October 14, 2021 | 3 Min
How MACH Architecture Bolsters eCommerce Digital Experiences
Digital experience. This is the new buzzword in the world of enterprise ecommerce. For good reason. If you offer a superior digital experience for your shoppers, they should be delighted to purchase your products.
Of course that sounds easy, but it’s definitely not — as many marketers and developers know firsthand.
That’s because the digital experience has changed over the years. Back in the early days of the internet, simply having an ecommerce website was enough; it didn’t matter much what your site looked like (hello flashing neon GIFs).
Now, if you want to add an image to your online store, it better load fast. Because if it doesn’t, your page load speed can drop, which impacts everything from search engine rankings to whether or not someone even stays on the page long enough to browse.
Don’t forget you should also deliver personalized content for every shopper based on the data you’ve collected, while at the same time, ensuring that your navigation makes sense to everyone.
And this doesn’t even touch on the fact that today’s consumers could have over 375 digital interactions before buying — yet they expect a cohesive, engaging experience across that entire journey, from social media to mobile shopping.
So how can businesses deliver these types of digital experiences shoppers desire? It starts with a move from monolith technology to MACH.
Why monolith technology fails enterprises
Monolith technology has been the go-to for ecommerce businesses for many years. In a monolith set-up, the front-end, or digital storefront, that shoppers see and interact with, as well as the back-end, or server-side, that determines how the site functions, are packaged together as an all-in-one solution.
This makes building and deploying an online store with limited requirements fairly simple and straightforward. In fact, it’s a great option for small and mid-sized (SMB) online businesses.
However, once you move into the enterprise space — launching multiple brands or websites, expanding into new regions, or selling through several marketplaces and social channels with unified inventory — things begin to get a bit complicated.
This is where MACH shines.
What is MACH architecture?
According to the MACH Alliance, a non-profit co-operation dedicated to introducing a new, open and best-of-breed enterprise technology ecosystem, MACH stands for microservices, API-first, cloud-native SaaS and headless. To expand on that further, here is a general overview of what each of these features means.
Microservices architecture — Here you have small services that perform a very specific task, and they are brought together to build an application. What’s unique about them is that they use different code and can be developed, updated, deployed and maintained independently of one another.
API-first — Application programming interface (API) technology is how everything communicates together to deliver content to devices and applications. This means the application needs to be built with APIs in the forefront — and not as an afterthought.
Cloud-native SaaS — A cloud-native application is developed and built in the cloud, instead of built outside and then transferred to the cloud. Additionally, software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers manage, monitor and maintain the technology and license it through subscription services.
Headless — Headless commerce architecture is the decoupling of the front-end presentation layer of a website from the back-end ecommerce functionality.
To get a better idea of how a headless storefront functions, watch this video to see an example of how you can make product updates using BigCommerce for back-end navigation and product, and Amplience for front-end content.
The key takeaway from MACH is that it forms a set of guiding principles using a best-of-breed approach to build enterprise software tech stacks. In contrast to monolithic architecture, with MACH, you get to choose the technology that works best for your ecommerce business and future roadmap.
To learn more about MACH and see if it’s right for you, check out our latest resource in partnership with Amplience, Monolith vs MACH: A Mach Commerce Guide.
How MACH benefits marketing and developer teams
Let’s dive into this a bit deeper to understand how MACH technology benefits enterprise developers and marketing teams.
Traditionally, content and commerce have been treated as two separate functions, effectively creating silos between teams and making innovation much more difficult to achieve.
However, as Amy Thomason at Amplience points out, “Driven by other changes in the ecommerce industry, and ultimately a need for things to be better, many know collaboration is now the key to growth. Teams need to be working in parallel and everyone empowered to deliver upon the shared purpose.”
And while it may sound counterproductive, the solution to bring these two teams together is actually the separation that MACH technology provides. Because, by decoupling your front-end and back-end using a headless or microservices architecture, each team gains freedom and autonomy.
Marketing teams can make front-end changes without risking problems on the back-end. At the same time, developers can focus on revenue-generating projects, instead of assisting marketing with front-end changes.
For example, in this next video clip, watch how product content can be integrated within editorial, using BigCommerce and Amplience.
As you can see, marketers can easily make changes in real-time as they are driving new sales and promotions without the need to rely on developer resources for simple updates.
As enterprises look to improve their ecommerce digital experiences, adapt to evolving customer expectations and support omnichannel commerce growth, the rigidity of monolith solutions becomes even more apparent.
Flexibility and a best-of-breed approach is necessary to achieve these goals. And MACH architecture offers just that — along with the additional advantage of integrating commerce and content, so marketing and developer teams can work together.
If you’re ready to explore how Amplience and BigCommerce can work for your business, schedule a demo today.