content, and marketing materials.

  • Data Cleanup & Reshaping: Clean up your data before migration, removing any unnecessary or outdated information. Sometimes you’ll need to modify the way data is structured. It’s required especially when you change the content management system (CMS) or other tools run by datasets and APIs.

  • Export & Import: Export data from your current platform and import it into your new platform using available tools or develop a custom migration process if needed. 

Customize Your Platform Behavior

Your chosen platform likely offers an API-based solution that allows for customization through two main approaches:

  • API Extensions: Extend API functionalities to meet your specific needs. For example, use extensions to validate purchase quantities or integrate with your order management system.

  • Microservices: Develop microservices that act as wrappers around your APIs. These microservices can format API responses, combine data from multiple sources, or expose new functionalities altogether.

Completing Your Best-of-Breed Composable Ecosystem

With core functionalities migrated, focus on completing your composable commerce ecosystem by integrating best-of-breed solutions. Since you're no longer locked into a single vendor, you can choose the most suitable services for each component, such as:

  • ERP System

  • Order Management

  • Sales Tax

  • Payments

  • Checkout Personalization

  • Headless CMS (Content Management System)

  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)

  • Special Offers & Merchandising

  • Onsite Search Engines

Step 5. Integrate the User Experience Layer & Phased Approach Solution

Integrating your front-end (user experience layer) is often the most time-consuming step.  Given the move to a microservices-based architecture, a decoupled front-end solution is recommended. This allows for greater flexibility and customization.

By adopting a phased approach, you can:

  • Minimize Downtime: Carefully planned migration phases ensure a smooth customer transition and avoid website disruptions.

  • Reduced Risk: Tackling migrations in stages allows for adjustments and course corrections as needed, minimizing potential risks.

  • Faster Time to Value: Prioritizing key functionalities ensures you can start reaping the benefits of composable commerce sooner.

By following these steps and embracing a phased approach, you can build a robust and successful composable commerce architecture that delivers significant value for your business.

Step 6. Integration & Testing - Building a Cohesive System

With core functionalities migrated, it's time to connect the dots of your composable architecture. Seamless communication between all components is critical for a successful launch. 

Integrate your new front-end with the back-end systems using APIs. This establishes a bridge for data exchange and ensures smooth operation across your entire commerce infrastructure.

Testing is not an afterthought. It's a crucial step that helps you identify and address potential issues before they impact your customers. Here's how to implement a robust testing strategy:

  • Develop a Testing Plan: This plan should outline the components you'll test, the testing methods you'll use, and the success metrics you'll track. Consider factors like page load time, server response time, and transaction processing speed.

  • Utilize Testing Tools: Leverage tools like load testing software and performance monitoring solutions to simulate real-world user traffic and identify potential bottlenecks.

  • Continuous Testing: Make testing an ongoing process. This allows you to proactively discover and fix issues before they become major problems.

  • Analyze & Improve: Thoroughly analyze test results to identify areas for improvement. This continuous feedback loop ensures your composable commerce system is optimized for performance and reliability.

Step 7. Ready, Set, Launch! Go-Live Checklist & Deployment

Once testing is complete and all identified issues are resolved, you can proceed with launching your composable commerce platform. Here's a final checklist to ensure a smooth go-live:

  • Content Review: Double-check all product information, marketing content, and website copy for accuracy and completeness.

  • Payment Gateway Integration: Verify successful integration with your chosen payment gateway(s) to ensure smooth transaction processing.

  • URL Redirects: Implement proper URL redirects to maintain SEO rankings and avoid confusing users with broken links.

  • Communication & Training: Inform your customers about the upcoming launch and provide any necessary training or support materials.

By following these steps and adopting a phased testing approach, you can ensure a successful launch of your composable commerce platform and deliver a positive user experience from day one.

Once you've completed the go-live checklist and addressed all potential issues, it's time to deploy your composable commerce platform to the public. This critical stage requires meticulous planning and execution to ensure a smooth transition. Here's a breakdown of the deployment process:

Pre-Deployment Checks

  • Final Testing in Staging Environment: Perform a final deployment to a staging environment that mirrors your production environment as closely as possible. This allows you to conduct rigorous testing of all functionalities, user experience (UX), and integrations under realistic conditions.

  • Security Review: Conduct a final security audit to identify and address any vulnerabilities before exposing your platform to the public. This includes penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and code reviews.

Deployment Process

  • Phased Rollout (Optional): Consider a phased rollout strategy, particularly for high-traffic businesses. This allows you to gradually migrate users to the new composable platform, minimizing potential disruptions and allowing for course correction if needed.

  • Traffic Management: Implement traffic management strategies to control the flow of users to your new platform during launch. This could involve techniques like load balancing, blue-green deployments, or canary deployments to ensure your platform scales effectively and avoids overloading.

  • Monitoring & Alerting: Set up comprehensive monitoring and alerting systems to track key performance indicators (KPIs) like page load times, server response times, transaction processing speeds, and error rates. Configure real-time alerts to notify your team of any potential issues requiring immediate attention.

Rollback Plan

  • Develop a Rollback Plan: Having a well-defined rollback plan is crucial. This plan outlines the steps you'll take to revert to your previous system if unforeseen issues arise during deployment that significantly impact user experience or system stability.

By following these steps and prioritizing a secure and well-tested deployment, you can significantly increase the chances of a successful launch for your composable commerce platform.

Step 8. Continuous Monitoring & Optimization

Once deployed, continuous monitoring and optimization become essential. Here's what you need to focus on:

  • Performance Monitoring: Track key performance metrics like page load time, server response time, and transaction processing time. Identify areas for optimization to ensure a smooth user experience.

  • Real-Time Monitoring: Implement real-time monitoring tools to detect and address any issues that arise, such as system crashes or slow page load times.

  • Data Analytics: Analyze data like customer behavior, product performance, and sales data to identify trends and patterns that can inform future optimizations.

advantages of composable commerce

Discover more about the advantages of composable commerce solutions in modern online stores and how they can help to grow your e-commerce business!

Conclusion - Why You Should Take A Look At The Modularity In E-commerce?

Composable commerce offers a compelling path for businesses seeking agility, scalability, and a future-proofed digital commerce strategy. By transitioning from a monolithic system to a composable architecture, you can unlock a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Enhanced Customer Experiences: Deliver personalized and engaging shopping experiences that cater to your customer's unique needs and preferences.

  • Unmatched Flexibility: Adapt and evolve your commerce platform seamlessly to meet changing market demands and integrate best-of-breed solutions for each component.

  • Faster Time to Market: Deploy new features and functionalities quickly, allowing you to capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities.

  • Reduced Total Cost of Ownership: Eliminate vendor lock-in and optimize your technology stack for long-term efficiency.

  • Scalability for Growth: Easily scale your commerce platform to accommodate increasing traffic and business demands.

Now you have the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate your composable commerce migration journey. Remember, the key to success lies in careful planning, a phased approach, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

While the potential benefits of composable commerce are clear, the migration process itself may seem complex.  Understanding the intricacies of headless architecture, identifying the right composable components, and orchestrating a smooth transition can feel daunting.

But don't worry – you don't have to go it alone!

We are a team with extensive experience in web development and e-commerce migrations, especially those involving headless and composable architectures.  We understand the nuances of this approach and can help you navigate every stage of your journey, from the initial stages to ongoing optimization.

We offer comprehensive support throughout your composable commerce journey:

  • Expert Guidance: We'll analyze your current platform and recommend the best composable approach for your business.

  • Seamless Data Migration: Our team ensures your data is clean, transformed, and migrated smoothly.

  • Captivating Storefront: Our developers build beautiful and user-friendly experiences for your composable platform.

  • Rigorous Testing & Maintenance: We launch a flawless platform and keep it secure with ongoing maintenance.

Partner with us for a smooth transition and unlock the full potential of composable commerce. Contact us to discuss your project!

Let's talk about Jamstack and headless e-commerce!

Contact us and we'll warmly introduce you to the vast world of Jamstack & headless development!