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MACH architecture is getting a lot of buzz in the retail industry thanks to its flexible and agile approach that helps retailers meet changing customer needs and navigate the market.
The MACH Alliance holds industry events to advocate frontier practices and technologies to the enterprise. The latest MACH Haus NY 2023 brought together experts, market leaders, and retailers to discuss the latest trends and challenges in the MACH world.
In this article, we'll share the top five takeaways from MACH Haus NY 2023.
Customer-centric development drives innovation
MACH architecture is customer-centric, which opens up many opportunities for retailers. The composable approach provides a modular and flexible design that enables retailers to stay relevant to their customers and respond quickly to changing market trends.
Typical innovation framework starts with the customer's desire.
— Mark Reisler, Senior Director, Portfolio Management, Pivotree
Identifying customer pains and needs allows companies to leverage the agility of MACH tech at their disposal and gain a significant competitive edge. It's easy to get lost in many solutions the composable commerce offers, but keeping the customer in mind helps tailor the product in the right direction.
Combining the focus on user experience with the agility of MACH also opens up possibilities for creating new business models as we go. Breaking down user experiences, talking to customers, and mapping out these patterns bring retailers to a point where they can explore new channels and alternative sources of revenue while staying relevant to their customers.
Testing theories and ideas open new horizons
With MACH comes agility. Many enterprises turn to composable to be able to test out theories and explore more freely without the risk of breaking down their entire tech stack. Retailers can validate their assumptions and ensure that their strategies are effective — and they can do it faster than ever.
Don't fear failure. Failure is learning. Learn, move on, do the next thing.
— Dan Martino, VP at TA.Digital
There's no one-size-fits-all solution on the market, so testing hypotheses is crucial for every company. As the industry relies heavily on data, testing the waters for feedback helps optimize the next step, whether it's investing in a new channel or trying a different personalization angle.
Companies can now finally try things fast, and this speed is super exciting. New frontiers really do open for the companies that embrace it.
— Gordana Vuckovic, CRO, Vue Storefront
MACH also allows companies to test their theories and ideas much faster. In more outdated monolithic products, implementing an idea that a marketing or an eCommerce department came up with would inevitably face IT limitations. Unlike monolith , the composable architecture enables companies to push the limits and explore new boundaries — both tech and idea-wise.
Best-in-breed tech is a baseline
Tech solutions remain a crucial part of efficient MACH architecture. The overarching idea of MACH is based on using multiple independent systems that work together to deliver a seamless customer experience.
The quality of your code is very important. Developers who implement a tech vendor's solution have to be able to make sense of it. Otherwise, your agility goes the other direction.
— Nilay Oza, CEO & Co-Founder Klevu
Every LEGO block of composable architecture is a) fully independent and replaceable and b) relatively easy to integrate. Having best-in-breed technology ensures that each of these individual tech pieces is optimized and integrates seamlessly with other solutions in the system.
The quality of tech solutions is also a competitive advantage. When customers are free to choose their vendors, it puts additional pressure on the tech products to stand out and prove their value.
AI is taking the stage
AI and machine learning popped up in numerous panels at MACH Haus NY 2023, and rightfully so. Successful modern retail goes hand-in-hand with cutting-edge technologies to stay agile and flexible, and AI is aiding retailers in more than one field.
I think we'll see more AI as we really try to hone the customer experience and be relevant at the right place at the right time.
— Gordana Vuckovic, CRO, Vue Storefront
More and more AI tools are helping retailers in terms of content creation, personalization, and recommendations. Gradually, marketers integrate AI and machine learning tools into consumers' everyday experiences. With more data gathered, the possibilities for personalization multiply, bringing retailers closer to the desired relevance than ever before. AI also assists retailers in accelerating and scaling their content efforts.
And although AI and data gathering do raise some ethical questions, as Mark Reisler from Pivotree mentioned, it is becoming if not a new necessity then at least a widespread norm.
Community makes the difference
At the talk "Go fearlessly into the life after the monolith," Chris McCann (Contentstack), Dan Jacobs (Actindo AG), and Gordana Vuckovic (Vue Storefront) concluded that being a part of the MACH community solves not only vendor problems, but also client doubts.
One of the enterprises' common concerns in MACH implementation is who to call with a problem if there are multiple vendors connected through APIs. With more traditional software, there's one vendor to locate and resolve the problem. But a distributed MACH architecture requires a different approach.
"If something were to happen to Actindo or Vue Storefront, or Contentstack, if there's an API misfiring, our teams would support each other."
— Chris McCann, Regional Head of Sales, Contentstack
Being an advocate for open and best-of-breed technologies, MACH Alliance helps tech vendors stay in touch. It drives the technologists to provide better solutions and ensures that they collaborate for the client's benefit despite being independent companies. So it's not only about being a part of the tech club but about quality assurance.
As MACH continues to gain momentum in the retail industry, a tailor-made customer experience remains the golden prize. Despite the economically challenging times, more companies see MACH transformation as an opportunity rather than a sole risk and use the new philosophy to stay competitive and agile.
Watch the full recording of the "Go Fearlessly Into Life After the Monolith" session at MACH Haus NY 2023:
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