Blog post Beyond build vs. buy: How commercetools and AWS enable retailers to customise eCommerce shops without limits

Beyond Build vs. Buy: How commercetools and AWS enable retailers to customize eCommerce shops without limits

Manuela Tchoe
Manuela Tchoe
Senior Content Writer, commercetools
Published 20 October 2022
Estimated reading time minutes

Fast-growing brands that need to innovate and differentiate rapidly can now explore composable commerce, pioneered by commercetools and supported by AWS, to provide the perfect mix of build, buy and customize.

Blog post Beyond build vs. buy: How commercetools and AWS enable retailers to customise eCommerce shops without limits

It’s no secret that brands and retailers are facing their biggest challenge yet: Meeting shoppers’ demands that keep ballooning, with no end in sight. With new channels and tons of ways to sell digitally arising every day, how can retail brands like yours keep pace with digital commerce? And how can you choose a retail commerce solution to try new things out, ship features faster, and scale on-demand?  

Still today, retailers are presented with two options when shopping for digital commerce solutions: Build or buy. However, this binary choice no longer meets the needs of modern commerce. 

  • Building a proprietary commerce stack from scratch is impractical, translating into high total costs of ownership (TCO) and internal maintenance that cannot keep up with fast-moving commerce innovations. 

  • Buying a commerce system usually means a one-size-fits-all and templated approach that creates standardized customer experiences. With unwieldy and outdated infrastructures, brands find it difficult to experiment and innovate with new touchpoints and features, and any attempt at differentiating the brand falls flat. 

What if retailers could have the best of both worlds? With composable commerce pioneered by commercetools and supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS), it’s possible!

Build vs. Buy is now compose and customize

As the name suggests, composable commerce is a modular approach that enables brands to choose the components that best suit their customer experiences. In this model, brands can expand, contract, and even swap those components at any time based on their exact business needs by using a pay-as-you-go model. Because of this modular approach, brands can: 

  • Build components that are unique to their business.

  • Buy commoditized components such as catalogs or shopping carts.

  • Extend and customize those commodity features, injecting bespoke parameters to tailor customer experiences.

  • Customize the tech stack with best-of-breed elements instead of being locked in with a specific vendor. 

In short, “Using the composable application approach, digital experiences are assembled as required, depending on the customer and touchpoint requirements, and delivery of an 'e-commerce site' may be just one of these experience types,” Gartner states. “The focus shifts to a truly customer-centric view,” the analyst concludes.  

At commercetools, we believe that “build vs. buy” is a false dichotomy — you should do both. We work with retailers to BUILD what’s unique to their business and BUY the commoditized pieces that don’t make sense to build from scratch.

How commercetools and AWS enable composable commerce

As a pioneer in composable commerce, commercetools advocates for a modular and flexible environment whereby brands can choose the commerce components that best suit their strategy. Brands can implement more than 300 commerce APIs (or just one!) ranging from Product Information Management (PIM), Checkout, and Carts, as well as frontend-specific tools, all with commercetools Composable Commerce and Frontend. At the same time, brands can integrate top-notch components from leading third parties via the commercetools Integration Marketplace, like search by Algolia, payments by Adyen, or CMS by ContentStack

Behind the scenes, this commerce APIs library runs on the AWSs cloud-native architecture. Being “in the cloud” is a perfect match for composable commerce; together, brands access an agile environment to customize features, scale online capacity, and perform changes anytime without provisioning or managing servers. With cloud-native APIs powered by AWS, retailers can take advantage of an infrastructure that is always up-to-date, serverless, and versionless to customize, compose and scale. 

Similarly to commercetools, brands can leverage modular AWS services according to their needs. For example, AWS Lambda enables brands to run code without provisioning or managing infrastructure. Amazon EventBridge builds event-driven applications at scale with a serverless event bus, and Amazon DynamoDB provides a fast and flexible NoSQL database service. With dozens of modular services solving specific needs, brands can plug and play the AWS service of their choice anytime and “compose” their ideal cloud environment.   

Gartner predicts that “Digital commerce platforms are experiencing ongoing modularization in a cloud-native, multi-experience world. Application leaders responsible for digital commerce should prepare for a ‘composable’ approach to move toward future-proof digital experiences.” In essence, for commerce to be composable, it also needs to be cloud-native, and this is precisely what commercetools and AWS offer to fast-growing retailers.

Compose your cloud-native commerce with a 60-day free trial

The commercetools trial provides risk-free evaluation with fully functional access to our solution for 60 days at no cost. The trial includes access to all APIs, the Merchant Center administration interface, and tools/connectors for integrations. Along with access to the solution, you can access our documentation, tutorials, release notes, and status without creating an account.

Leverage AWS with commercetools during the free trial by signing up here.

Grow your business with commercetools and start your free trial today.

For more information about starting with commercetools and AWS, contact us

Manuela Tchoe
Manuela Tchoe
Senior Content Writer, commercetools

Manuela Marques Tchoe is a Content Writer at commercetools. She was a Content and Product Marketing Director at conversational commerce provider tyntec. She has written content in partnership with Facebook, Rakuten Viber and other social media platforms.

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