Microservices for modern commerce: Defining the “M” in commercetools MACH architecture for enterprise ecommerce
MACH 1 – the “Big Four” of the commercetools commerce platform architecture – Microservices, API, Cloud, Headless – can propel you full-speed into the future of digital commerce.
We have entered a new era in commerce – one where consumers demand seamless transactions everywhere, all the time. Reacting quickly to these changes is a must for enterprise organizations to stay ahead, so commercetools developed microservices for commerce. Unlike traditional, slow monolithic platforms that come with lots of restrictions, microservices are independently developed, deployed, and managed by a small team of people from different disciplines – providing the flexibility to build new prototypes and deliver new features to the market quickly.
Some of the advantages customers can expect when they use commercetools microservices are less complexity during the implementation process, easier outsourcing, better security, and most importantly faster time-to-market of new features. Because microservices are modular and flexible, brands and retailers can easily custom build their online store or social media channels to fit whatever commerce needs they have. Even better, each self-contained application can be further developed and maintained at any time, allowing retailers to react quickly to market changes – often within days or even hours.
Mega fashion brand EXPRESS is in a business where trends can change overnight. So speed is critical for their technology team. According to EXPRESS Vice President of Digital Commerce Brendan Gualdoni, “We used to have one software release a month. Since we switched to commercetools, that’s done once a day.”
Experimentation drives innovation
Microservices offer the perfect environment for responsive online commerce. Testing a new service, offer or special promotion can be done quickly and more frequently thanks to smaller, dedicated sets of functionality. This is commerce-as-a-service in the truest sense. Microservices provide customers and their tech teams with the foundation to do exactly what they love: Create something new. Retailers benefit by being able to stay ahead of customer demand – and the competition.
Microservices empower teams to take ownership
The decision to switch from a monolithic commerce platform to flexible microservices not only affects an organization’s digital output, but it also requires structural changes to teams and hierarchies. While large monolithic applications often require around 100 or more backend developers, microservices require small teams between 2-15 people to develop, deploy, and manage a single microservice through its entire life cycle. Each team should have a wide mix of skills including business, operations, and developers. A couple advantages of creating these small teams includes less communication pathways (less chance for error or confusion), and also more autonomy when it comes to choosing the technology best-suited for solving each business problem and the right architectural and implementation decisions that apply solely to each team’s microservice.
Microservices in Practice
Using microservices, retailers can deliver seamless shopping experience across all channels. Amazon, for example, has been using microservices since 2006 and now has thousands of individual microservices that serve as building blocks for hundreds of UIs. “Amazon would not exist without microservices,” explains Dirk Hoerig, CEO of commercetools. “Of course, our customers don’t have to be online giants like Amazon. From Austrian online ski rental to full-range bookstores with 14 million books in the cloud – microservices make companies of all sizes flexible and agile.”
Another great example that demonstrates how microservices are transforming online retailers is the story of our customer and popular fashion label EXPRESS. Watch this informative webinar to hear from the VP of Enterprise Architecture at EXPRESS how the brand has used microservices and APIs to provide better customer experiences through their mobile app, including more agility, flexibility and speed.
To learn more about how to adopt microservices, as well as the inner and outer architecture of commercetools microservices, download a free copy of Kelly Goetsch’s O’Reilly booklet Microservices for Modern Commerce here.
Continue following this blog series to learn about the next component in commercetools MACH architecture – “A” for API-first. You can also find more on our website here.