The Future of Customer Experience: MACH Architecture
Finding new ways to meet the needs of customers is essential for success in today’s evolving e-commerce industry. Businesses must exceed customer expectations and deliver exceptional customer service to stand out from competitors. A great customer experience can boost sales and conversion rates; in fact, a high-quality customer experience is the foundation of any successful e-commerce business.
How does customer experience influence commerce? Speed and responsiveness are more crucial to customers than ever before. For example, according to Deloitte’s “Milliseconds Make Millions” report:
- 61 percent of customers have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience;
- 70 percent of consumers acknowledge that page load speed affects their willingness to shop from retailers; and
- 59 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience.
These statistics prove that companies need to provide exceptional customer experiences to build a thriving e-commerce business.
What Do Customers Expect From E-commerce Retailers?
To create a remarkable customer experience, businesses need to understand what their shoppers expect in the first place. Here are some core elements that make up customer experience in e-commerce:
- Personalized content. To stand out, brands must come up with unique experiences tailored to their customers’ needs. Shoppers expect individual collections, customized offers, and custom-made suggestions.
- A great mobile experience. A smooth, agile mobile experience is a prerequisite for mobile conversions. Sluggish loading times and a lack of mobile-first architecture make shoppers spend more time and less money on mobile.
- Lightning-fast performance. The probability of bounce grows by 90 percent as page load time goes from one second to five seconds. A 0.1 second difference in load speed can influence the customer experience. Deloitte reports that speed improvement of 0.1 seconds translates into 10 percent more in customer spending.
So how can retailers meet these expectations? That is where MACH architecture comes into play.
What Is MACH?
MACH stands for microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless. This approach focuses on composability and allows organizations to build a complete IT ecosystem piece by piece, to align with business and customer requirements.
The fundamental idea behind MACH architecture is modularity. It lets businesses integrate new technologies without the need for a major re-platforming project. MACH allows retailers to choose the best technology on the market to create the e-commerce ecosystem suited to their needs. In MACH architecture, every element is scalable and replaceable.
Let’s take a closer look at each element of the MACH acronym.
The MACH approach is “microservices-based,“ which implies that individual apps comprising the e-commerce system are separately developed, deployed, and managed. A specific microservice is created to play a particular role, for example, delivering product search reviews, checkouts, wish lists, etc.
All components in the MACH architecture communicate via an application programming interface (API), which enables smooth and fast data flow. API is accountable for transmitting and accepting requests for the required data.
Cloud-native SaaS implies that the end user doesn’t need to worry about development—the SaaS provider does that. This approach doesn’t require installation or maintenance, as updates occur automatically without downtime, sometimes without licensing expenses or other fees. Cloud infrastructure delivers refined scaling abilities to fulfill growth needs when the time comes.
A headless approach is founded on decoupling the front-end and back-end layers of the system. It enables businesses to integrate different solutions to create the right e-commerce stack for them. MACH replaces legacy monolith systems with a headless architecture. There are endless opportunities for personalization and faster time-to-market that come with headless architecture.
How Does MACH Architecture Drive Customer Experience?
MACH architecture allows retailers to implement one change at a time. That means they can address and improve the most significant pain points they have quickly, without needing to do a complete overhaul.
Headless commerce enriches current customer touchpoints with more seamless processes, precise data, and efficient scalability, whether it’s an e-commerce website or a mobile app.
That means a retailer can deliver a more satisfactory customer experience and drive conversion rates and sales. And as a company grows and customer needs shift over time, a headless architecture allows a business to react and adapt to changes quickly, facilitating ease when adding new processes and solutions to further improve the customer experience.
The benefits of the MACH approach are not limited to performance. A decoupled front end makes the user interface layer more flexible, giving marketers, product designers, and front-end developers freedom in the user experience/user interface design.
Today, an omnichannel strategy is essential for business relevancy and scalability. An API-based connection to the back-end layer of the system allows businesses to serve the content through one default channel and distribute it to different devices like desktops, smartphones, wearables, and any “smart” devices.
Microservices divide all business elements into individual micro-apps. Each element can be created, tested, and deployed individually, without causing any disruption to the wider system. When a retailer needs to apply changes to its website, the customer experience stays intact. And a decentralized development process allows a business to experiment with different ideas and implement new functionality for customers quickly.
Coupling microservices with an API-led and cloud-native solution strategy enables companies to be more agile, allowing them to innovate faster and prepare for future market disruptions.
Customer experience plays a crucial part in the success of any e-commerce business. Consumers expect personalized content, lightning-fast performance, and a great mobile experience. MACH architecture allows retailers to build the right set of solutions to satisfy those requirements and keep customers coming back for more.
John Williams is chief technology officer at Amplience. He is responsible for Amplience’s research and development and has a track record of matching technical innovation with business strategy. Williams was previously CTO and head of technology at LBi, the global digital agency, and has an MBA from Imperial College.