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MACH Architecture: The Future of Fast & Scalable eCommerce

Kaya Ismail • 14 July 2022

Many eCommerce brands have started embracing microservices and headless architecture to improve their stores. Both concepts fall under MACH architecture. The MACH architecture represents the future of eCommerce, making stores both fast and scalable. 

What Is MACH?

MACH is an acronym that stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless. It represents a set of principles that support a modern infrastructure which is particularly useful for eCommerce stores today. Let’s break down the principles. 

  • Microservices: Individual software applications that are independently developed, deployed, and managed and serve a single function. For example, an app that only handles the checkout or product search component of an eCommerce store. 

  • API-first: APIs connect the different applications in the system so that they can transfer data and easily communicate. 

  • Cloud-native: The cloud is used to store and host SaaS applications in order to provide elastic scalability and remove the need for manual upgrades. 

  • Headless: The frontend and backend of the eCommerce platform are separated to allow for the development of custom user interfaces and connections to different channels and devices. 

Read more about the principles that make up MACH:

eCommerce Microservices Architecture: Everything You Need to Know

API eCommerce: The Role of APIs In The Shopping Journey

Headless Commerce Explained in 5 minutes

What is Jamstack eCommerce

Why MACH Matters to eCommerce

MACH is a new term that describes an architecture that supports a composable or best-of-breed approach to building eCommerce solutions. Previously, most eCommerce stores relied on legacy systems made up of monolithic suites.

However, in today’s digital world, organizations have begun to favor a future-proof and flexible architecture that allows them to quickly adapt to market changes and select the preferred technology components to create their eCommerce ecosystem. 

The Limitations of Legacy Infrastructure

Monolithic platforms remain popular for some eCommerce stores but sooner rather than later, many of them discover the drawbacks of these suite systems like downtime, expensive maintenance and upgrades, and slow speed to market. 

Downtime: Downtime can feel like death for an eCommerce store as it means customers aren’t able to make their purchases and will likely pivot towards a competitor. Unfortunately, legacy systems are likely to suffer from increased downtime as they are older and more susceptible to hacks. This can lead to lost sales and a negative impact on brand loyalty.

Maintenance & Upgrading: Another issue with legacy infrastructure is that it isn’t flexible enough to simplify the upgrading process. Tons of IT resources are required simply to maintain systems, and businesses often need to undergo a complete re-platforming when new features or functionality get added.

Slow Speed to Market: Speed is necessary for eCommerce stores today, whether that means fast loading times or allowing marketing teams to quickly release new campaigns and shopping experiences that convert more customers. Unfortunately, many legacy systems can be slow and cumbersome, restricting merchants who want to get ahead of the competition.

Customer Requirements

With so many shopping channels to choose from, including social media platforms, tablets, and mobile devices, customers expect eCommerce brands to provide them with an omnichannel experience. In addition, these customers want their experience to be personalized with product recommendations, localization, and more. It can be challenging to integrate these additional features when relying on a legacy system. 

Benefits of MACH For eCommerce

Rather than be handcuffed by legacy infrastructure, eCommerce stores can achieve the following benefits with MACH architecture:

Decreased Downtime

MACH relies on independent microservices working together. This means that if one application needs to be upgraded or changed, it won’t affect the entire system. This reduces the system’s downtime and makes everything more secure, lowering the risk of malicious attacks. 

Improved User Experience

Shopping experiences can be created on any device thanks to the headless component of MACH architecture. This allows businesses to set up eCommerce stores on the channels their customers frequent, meaning an improved user experience. 

Increased Scalability

Scalability is crucial for eCommerce stores dealing with high traffic, whether that traffic is seasonal or constant. The flexibility of MACH architecture means that stores can have greater scalability and easily adjust to cope. 

Best of Breed Components

Whereas legacy suites force a specific set of tools on you as part of your eCommerce solution, MACH architecture supports best-of-breed functionality. Businesses have the freedom to choose from the best vendors for search functionality, inventory management, payments processing, content management, and anything else they need to build their eCommerce stack. 

No Replatform Necessary

Unlike monolithic infrastructure that requires constant upgrades any time a new feature gets released, new technology becomes relevant, or a new channel becomes popular, MACH architecture removes the need to re-platform. Instead, businesses can easily integrate new components or swap out existing ones for something better.  

Faster Time to Market

Since disparate systems can be connected using APIs, developers don’t need to spend as much time performing integrations or connecting to new digital channels. This allows upgrades and campaigns to be released more quickly and eCommerce stores to achieve a faster time to market. 

Achieve MACH Speed With Instant Commerce

The MACH approach provides eCommerce stores with the modern functionality to compete today. It helps to improve speed in several ways, increases scalability, and gives more freedom and flexibility. 

With Instant Commerce, you can find a solution that embodies the MACH approach and empowers you to get the most out of MACH. As a frontend as a service provider, Instant Commerce gives eCommerce merchants the flexibility to build headless storefronts for any device using a component-based approach. 

Merchants can use the storefront builder to create a better user experience, increase site speed, generate more conversions, and ultimately drive more revenue. Also, by removing developer dependency on the frontend, developer teams can focus their attention on getting more out of MACH on the backend.

Considering other tools to build your eCommerce tech stack? Take a look at the Best CMS for Headless Commerce for 2022

Author / Writer
Kaya Ismail
Content Marketer

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