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Partner Spotlight: commercetools Global Director, ISV Partnerships Christopher C. Holley on Composable Commerce and More

Recently, as we were writing this year’s State of Visual Media report, I sat down with commercetools’ Christopher C. Holley to learn more about the organization, how they define composable and why fast and flawless visuals are so important to the online shopping experience. He also weighed in on where he thinks the world of commerce is headed next, in 2024 and beyond. 

Who is commercetools? Can you tell us a little bit more about your company, its mission, and products/services?

commercetools is the leading provider of composable commerce, equipping enterprises and growing brands with the essential components needed to build agile, customizable commerce infrastructures. This empowers our customers to embrace incremental innovation, continually deliver outstanding and scalable shopping experiences, and capture an even greater share of the multi-trillion-dollar digital commerce opportunity.

As the pioneer of headless commerce, the $1.9B company powers some of the world’s most iconic commerce infrastructures across the globe, including Sephora, Volkswagen Group, Eurorail, NBCUniversal, Danone, and Audi.

How do you define composable commerce and why is it so important for brands today?

Composable commerce is the next evolution in digital commerce technology. It moves away from slow-to-update, inflexible monolithic systems, embracing a modular, component-based design. This approach empowers businesses to “compose” tailor-made shopping experiences by selecting and integrating the best components for their unique needs.

Companies like Sephora, Ulta Beauty, and BMW choose commercetools because they require more flexibility and scalability from their digital business, but with higher efficiency and lower costs.

Can you speak to the importance of visual media in the shopping experience, and what forms of visual content in your mind are must-haves in today’s commerce touchpoints?

It’s all about unique customer experiences. Key to that is the highest-quality visual experience — design, text, images, and video. Ignoring any of these results in a substandard client experience.

Content variety, performance (load times), and image quality are all equally important to the client experience.

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, what commerce trends excite you most and what should brands be focused on prioritizing next year?

The continued movement towards composable commerce offers the most value for brands. ‘Unique customer experiences’ means more visual content, more tie-ins with social media platforms like TikTok, and more ‘pushing the envelope’ to gain competitive advantages.

Christopher C. Holley, commercetools Global Director, ISV Partnerships

The other huge trend is the continued evolution of B2B experiences to mimic B2C.  There are huge cost savings, customer satisfaction improvement, and buyer efficiencies to be had in this space.

These last few years have seen an acceleration in how companies think about digital transformation. In your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges commerce brands face in today’s digital-first world, and what should brands be thinking about when considering the move to composable?

The biggest challenge is when and where to begin. A digital transformation can be thoroughly intimidating. The key is to start small — a brand, a country, replacing a specific function — and move aggressively. Success breeds success.

We’re both in the business of helping our customers deliver optimal customer experiences, to improve connections and boost engagement. What brands come to mind when you think of those getting it right?

Cloudinary and commercetools have over 30 common customers. Clients like Minted, Smiledirectclub, Woolworth’s, and Five Below are making the most of composable commerce and visual media by implementing Cloudinary on their commercetools composable commerce environment.

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