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Everything you need to know about standalone and composable DXPs

The Contentstack TeamJun 01, 20247 min read

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Choosing between standalone and composable DXPs depends on your business needs and goals. While standalone DXPs offer an all-in-one solution, composable DXPs are more flexible and scalable—you can tailor them to your needs. Keep reading to discover which DXP suits your goals the most.


You’ll learn about the key differences between standalone DXPs vs. composable DXPs

Standalone DXPs:

  • All-in-one solution from one vendor
  • Easier initial setup out of the box
  • Limited customization as they are vendor-dependent

Composable DXPs:

  • Modular approach with microservices and APIs
  • Greater flexibility, allowing you to pivot
  • Scalable integrations—more resources for your growth

Opt for a composable DXP for true business dynamism, continuity and future-proofing capabilities. Request a free demo to see it in action.

Keep reading to learn more!

Digital experience platforms are driving business tech strategies and digital innovation more than ever. Here are recent data on the impact of DXP on businesses.

  • 3 times more revenue growth, IBM
  • 66% customer retention via CX, Forrester
  • 91% of executives agree it is essential for growth, Adobe
  • 22% ROI due to DXP investments, IBM

Most of these successes were attributed to better customer experiences (CX), enhanced agility, and marketing automation. So, how can DXPs deliver such results? We can understand that by looking at what a DXP is, what kinds there are, and what each one offers.

What is a digital experience platform (DXP)?

Although standalone DXPS are monolithic and composable DXPs modular, they both have similar principles as DXPs. A DXP is a set of combined technologies that allows you to create and deliver digital experiences across multiple channels.

Main components of a DXP

Out of the box, here are essential components you can expect to find in a typical digital experience platform.

  • Content management system (CMS): A CMS may be traditional or monolithic, headless or hybrid, depending on the DXP. A CMS allows you to create, optimize, and deliver content to various platforms.
  • Customer data platform (CDP): CDPs collect and aggregate customer data from multiple sources. It unifies the data and makes it available in a centralized database that decision-makers can access.
  • Personalization engines: These engines rely on analytics to help tailor content and digital experiences based on user behavior and preferences.
  • Analytics and reporting tools: Analytics tools track metrics and customer interactions. It aggregates data from several points and sorts it into an interactive dashboard that supports decision-making. 

Understanding standalone DXPs

Standalone DXPs are monolithic platforms with all solutions housed under one roof. They come with pre-packaged features, making them easy to set up but less flexible.

Key features and benefits

Although they may seem less popular these days, monolithic DXPs have some advantages, as you can see below.

  • Comprehensive solution: Standalone DXPs come with all necessary tools out of the box. So, you get content creation, management, and delivery. For many brands, these are the main solutions they need.
  • Easy to implement: These DXPs do not require much work to put together. It comes with several solutions out of the box. That makes them easier to deploy.
  • Vendor support: They offer a single point of contact for support and updates. That makes it easy to resolve any setup or usage issues.

Common use cases and industries

Standalone DXPs can work in most industries, but here are the three common ones you will find them in.

  • Retail: For managing e-commerce and customer engagement
  • Healthcare: To provide consistent patient information across digital touchpoints
  • Finance: For secure and compliant digital interactions

What is a composable DXP?

Imagine you discovered a new opportunity in Southeast Asia and need a digital solution to localize content and payments, but your DXP vendor does not offer it. That leaves you with a potential missed opportunity. 

A composable DXP solves such problems and supports digital transformation. You have freedom and flexibility, enabling you to select and integrate best-of-breed solutions via APIs. In that scenario, you only need to find a digital solution that offers localization features and plug it into your composable DXP.

The best part is that you can do all that while your system continues to run without any disruption. That flexibility and resilience are why composable DXPs have become so popular today.

Start your free trial with Contentstack today. Transform your brand's digital presence with Contentstack's open MACH architecture and industry-leading technology. Witness a significant reduction in publishing and development time, and elevate your content management. Start your free trial now.

Characteristics of a composable DXP

There are many things you can identify a composable DXP with. For instance, it is vendor-agnostic, agile, and cloud-native, but here are its three main characteristics.

  • Modular architecture: A modular design comprises multiple small, independent services. They are easier to manage. Each module performs specific functions and can be deployed, tested, or updated without impacting the system.
  • API-based integrations: APIs ensure that the tools and modules in the DXP can connect, interact and share data.
  • Flexibility: The modular architecture and API supports composable DXP architecture. So, businesses can adapt to changing business needs and emerging technologies.

Advantages of a modular approach

A modular approach allows you to isolate faults. It also gives you access to advanced data analytics, enabling you to create tailored content. Here are other reasons to go with a modular approach.

  • Scalability: As your business grows or expands, you can add new features and extra computing resources to manage that. You can also pivot to the latest trends without overhauling the entire platform. 
  • Cost efficiency: You select and integrate only the systems you need. Auto-scaling also ensures you have the right resources for what you are using at any point. So you only pay for what you use. 
  • Speed: Developers and digital marketers can work in parallel, improving collaboration and speeding up work.

Standalone vs. composable DXPs

At this point, you will already have a clear idea of the differences between a monolithic DXP and a composable DXP. But there is more; hence, see the table below for detailed differences.


Standalone DXP

Composable DXP


Monolithic: tightly integrated and coupled front-end and back-end

Modular: Loosely coupled and flexible parts


Limited, due to their monolithic structure

Scalable due to modular architecture


Less flexible, uses a predefined structure

More flexible, you can customize various components


It can be more complex due to tight coupling

Easier. You can update individual components independently


Limited integration capabilities, often restricted to vendor-specific tools

Extensive integration with third-party services and tools


Potentially higher initial costs for setup and extra tools from the vendor

Varies. You only pay for what you need

Vendor dependency

Higher risk of vendor lock-in due to proprietary technology

Lower risk, as it supports a mix of best-of-breed solutions


Slower pace as it depends on a single vendor

Faster innovation from multiple specialized providers


Limited to vendor-provided options

Extensive customization is possible due to modular design and APIs

Benefits of composable DXPs

A composable DXP is flexible and agile. It allows you to plug into new trends and opportunities, and with modularity, it is easier to maintain the digital experience platform.

Flexibility and agility

Composable DXPs allow you to quickly respond to market shifts while delivering reliable products and services. You can plug into new trends or emerging technologies without overhauling the entire system.

Better personalization

A Salesforce report states that 73% of customers expect personalized content, and IBM reports that businesses increased revenue by 20% due to DXP investments in personalization. Composable DXPs power tailored content experiences, leading to increased customer loyalty. 

Better customer engagement

With the help of data analytics, you can tailor content to the exact needs of customers. You can deliver personalized content and offers, which improves customer engagement.

Integration with other systems

Composable DXPs allow you to integrate existing systems. So, you save money by avoiding wholesale IT changes. It also ensures business continuity while extending the features of your system.

Omnichannel support

Digizuite report shows that omnichannel strategies increase customer retention rates by 89% while boosting store visits by 80%, according to Google. With composable DXP, you can maintain a consistent and engaging interaction with customers across multiple channels, be it web, mobile apps, social media, and more.

Benefits of a composable DXP

How to choose the right digital experience platform

1. Assess business needs and goals

The starting point is to know what your business wants to achieve. You can want to digitalize your operations, move to a new market, localize content, or deliver omnichannel experiences. It may also be all that and more. Outline those goals to help you determine the essential DXP features you need.

2. Evaluate technical requirements

Consider your existing tech stack and ensure the DXP can integrate with it. Check the technical requirements to ensure they are the right match for your technology stack and future plans.

3. Consider platform scalability

Choose a platform that can grow with your business and adapt to future changes in the market and emerging technology.

4. Consider MACH

A MACH-compliant platform like Contentstack addresses your current digital needs and future-proofs your business. With MACH, you enjoy the benefits of microservices, API-first design, cloud resources, and a headless system.

Contentstack: Your partner in scaling digital experiences. Twice named a Leader in Forrester's composable DXP award, Contentstack offers an innovative approach to DXP. Experience our 100% microservices architecture and API coverage that allows instant scalability. Start your free trial today.

Best Practices for implementing DXPs

Set clear objectives and KPIs: Define goals and outline what success looks like. Then, outline KPIs to enable you to measure the success of your DXP pivot.

Ensure seamless integration with existing systems: Start with robust API designs. That way, you can integrate your DXP with your current IT systems. Aside from saving time, it gives you continuity, and you avoid technical issues in the future.

Always monitor and optimize: After going live, always keep an eye on the system. Track its performance against your KPIs, monitor the metrics and correct any issues that arise.

Case studies


Reckitt struggled with expansion and needed a digital solution to support its 84 brands and 700 websites in 200 countries. Switching to Contentstack allowed them to do that. 

  • They migrated 140 websites
  • Reduced costs
  • Increased website performance by 40%

Paweł Płoneczka, further said. “With Contentstack’s global governance and control over the content model, we can make sure that all sites are compliant, have full accessibility, and work as they should out of the box.

Read more about how Reckitt scaled multi-brand content operations across 200 markets.


MongoDB juggled multiple CMSes and five core websites. That was inefficient and slow. Their CMSes also lacked localization features. Switching to Contentstack’s composable DXP with a headless CMS enabled them to address those issues and led to the following:

  • Faster publishing speed
  • 250+ pages migrated
  • Translation support for seven languages

Hear from Subi Babu, the Engineering Lead at MongoDB. "Coming from an in-house CMS, our background for several years was focused on developing CMS features. Now, we can use the marketplace and get plug-and-play integrations, which is exciting."

Read more about how MongoDB drives digital modernization with Contentstack.

FAQ Section

What is the difference between a standalone and a composable DXP?

A standalone DXP is monolithic and vendor-dependent, while a composable DXP is modular and flexible. With composable DXPs, you can select digital solutions from multiple vendors.

Why should I consider a composable DXP over a traditional one?

A composable DXP is more flexible. It gives you more control, such that you can integrate as many features as you need for your business. You are not tied to one vendor. That enables you to pivot and leads to faster updates and product releases.

What are the benefits of using a digital experience platform?

Digital experience platforms allow you to personalize content, improve customer experience, and deliver omnichannel experiences. They improve how you manage customer journeys and enable you to release products faster.

How do I choose the right DXP for my business?

Outline the goals of your business, assess your IT needs, and identify the gaps in your current system. Also, evaluate integration requirements and features. Finally, focus on getting a scalable and flexible DXP platform.

Learn more

So, what DXP is suitable for you? It comes down to your business goals, IT needs and plans. Standalone DXPs may offer many of what you need in one package, but they cannot match the flexibility, agility, and scalability of a composable DXP.

As a dynamic enterprise looking to future-proof and grow, Contentstack’s composable DXP represents the best value. It is MACH-enabled from the ground up. You enjoy all the benefits of microservices, an API-first design, cloud-native resources and a headless system. 
Those are the foundations for higher revenues, business continuity, customer retention, and digital innovation. Request a free demo to start your composable journey today.

About Contentstack

The Contentstack team comprises highly skilled professionals specializing in product marketing, customer acquisition and retention, and digital marketing strategy. With extensive experience holding senior positions in notable technology companies across various sectors, they bring diverse backgrounds and deep industry knowledge to deliver impactful solutions.  

Contentstack stands out in the composable DXP and Headless CMS markets with an impressive track record of 87 G2 user awards, 6 analyst recognitions, and 3 industry accolades, showcasing its robust market presence and user satisfaction.

Check out our case studies to see why industry-leading companies trust Contentstack.

Experience the power of Contentstack's award-winning platform by scheduling a demo, starting a free trial, or joining a small group demo today.

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