Highlighting the benefits and challenges of implementation of MACH architecture, eCommerce business could be changed for the better
With the growth of consumer expectations, providing an outstanding experience has become critical for any eCommerce enterprise. Otherwise, an enterprise risks losing its potential and existing customers. According to the NICE’s 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report, most consumers (57%) say they would abandon a brand after one or two negative experiences.
Delivering a quality experience across all channels could be limited without a flexible and future-proof technology architecture. That is why increasingly more organizations consider innovative concepts as a basis for eCommerce platform architecture.
This article highlights the specifics of the MACH architecture, covers its benefits and challenges for the eCommerce business, and provides some tips on how enterprises should start with implementation.
What is MACH?
This acronym represents one of the four software development principles – microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless. Combined, the unique features of these technological concepts make MACH one of the most future-proof software architectures.
Utilizing the microservices concept, developers can build and deploy ecommerce solutions as sets of interconnected components (services), where each service works with its business logic and interacts with others via APIs. In practice, it enables engineers to update, replace, or remove any digital component without affecting the entire software system.
By creating and deploying API interfaces, developers can easily integrate various ecommerce software components, such as microservices or databases. Organizations can quickly link different business functions using APIs, thus building more connected and powerful eCommerce software ecosystems.
While microservices allow developers to scale software horizontally by adding new features and integrations with less effort, cloud computing enables them to run a vertical scale – an organization may increase computing powers on its demand. In addition, the cloud helps enterprises streamline data management and sharing, thus enhancing employee collaboration.
Headless is one of the variations of the microservices concept – it implies separating the eCommerce front-end and back-end into two separate layers connected via an API. With the headless architecture, an enterprise may customize the visual interfaces of its digital channels, such as websites or apps, without the need to edit the code on the server side.
How is MACH good for businesses?
After discussing the definition and main components, it is worth considering its practical business advantages.
Advanced omnichannel capabilities
Developers can expand MACH-based solutions both horizontally and vertically. In practice, it enables omnichannel commerce since enterprises can quickly launch new sales channels or, vice versa, switch them off in case they do not bring tangible results. In addition, organizations’ marketing specialists may distribute relevant content across all these channels.
Improved innovation speed
Since MACH enables updating the eCommerce ecosystem piece by piece, developers can smoothly enrich software solutions with the latest technology and tools available in the market. For example, if another eCommerce organization creates an AR-based landing page, an enterprise can quickly launch a similar page, thus neutralizing a competitor’s advantage.
Enhanced customer experience
Creating and customizing front-end interfaces allows an enterprise to fine-tune user journeys, thus enabling more targeted and personalized customer experiences. In addition, organizations can utilize the capabilities to deliver tailored content across all channels and run effective and targeted loyalty programs.
What are the main challenges of MACH?
Despite multiple advantages, it is worth noting that implementing the MACH architecture is not an easy task. Here are some challenges typically faced by adopters.
Too complicated software management
A MACH-based system consists of multiple layers, microservices, and API connectors. Therefore, it is more difficult to manage compared to software built with traditional architecture. For example, the IT team does not have experience with microservices or is unfamiliar with the DevOps culture. In that case, it is unlikely to be able to manage MACH-based software.
Increased software development costs
The MACH architecture allows enterprises to adapt to ever-changing customer requirements, but this advantage comes at a price. Developers build additional microservices and connect new sales channels. And the enterprise must allocate more resources to maintaining and monitoring its growing digital ecosystem.
The lack of ready-made visual interfaces
Given that headless systems technically do not have built-in front-end interfaces, an enterprise will have to build them either with the hands of its IT team or with the help of a third-party developer. Even if an IT department integrates a MACH-based platform with a third-party interface, it will still require certain expenses and effort.
Implementation and starting better
If an enterprise considers MACH implementation, we would recommend corporate decision-makers begin with assessing the viability of MACH regarding their particular business case. Additionally, they should thoroughly evaluate their technical and resource capabilities.
The decision-makers may initiate a series of consultations with corporate IT departments to discuss these and other questions:
• How can the architecture help us achieve our business goals?
• Could the transition from legacy architecture cause more harm than good?
• Do we have enough skills and resources to develop and maintain this software? Are we able to build front-end interfaces?
• Can we realize the project on our own, or is it better to involve third-party consultants?
Depending on the answers, decision-makers can decide if they should initiate a MACH-based project and how it is better to approach the development. If they cannot form a clear opinion regarding MACH implementation, it is worth consulting third-party eCommerce technology experts.
Ever-growing customer expectations require eCommerce enterprises to become more adaptable and flexible, and the same applies to the technical side of their business. Fortunately, scalable and future-proof architectures such as MACH enable enterprises to overcome this challenge.
However, the implementation itself is a challenging endeavour. Adopters must not only be able to develop and deploy dozens of microservices but also build front-end interfaces and maintain consistent API networks. However, thorough business analysis and, if required, the engagement of third-party experts can help enterprises leverage the MACH capabilities.
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