Headless and composable commerce as envisioned by Znode

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Clearing up the jargon to understand composable B2B business

As with any new technology, a trend is frequently started by new phrases that analysts and consultants have coined. A few years ago, personalisation and artificial intelligence were popular trends (AI). Currently, customers of ecommerce software, particularly B2B ecommerce software, are being trended (or confused) by phrases like headless and composable.

The phrase “headless” is fluid. It was first described as an API-first architecture with few features, no included presentation layer, and the promise of flexibility. The opposite of this was monolithic platforms, which Forrester Research also described as “inclusive” platforms with lots of built-in functionality but constrained flexibility, particularly in the presentation layer. Composable commerce swiftly became a buzzword when talking about an API-first platform approach as monolithic ecommerce software companies immediately published APIs for adaptable front-end experiences and asserted to be headless. Only two ecommerce technology stack approaches

according to Forrester Research and the Mach Alliance, are now available. either a monolithic strategy employing rigid but feature-rich legacy technology or a composable approach leveraging microservices from best-of-breed vendors. One offers the freedom to combine a variety of best-in-class cloud technologies with commerce, as well as a committed team of developers to constantly manage API microservices. The other delivers speed with little flexibility and pricey upgrades, but with feature-rich but antiquated technology. Saying that there are only two varieties of bananas—green and brown—is analogous to this.

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*Gartner, “Quick Answer: How Should Product Leaders Think About Composability in Their Portfolios?”, Dennis Gaughan, April 5, 2022.
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

B2B Adds More Complexities
In addition to the flexibility vs. feature trade-off already present, B2B ecommerce introduces a whole new set of challenges. Among the needs for B2B e-commerce are inventories spread across several warehouses, complicated and configured products, and protocols for purchasing approval.
A data structure based on accounts that groups users into accounts that represent businesses rather than individuals is also necessary for B2B. Account-based pricing, product catalogues, inventory, and any other conventional contract terms become necessary as a result of this.

Many monolithic platforms, as well as well-known cloud-based composable alternatives, do not inherently meet these requirements. Customization, which entails continuing upkeep and protracted development cycles, is the only choice left.
Flexibility and speed had now abruptly stopped.
Understanding Znode’s Approach: The Best of Both Options
Znode offers both methods. Core functionality and an architecture that prioritises APIs, including native B2B functionalities that may be expanded via API. Yes, APIs can be used to extend native B2B functionalities. When compared to other platforms, this platform is designed for configuration.
• If the information technology department of a brand manufacturer needs to set up a micro-storefront for the launch of a new product in a few days. Done.
• If a distributor buys out a local rival and needs to import the purchased product catalogue and open a new storefront right away. Done.
• If a distributor of promotional products needs to make API requests to enable product customization software for retail shoppers. Done.
• Creating distinct storefronts per worldwide location and pushing order capture data into dealers' inventory management systems may be required by an enterprise OEM. Done.
Every barrier that monolithic ecommerce platforms and microservice frameworks encounter should be eliminated by a merchant's composable commerce design.
Reviewing the 5 Levels of Composability from Gartner
“Level 2 – Within our offering, we support composition, but the solution is purchased as a single SKU.”
“Level 4 – Our offering’s components may be combined with those from other vendors.”

*Gartner, “Quick Answer: How Should Product Leaders Think About Composability in Their Portfolios?”, Dennis Gaughan, April 5, 2022.
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

node offers the whole range of the product under a single licence. Znode’s design enables merchants to interact with industry-leading content management systems (CMS), digital asset management (DAM) systems, and other best-of-breed applications.

The native B2B features of Znode accelerate market entry and lower costs. The API-first architecture enables composability to grow beyond customizable capabilities by utilising best-in-class componentry. Call it a banana in yellow.

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