Composable architecture vs. monolithic architecture: The right choice for your business

Composable commerce allows businesses to build flexible, modular e-commerce ecosystems by integrating individual components seamlessly, whereas monolithic systems are tight..

Composable architecture vs. monolithic architecture: The right choice for your business
Written by
Markus Lorenz
Published on
Apr 19, 2024

What is composable commerce?

Composable Commerce is an approach to ecommerce architecture that designs different online commerce functions and components as separate, stand-alone components. They can then be combined, or 'composed', to create a customised and flexible e-commerce platform to meet specific business needs.

In composable commerce, each component performs a specific function, such as managing:  

  • product catalogue,  
  • handling the checkout process,  
  • processing payments,  
  • managing inventory,  
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

These components, which are called Package Business Capabilities, are often built as micro-services so that they can be developed, deployed and maintained independently of each other.

What is monolithic architecture?

The term monolithic architecture is used to describe a traditional approach to the development of software in which all the elements of an application are combined into a single, unified system. This architecture tightly couples the entire application, including its user interface, business logic and data access layers, and deploys them as a single unit. Making changes or updates to one part of the application often requires rebuilding and redeploying the entire system.

When do you need monolithic?

Monolithic architecture is an ecommerce design method where all online commerce functions and components are integrated into a single, unified structure. Unlike Composable Commerce, where components are standalone and combinable, in monolithic architecture, they're tightly interconnected within the same system. This creates a unified, but less flexible, ecommerce platform where all functionalities are dependent on one another. We work with both composable and monolithic architectures, and we'll now provide an example of one of our clients who operates within a monolithic framework.

Ikarus is a store with a long tradition that focuses on design and quality. The company sells all types of home furnishings, from furniture to lighting and gardening equipment. From the beginning, it was a pioneer in selling its products through home shopping catalogues. With the development of technology, it was a natural step to move the catalogues to the Internet. To build its virtual shopping catalogue, the company decided to take a monolithic approach. In the end, Ikarus opted for the new Shopware 6 platform.  

It includes product and category management, which allows the entire product catalogue to be managed in one place. All pages visible to the customer can be created using Shopping Experiences, a comprehensive CMS (Content Management System). Ikarus also used the powerful Rule Builder in some areas of the shop. It allows the creation of promotions, restrictions in various areas such as shipping or payment methods and automates the assignment of products to categories.

In Ikarus we wrote several custom extensions, e.g. a blog, a form to order a printed catalogue, product badges (new, sale, etc.), a product designer and of course the custom theme. In other words, we extended some of the basic Shopware functionalities and wrote some completely new ones. Shopware 6 also provides the official store with extensions to the basic functionality.  

Thanks to this, we can add our customers' favourite payment methods by simply installing a few extensions. The biggest advantage of a monolith system, like Shopware 6, is the price. It allows to start the business right away with most of the needed functionalities (along with the administration panel to manage them) and extend it later when there is such a need.

It's important to note, however, that monolithic architectures are not suitable for all businesses or applications. Especially those that have rapidly evolving or extremely scalable requirements.

When do you need composable?

Mainly companies which will benefit from composable commerce are those, which are growing fast and will benefit from being able to change components without having to rip and rebuild the whole system, saving time and becoming more adaptable. Another reason for choosing the composable will be the ability to adapt quickly to market changes and test new ideas without being locked into a single technology stack. With Composable Commerce, businesses can easily expand into new geographic markets and reach customers worldwide. With support for multi-language, multi-currency, and multi-regional capabilities, businesses can localise their commerce experience to reach diverse audiences and drive international growth.

It would be the best option for companies that manage multiple brands or operate in different markets, as they can benefit from composable commerce by customising each brand's commerce experience while still sharing the underlying infrastructure components.

To create a comprehensive and effective composable commerce solution, we use both Commerce Layer and Hygraph.  
Commerce Layer serves as our commerce engine, concentrating on managing customer purchases, including shipping, managing customer information, handling returns, facilitating payments and managing order fulfilment.

Meanwhile, we use Hygraph as our Content Management System (CMS), filling in any information gaps across the commerce infrastructure. It administers additional data such as product information and descriptions, ensuring a strong and accurate catalogue.  

In addition, Hygraph enables dynamic adjustments to inventory models based on individual customer preferences, helping to create a more personalised and optimised shopping experience overall. Together, the Commerce Layer and Hygraph provide the necessary tools and functionality needed to build a flexible, scalable and customised e-commerce platform that meets the diverse needs of both customers and businesses.  

Choosing the right agency for your composable commerce needs is a strategic decision that can have a significant impact on your business's success. Datrycs is more than just a service provider – we're your trusted partner, committed to understanding your unique goals and challenges and delivering tailored solutions that drive tangible results.


  • Composable Commerce is like building blocks for online shopping. Instead of having everything combined into one big piece, each part, like searching for items or processing payments, is its own separate piece. Then, you can put these pieces together in different ways to make your own customized online store that fits exactly what you need for your business.
  • Monolithic architecture refers to a software design approach where an entire application is built as a single, self-contained unit. In this approach, all components of the application are interconnected and interdependent, typically sharing the same codebase, development, and deployment processes. This unified structure contrasts with more modular or distributed architectures where different components of the application are developed and deployed independently.
  • You need a composable architecture if you want the flexibility to build and customise different functional components of your system independently to meet specific business needs and adapt to evolving market demands.
  • You need a monolithic architecture if your project has relatively simple requirements, limited scalability needs, and prioritizes simplicity of development and deployment over flexibility and modularity.