Eventually, every mid-market business still on all-in-one platforms goes through the same thing: they outgrow them. These platforms operate on rigid systems with a fixed set of rules that restrict agility and growth. They simply don’t have what it takes to meet the demands of modern commerce. But a new approach is here – one that will enable limitless commerce possibilities: MACH.
As a concept initiated by commercetools, MACH (Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless) is a commerce architecture principle that transforms an enterprise into a sustainable digital organization of the future. On a higher level, MACH is a philosophy. It helps reinvent company culture to empower enterprises to work faster, explore new ideas and build more agile teams – all faster than the competition. Because MACH-based architecture is in opposition to the principles that underpin all-in-one and legacy platforms, it is the best way to overcome all the pain points those types of platforms cause. commercetools has not only brought the MACH concept to life, but the company itself is founded on this architecture from the ground up.
commercetools is the platform you grow into instead of out of.
Pain point 1: Struggling to become a multi-country, multi-brand or multi-storefront solution
Success often comes with expansion into new countries, and the need to translate product catalogs into multiple languages and sell them in a variety of currencies. Many online retailers also need separate web shops to sell their different brands and require distinctive storefronts with their own domain, and unique look and feel. All-in-one platforms don’t support these features on one platform, so IT departments need to develop complicated workarounds. With a MACH-based commerce solution, APIs and microservices can easily support multiple languages and currencies, and integrate new brands and storefronts.
Pain point 2: Slow time to market
Want to launch a promotion in an hour? With an all-in-one platform, there’s no chance. The inability to easily pivot with market shifts or respond to changing consumer demands is a hallmark of such platforms. These commerce systems can’t be reactive, much less proactive, and their failure to innovate is a source of frustration for all businesses that use them. With headless commerce, a critical component of MACH, companies can improve their customer experiences by rolling-out their offerings much faster because they don’t have to make time-consuming and complicated backend system changes. In short, headless commerce gives the freedom to innovate when, where and how a company wants it.
Thanks to headless, we were able to launch two massive projects in the span of about four to five weeks, something we would not have been able to accomplish with our legacy platform.
VP, Platform, Logistics Optimisation and Operation at Cimpress (parent company of Vistaprint)
Pain point 3: No flexibility and poor functionality
All-in-one platforms automatically include features that are often of no use to your business – but for which you have to pay anyway. They also have poor extensibility, are difficult to customize and force online retailers to sacrifice what makes them unique in order to fit into a cookie-cutter system that they’ll quickly outgrow. MACH architecture is inherently flexible and enables composable commerce, so you can customize the commerce solution you want and pay for only the tools you need while showcasing what makes your brand special.
We were heavily reliant on Shopify, and it was starting to hurt us. The business was starting to ask for features and functionally that were very difficult to build, if not impossible in Shopify.
Chief Technical Architect, Trinny London (Modern Commerce Day 2021)
Pain point 4: Lack of scalability
“Ability to scale” was by far the most frequently cited reason for transitioning to MACH by businesses during our Modern Commerce Day event. That’s because companies are tired of how stressful launching a promotion, stocking up for a holiday or finding that a product is suddenly in high demand can be for them due to website glitches and crashes. But these things don’t have to be stressful at all. With MACH, websites don’t experience downtime because their commerce solution is built in the cloud, so they naturally scale up or down depending on website traffic.
What convinced us at commercetools is the fast time-to-market for new features and products that the platform makes possible, the flexible backend, and the scalability. Our developers like to work with it, and its performance and well-developed APIs impress them.
Director Technology, flaconi
Pain point 5: Large and complex product catalogs
If your business offers thousands of products with hundreds of product configurations, an all-in-one platform cannot handle intricate product data management requirements. Moreover, only a fixed number of product attributes can be added. MACH architecture, on the other hand, inherently has the scalability to create huge marketplaces with endless product customizations due to the underlying infrastructure.
Pain point 6: Poor omnichannel customer experiences
Consumers want the same experience, product availability, pricing and quality of service regardless of whether they walk into a store, go to a website, check an app or ask their voice assistant, and businesses on all-in-one platforms struggle to provide these interactions seamlessly. But a MACH solution enables shoppable moments on any touchpoint because it is simply using the same backend and putting different UIs on top of it. This creates powerful and consistent brand experiences that wow customers and keep them coming back.
We [had to] pay attention to a strong backend in order to be able to scale our business at any time. The agile and stable platform commercetools provides ensures the site runs smoothly and every customer experience is seamless.
VP Strategy and Operations Commerce, Highsnobiety
Find out more about why adopting MACH principles for your commerce solution is the best way forward to modernizing your architecture by reading our white paper: Making the Switch to MACH.