If you work in the world of eCommerce, chances are you’ve heard of the growing technology trend called MACH, which was pushed into the spotlight in June of 2020 by the creation of the MACH Alliance. So what is MACH really? Should digital retailers consider this a key part of their strategy, or will it disappear in a few years’ time to be replaced by the next hyped-up trend? How does Loop54’s technology fit into the mix?
What is MACH?
Definitions are a good place to start – so what does the acronym stand for? MACH technologies are those that are based on the following criteria: Microservices, API First, Cloud Native, Headless. If you’re not technically inclined, it’s possible that you still have many questions – after all, I just threw many more buzzwords at you. So let’s break it down a bit further with the MACH Alliance’s definition of each, along with the benefits of this approach (for a more detailed explanation, commercetools – one of the founding members of the MACH Alliance - has put together a great overview).
What are microservices, and why are they important?
The MACH Alliance defines microservices as “individual pieces of business functionality that are independently developed, deployed, and managed.” This avoids too many interdependencies between functionalities, making it easier to scale functions and have faster update cycles. When making changes, you only have to do it in one place without considering various dependencies between systems.
What does it mean to be API First, and why is it important?
The MACH Alliance defines API first as “all functionality is exposed through an API,” aka Application Programming Interface. All elements of MACH work together to make the technology more transparent and step away from the traditional “black box” approach. It also gives developers more flexibility to mix and match systems and interfaces based on business requirements.
What does it mean to be cloud native, and why is it important?
The MACH Alliance defines cloud native as “SaaS that leverages the cloud, beyond storage and hosting, including elastic scaling and automatically updating.” This gives the retailer more flexibility to scale and customize their solutions as they see fit to best serve their customers and removes the need for owning and maintaining your own servers.
What does it mean to be headless, and why is it important?
The MACH Alliance defines headless as “front-end presentation is decoupled from back-end logic and channel, programming language, and is framework agnostic.” This allows digital retailers to build their own interfaces as they see fit and additionally integrate further technology in ways that permit greater automation. This can be especially important for larger retailers that have in-house development teams.
The MACH Alliance manifesto is to “future proof enterprise technology and propel current and future digital experiences.” Can’t deny that sounds like a good proposition! This approach is an undeniable benefit for e-commerce businesses that have in-house development teams because it allows for quicker iterations and expanded development opportunities. It also reduces vendor lock-in, making it easier to replace or expand any given functionality as fits the business. With the right resources and a MACH approach, retailers who go the MACH route will secure a prime position in an ever-changing technological world and are well-prepared to capitalize on any and all new market trends that appear.
How does Loop54 fit into MACH? Is MACH here to stay?
Although the MACH Alliance was created in 2020, the general idea of this approach has been around for over a decade. From our start, Loop54 recognized the promise of a MACH foundation and we’ve built our technology in that direction to empower retailers to achieve (or rather, exceed) their goals. A MACH approach is undeniably here to stay and we’re sure to see more and more eCommerce businesses pushing forward in this direction.