Embracing the language that's driving modern commerce today: A glossary of terms

The Language of Modern Commerce, Part 2: 3 must-know tech terms to master today

Anita Temple headshot
Anita Temple
Corporate Journalist, commercetools
Published 19 April 2023

Last month, we kicked off a glossary series to offer up definitions and explanations of the most relevant words and terms being used to describe the innovations and experiences driving digital commerce right now. Our first blog spotlighted APIs, the cloud and composable commerce

Embracing the language that's driving modern commerce today: A glossary of terms

The series will continue in the upcoming months with three definitions per installment. While we’re certain many of these terms are familiar to you, we’re also aware that keeping up with the ever-evolving language of modern commerce is difficult — even for those of us who are immersed in the technology and the industry speak every day.

So, if you’re wondering what DXC is or how it’s different from DXP, why everyone is talking about extensibility or if the words frictionless and seamless are interchangeable, read on and we’ll provide you with answers in plain English. 

Digital Experience Composition (DXC)

A term coined by Gartner® in 2022, DXC refers to the tools and the processes used to provide API connectivity to headless services like CMS, search or commerce. By embracing DXC, developers can build no-code digital experiences that give non-technical teams the ability to create and launch campaigns as well as make updates at any time without involving IT. 

DXC encompasses multiple elements such as UI design, content creation, personalization, data analytics and marketing automation, ensuring these can work together to deliver the immersive experiences consumers expect today across all channels. Kelly Goetsch, Chief Strategy Officer at commercetools believes it was important for a term to be established in the industry for DXC because it gave a name to a category of software that has been rapidly emerging but has lacked a name. By creating DXC products, vendors like Occtoo, Uniform and builder.io are making composable commerce much easier for business users to consume.

Example Usage

By focusing on Digital Experience Composition (DXC), brands can integrate their website, mobile app and social media channels, and use data analytics to create seamless, personalized shopping experiences and optimize the customer journey.

Adaptive Usage

Digital Experience Platform (DXP) 

While DXC refers to the tools and processes, according to Gartner, DXP refers to the actual integrated technology solution that vendors deliver (or brands build) that support the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences.


Let’s say you’re a chef who wants to create an unforgettable dining experience for your guests. To do so, you carefully select the right ingredients, prepare them in a way that highlights their unique flavors and textures, and present them in an appealing and attractive manner. 

Similarly, in eCommerce, a business must carefully select and combine various digital tools and channels, such as a website, mobile app, social media and messaging platforms, to create a cohesive, omnichannel experience. This involves designing the user interface, curating the content, personalizing the experience and leveraging data analytics to optimize the experience. Just as a chef's composition of ingredients comes together to provide a memorable meal, a business uses DXC to make digital shopping more delightful for its customers.


According to PeerSpot, extensibility is, “The ability of the software system to allow and accept the significant extension of its capabilities without major rewriting of code or changes in its basic architecture.” Extensible technology solutions, such as those offered by commercetools, are designed with agnostic tools and languages to make it easy and risk-free for developers to customize features, add new functionality and innovate based on their unique business needs.

Legacy commerce solutions, with their rigid structure, are not built to be extensible. For example, the product description functionality requires products to fit into defined parameters. For some brands, this isn’t a problem. However, if you sell products with multiple variables (size, color, pattern, etc.) or can be customized by your customers, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to add that kind of functionality.

Example Usage

Instead of opting for yet another all-in-one solution with features they don’t need, [Promod] chose the flexible, à la carte portfolio of customizable and extensible APIs that perfectly matched their needs.

Analogous usage


Contrary to popular belief, extensible and scalable are not synonyms. In technology, a scalable solution is one that can accommodate growth. One of the biggest benefits of commercetools Composable Commerce solutions is that their headless, cloud-native design delivers scalability. This means you can easily expand into different markets and new product categories — adding as many products as you want and connecting as many frontends as you want — to support business growth. In addition, its auto-scaling capabilities ensure you can handle spikes in web traffic whenever they occur without impacting site performance. 


So, everyone knows friction is any resistance that puts a barrier between two items or steps in a process. When online commerce was first introduced, there were multiple points throughout the shopping experience — from connecting to the internet and waiting for product pages to load to checking out and final purchase —  that created friction. This made many brands question whether eCommerce would ever be embraced by the masses.

Frictionless is the opposite of friction. It refers to the ease with which things or steps can connect when there are no barriers hindering the process. In terms of eCommerce, it describes a smooth experience in which a consumer can easily move through a shopping experience and complete a purchase effortlessly. And, despite ever-advancing technology along with the continually growing number of commerce channels, personalization features, shipping and delivery options and payment methods, this is exactly what consumers expect today and brands strive to deliver.

Example Usage
What retailers need to be thinking about now is commerce without boundaries. It’s frictionless. It’s not necessarily exclusively on your site. It’s meeting your customers where they are and using the best capabilities to make the experience seamless and really delight your customers.
Carrie Tharp

VP of Retail & Consumer, Google Cloud

Adaptive Usage

Frictionless technology 

This refers to any form of technology that helps to make the shopping experience smooth, quick and easy for the customer. Buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), one-click checkout, contactless payments, payment kiosks and subscription services are all examples of technology designed to remove the barriers from the shopping experience.

Analogous Usage


Both seamless and frictionless are used extensively to describe ideal commerce experiences and, for the most part, the words are used in tandem and interchangeably. As stated above, when technology is referred to as frictionless it means any barriers slowing it down have been removed. When technology is seamless, it means it is so well connected that it remains in motion without any effort. So, basically by creating frictionless commerce, you enable seamless shopping experiences.

To learn more about the new technological innovations and trends driving commerce today, download our white paper, Reimagining Retail Commerce in 2023.

Anita Temple headshot
Anita Temple
Corporate Journalist, commercetools

Anita J. Temple is the Corporate Journalist at commercetools. She was a fashion editor at Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) and W Magazine before launching a career as a freelance writer and creative producer. She has written content and worked on a wide range of marketing projects for companies including Dreamworks, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Verizon, and Adidas.

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