Composable commerce with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce

Dec 07, 2023

Key takeaways

Without unified commerce, retailers have to duplicate business logic and data across multiple platforms

Composable commerce allows retailers to unify data management and gradually deploy using API-based services 

Microsoft D365 Commerce is a unified commerce solution designed to unite different systems

Business applications Retail Microsoft

A common and difficult barrier for retailers to overcome in unified commerce is the required duplication of business logic and data across multiple systems that are not designed to work together. This legacy interface dilemma results in the least capable feature set being adopted across all systems—or even worse, a siloed independent implementation.

However, using a composable commerce solution lets companies enable capabilities across multiple channels from a single source, regardless of the source. Using API-based services instead of legacy interfaces provides needed business capabilities at a lower ongoing cost with greater resiliency and flexibility. Microsoft offers a modern Azure-based architecture that provides retailers with this composable commerce capability.

Composable commerce capabilities

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is a unified commerce solution that includes the back-office and channel-specific functionality for a call center, ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores (POS). In addition, the business logic that drives the channel operations is available as a consumable API via the Commerce Runtime (CRT). This capability allows retailers to:

  • Unify data management (e.g., pricing, promotions, product/customer/inventory information). The quality of these data elements can be managed in one place by the business users and consumed by any number of external applications as needed.
  • Increase flexibility of the tech stack by using real-time APIs. The API framework is a secure and scalable architecture that allows for extension that is all managed in a cloud environment by Microsoft.
  • Deploy gradually and interchangeably. The API can be consumed for a single service or a set of services. Moving to the API-driven approach will allow for the application.
  • Scale up independent of the back-office application. The service architecture has automatic scale-out-and-up capability.

Microsoft Commerce Runtime

The concept of composable commerce allows retailers to gradually introduce new capabilities while establishing a framework for a flexible, API-driven architecture. Microsoft delivers this capability through Commerce Runtime (CRT), a collection of libraries deployed in the cloud and consumed via API. Together, these various services support the concept of headless commerce but can be individually consumed.

Some valuable attributes of CRT include:

  • Commerce Scale Unit (CSU) business data and operations are available to any connected device through the OData Web API
  • The APIs are stateless and can process requests from many channels
  • The APIs have a linear scale-out model (“brick” scale-out)
  • A composition pattern is leveraged for plug-and-play customizations
  • The APIs are built on the .NET stack by using C#

The Microsoft CRT allows retailers to centralize their business operations while eliminating the issue of least capable features when using legacy interface strategies. This means business users can set up item attributes, pricing and promotions in one place, then have it published and consumed by all other channels via API.

The services that can be published using this API are described below. In addition to the listing, the API services can be found here. Consuming these services is straightforward. An example that includes a postman collection can be found here


This service validates and updates coupon-related requests.

Customer Service

This service contains customer-related operations such as save customer, purchase history, get customer and customer balance.

Gift Card Service

This service provides information about internal activities that are related to gift cards, such as issuing the gift card, getting the balance and adding value.

Loyalty Service

This service implements a program that rewards repeat customers.

Product Service

This service gets product-related and variant-related information.

Products Service

This service gets information that is related to products and variants.

Pricing Service

This service gets the price of an item in real time. The price is adjusted, based on the base price and any applicable discounts. Discounts can be customized for each retailer.

Product Availability Service

This service calculates the quantities of products that are available to sell.

Sales Order Service

This service creates a sales order, based on a customer shopping cart.

Search Products Service

This service searches products, based on the input text.

Shipping Service

This service calculates shipping costs and determines shipping options for the current order.

What happens next?

Many of the challenges of unified commerce are due to misalignment between various systems that are interfaced using a lowest common capability approach. These limitations hold retailers back from delivering on the low-friction, high-service experience that customers expect.

Microsoft offers a composable commerce solution based on its CRT engine that can be deployed in a secure, resilient, auto-scaling architecture hosted and managed by Microsoft Azure. These services can also be deployed partially, allowing for alternative solutions for specific areas.

Connect with us if you would like assistance with preparing a business case for your unified commerce project.

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