The evolution of checkout with composable commerce

The next step in the evolution of checkout: Composable commerce

Manuela Tchoe
Manuela Tchoe
Senior Content Writer, commercetools
Published 25 April 2023

With the proliferation of channels and more complex customer journeys, brands and retailers are struggling to evolve checkout in line with omnichannel expectations. How can composable commerce enable merchants to turn checkout into a conversion machine? 

The evolution of checkout with composable commerce

Commerce in modern times has become increasingly complex: Consumers want to shop from anywhere seamlessly. Payment needs to be secure and convenient. Physical and digital shopping experiences should become one cohesive flow. Cross-border eCommerce requires a robust localization effort to convert sales. All these processes lead to checkout, the apex of a shopping experience — and the most challenging phase of the customer journey to get right. 

Checkout has been at the forefront of retail innovation in the last few years, including self-checkout to reduce waiting lines and ultra-fast payment options like mobile pay. These developments show that checkout remains a top-of-mind theme for most merchants, and that’s not really surprising. According to the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate for eCommerce is 69.99% and 17% of US consumers say that they abandoned a shopping cart because the checkout process was too long or complicated. 

Merchants still struggle to achieve fluid checkout processes, even more so in an increasingly omnichannel world. Tapping into every customer interaction to convert a sale becomes crucial to thriving in a competitive landscape — and that’s where the evolution of checkout lies. 

Turning any customer interaction into shoppable moments

eCommerce has been around for decades, but most companies still use the same formula to convert a sale: By leading consumers to their webshop checkout. While it may seem the easiest way for conversion, consumers generally aren’t keen to hop from one channel to another to seal the deal. Instead, consumers expect to instantly buy on the spot, whether in-store, on social media or mobile apps. When this is not possible, brands lose immediacy. No wonder abandonment rates are so high!

Brands face the challenge of tapping into new conversion opportunities in their checkout flow. For example, brands feeling the pinch of supply chain disruptions deal with constant consumer disappointment over empty shelves in brick-and-mortar stores. Unlucky consumers who can't find their desired products may check whether the item is available online, but many might go to a competitor instead. To turn disappointment into excitement, brands could install a QR code on the empty shelf that leads to a one-click checkout — and even get the product delivered to the customer’s home the next day. 

Making every channel shoppable with checkout

Following a similar mechanism, brands could provide a Pay by Link functionality, add quick orders with out-of-stock items in-store, add QR codes to reorder items like contact lenses and make apps shoppable

The options are limitless, but the fact is that most merchants still can’t turn this dream into reality easily due to their outdated commerce infrastructures.

What’s preventing brands from boosting checkout? Legacy commerce platforms

Maximizing conversions across multiple touchpoints is not easy with legacy platforms. Also known as monoliths due to their inflexible setup, legacy solutions prevent brands from adding new channels or adapting them hassle-free and cost-effectively. When teams bring up the idea of capitalizing on crucial customer interactions, it’s common that projects get deprioritized due to the complexity and cost associated with workarounds, patches and hacks to make it happen. 

This lack of flexibility and agility also hinders brands from experimenting with new ideas to make customer journeys more seamless and create additional revenue streams. Many brands usually plan to integrate checkout capabilities across multiple channels on their roadmaps, but these ideas usually get deprioritized as the ROI on these projects is unclear. With a legacy platform, the effort for experimenting, implementing and maintaining multiple checkouts is high, so it comes as no surprise when executives drop initiatives like these. In addition, legacy platforms usually own the checkout process and the associated user data, so brands have minimal leeway to customize functions and personalize shopping experiences. 

Fortunately, merchants have more flexible systems at their disposal today with the ability to customize checkout and shopping cart processes: Composable commerce

Why composable commerce is the best fit to future-proof checkout

There’s no doubt that the future of checkout is intertwined with composable commerce. In short, a composable approach enables brands to swap components like search, payments or order management in and out without the friction associated with legacy platforms. 

When it comes to checkout, brands with a composable stack can add and even replace new checkout options with ready-made components, accelerating time-to-market. On top of that, composable commerce also enables custom code, so it’s possible to customize features right off the bat. This gives brands the perfect balance of build and buy: They don’t have to build a standard capability like checkout from scratch but can leverage a ready-made component and take it to the next level (and make the customer experience unique at the same time). 

The beauty retailer Trinny London has leveraged this approach with composable commerce. The company integrated a checkout functionality and then customized the experience by enabling customers to pick samples to match what they had bought during the checkout process, like an eyeshadow shade that matches a lipstick color. 

Starting a composable journey with checkout is a great option for most brands as a way to secure the most critical part of the customer journey. By building differentiation across relevant customer touchpoints — instead of figuring out how to bend a legacy platform to add new functions — brands get a faster time-to-value and increased ROI

The future of composable checkout: Lowering the barrier to adoption

It’s clear that investing in composable commerce is the way to go, but many brands still struggle to transition to this new paradigm. That’s why the future of eCommerce checkout and shopping cart processes will be an out-of-the-box checkout plugged in without hassle. 

Low-code solutions will play a prominent role in speeding up the adoption of composable checkout, especially for companies that don’t have much time to spend on replatforming projects or need a fast time-to-value solution. By gradually adopting composable commerce with the beating heart of commerce, you don’t have to spend time implementing a checkout flow. Instead, you can focus on what your business does best — and how to differentiate in a crowded marketplace. 

With composable commerce, it’s possible to mix and match components. For example, imagine how easy it could be if switching to a different PSP is a matter of configuration or making localization dynamic. Adding checkout options across customer interactions and experimenting with new forms to engage customers in an easy, accessible way is how brands can unlock the value of checkout and accelerate ROI. 

Interested to discover how to leverage checkout with composable commerce? Get in touch with 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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