Multi-branding delivers big benefits for organizations looking to grow their business. Well-known names including Coca-Cola, TJX Companies, L’Oreal and Unilever are all multi-brands along with luxury brands such as LVMH and Kering. Even Meta jumped on the multi-brand strategy when it purchased Instagram in 2012, with its first acquisition in a portfolio that now includes Threads, WhatsApp and Oculus among others.
While the multi-brand strategy has many distinct advantages, managing many major companies under one roof while ensuring consumers see each one as a unique, individual entity can be difficult. As multi-brands are often a result of mergers and acquisitions, business leaders typically have to grapple with disparate commerce systems, which translates into more work and more resources with less control over the big picture. The more brands you own, the more complicated it gets — eventually, it seems almost impossible to consolidate operations and streamline processes. But it’s not. Composable commerce, with its flexibility, scalability and tech-agnostic approach, has emerged as the perfect solution.
According to Ashley von Kluck, Solutions Engineer at commercetools, running multiple individual brands on multiple platforms simply isn’t sustainable in the long term for an organization. It’s neither cost-effective nor efficient. In addition, if each brand is running on a legacy platform (which most still are), it hinders your ability to deliver to customer expectations across the board. “We’ve found that even if the brands are running on the same platform, there are so many different instances that each one has to be worked on individually. You end up having multiple teams working on the same project, such as adding a new sales channel, but the disparate platforms make it impossible for their tech teams to collaborate to streamline the work.”
commercetools Composable Commerce delivers a very different experience — one in which you can implement changes on one site or all your sites, without a hitch. “Our system is based on a concept of stores and channels, which allows you to differentiate on the frontend while still running on a single system on the backend,” explained Ashley. “Its capabilities allow organizations to define what a "store" is — it could be a collection of physical stores, a website store or different lines of business.”
A single commercetools project can be set up to be presented in multiple languages as well as configured to offer multiple currencies. “The platform doesn’t dictate what you can and can’t do — you get to decide. So, essentially you can have one master catalog and then each store can be set up to showcase only the products that pertain to them and can have its own objects (products, inventory, pricing customers, etc.) in the system. You can set up additional segmentation, model it once and then choose what brands to apply it to based on your needs.”
To accomplish this on a legacy platform would require extensive customization because they were not originally designed with multi-store/multi-site/multi-channel in mind. On the other hand, the whole philosophy behind composable commerce is to establish an environment that gives you the freedom to build or buy the features you want or need as well as implement projects to your exact specification. “With commercetools, during the implementation process have complete control and get to make business decisions on how you differentiate your brand experience We would never dictate or tell you how you have to do that, but what we can do is give you the tools you need and the confidence that it will work.”
Composable commerce and MACH® architecture really allows us to be flexible and enables speed to implement where needed and where required [in accordance with] any local regulations or legal requirements.
Head of Engineering, International, Alcon
Ashley pointed out that the level of extensibility commercetools offers can be a game-changer for organizations that have different needs in different markets. “Even if they don’t have multiple brands, many of our customers have different inventory, fulfillment, logistics and more based on location. This is where having extensibility can be critical.”
Since every object in the commercetools system is extensible, organizations can easily set up discounts and promotions across multiple brands, and then create exclusions. “You can say, include all brands except…or spend this much in your cart at only this store to receive…”
As an example, she called a new customer who shared that every time they wanted to add a new payment provider, they had to implement it individually on each of their websites. “Now that they’ve consolidated their backend system onto commercetools, this is something that lives in their master code, so they know they can integrate requests like this quickly and easily.”
Being able to create repeatable processes that can be used across the organization rather than struggling with systems that are unable to talk to each other eliminates a huge pain point for our customers.
Solutions Engineer, commercetools
Ashley acknowledged that explaining how stores, channels, objects and extensibility work together to allow you to differentiate your brands while consolidating your business is a very technical discussion. However, she offered up an analogy shared by Michael Scholtz, commercetools’ Vice President of Product and Customer Marketing that simplifies the concept.
An apartment building is designed with multiple individual spaces, and each one has its unique look and feel. However, they are all under one roof. Everyone shares the capabilities that make the building livable. The pipes the water runs through, the wires that connect the electricity and the vents that carry heat through the building. As a result, the building runs more efficiently and costs are lower. This is exactly how composable commerce works. It lets you present each brand individually on the frontend, while consolidating all your commerce operations on the backend. Ultimately, you get a holistic view of your organization which enables you to make better business decisions.
Vice President of Product & Customer Marketing, commercetools
Today, the flexibility and scalability commercetools Composable Commerce provides is delivering results for multi-brand companies including the Berlin Brands Group, Danone, Mars, The Salling Group and Boohoo.com. In a 2021 presentation, Mark Elliott, Chief Architect of the UK-based fashion fashion retailer shared that the turning point for Boohoo was when the company announced it was buying Debenhams, a UK-based brick-and-mortar retailer. With 13 brands already under its umbrella and ambitions to acquire more, Mark said it was time to make sure its platforms were fit for future growth. “We didn't want scalability to be an issue. Flexibility and being able to take ownership of our customer experience was something that we needed — and didn't necessarily have. With commercetools and its platform, the way they work and the conversation we had with them, it was a good fit for our culture and the way we work.”
To learn more about the benefits composable commerce can deliver to your business, download our white paper, Leading with flexibility and agility: Why composable commerce will change the way you run your business.