For enterprise businesses, the last year could be considered nothing short of a whirlwind. While many organizations may have expected digital transformation to be something they would undergo over the next decade or that consumer buying habits may shift eCommerce to the forefront, no one could have predicted the pace of innovation.
According to McKinsey, businesses underwent 10 years of projected eCommerce growth in the space of just 3 months in Q1 2020. While this growth has been astounding and spurred on by several factors, maintaining it will require eCommerce brands to ensure that their technology infrastructure is up to scratch.
MACH architecture has been touted as a way for enterprises to be more agile and faster compared to the legacy architectures they may have grown accustomed to in the past. But is this the right approach for eCommerce businesses? We’ve spoken to experts to understand why MACH architecture should be the chosen approach for building an enterprise eCommerce tech stack.
Differences Between Traditional eCommerce Architecture and MACH Architecture
For enterprise eCommerce brands, architecture choice is quite relevant — especially given the differences between enterprise-level eCommerce and smaller sized businesses. An enterprise eCommerce solution needs to facilitate selling products online. It also needs to integrate with other technologies such as CRMs, handle larger order volumes, potentially change currencies for different countries, and more.
MACH architecture is a set of principles that focuses on a best-of-breed approach to building tech stacks. It incorporates microservices with an API-first approach for connecting services and applications, cloud-native SaaS and headless technology.
On the other hand, traditional eCommerce platforms rely on monolithic architecture with one collection of interdependent and interconnected components. The microservices architecture facilitated by MACH takes a modular approach that allows these connected services to run independently. So how does this benefit eCommerce brands?
Thilo Huellmann, CTO at Berlin-based Levity.ai, explains that “microservices are designed to work independently and are connected using well-defined, versioned APIs.” Unlike the connected legacy architecture, each service can perform a business function, reducing some of the complex issues of large eCommerce systems. This makes things like hiring and makes implementing new functions easier. “Each microservice may be written in a different programming language that is better suited to the implementation of a particular function, avoiding the accumulation of so-called technical debt.”
Related Article: MACH Architecture: What It Is, Why You Should Know It
How Headless Commerce Changes the Customer Experience
Another aspect of the MACH architecture is the use of headless technology to provide more freedom for developers through headless commerce. By decoupling the backend logic from the frontend user experience, new user interfaces can be created to enhance the customer experience while shopping.
According to Yvan Boisjoli, CEO and co-founder of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada-based Bold Commerce, this can be especially useful for the checkout process of the future. “The next phase of e-commerce will be defined by a checkout experience that can take place anywhere,” he said.
With the implementation of headless commerce, customers can be seamlessly connected both in-store and online, creating an omnichannel experience that enables them to shop whenever they please and include their historical shopping data to make new experiences even smoother.
Benefits of MACH Architecture for Enterprise eCommerce
Enterprise eCommerce businesses can leverage headless technology and microservices to improve their technical infrastructure. But what are the actual benefits of this approach?
Best of Breed Integrations: Brands don’t want to find themselves restricted by a suite of technologies like they might be with a legacy technology stack. Analytics and marketing automation are just some of the additional functionalities that eCommerce brands will need to rely on. As Julien Lemoine, CTO of San Francisco, California-based Algolia, explains, MACH architecture ensures that brands can pick the tool of their choice thanks to its best-of-breed capabilities.
“MACH also allows brands to have better agility and allows a best of breed approach. This allows eCommerce brands to utilize the best of several providers dedicated to one particular problem or service, which is impossible if you select a single provider to cover everything,” he said.
Increased Speed and Agility: MACH architecture enables eCommerce businesses to roll out new products and tests new hypotheses much more quickly than legacy systems. This bodes well if you need to customize and add new features quickly, such as integrations with a new partner or redesign the customer experience for a store in a new location.
Future-Proof Architecture: Since MACH enables eCommerce brands to connect to any frontends they choose with APIs, this means that the technology makes things future proof and any new shopping channels can be incorporated effortlessly.