Unleash New Abundance for E-commerce with
Learn how MACH-X enables new microservices based architecture with reduced IT, human labor and technology cost for your business
In today’s economic climate, achieving more with less is even more important. Digital leaders are pressed to keep companies growing despite tighter budgets, smaller teams, supply chain factors and shifting customer behavior.
Can resource constraints be turned into opportunities? The Boston Consulting Group posits a new abundance can emerge from “more integrated approaches to sustainability, new types of resource efficiency, and innovation around new inputs.”
The full BCG article is well worth a read – but some key takeaways are particularly applicable to digital leaders using MACH technology for composable commerce. Let’s unpack them.
1. Innovate for growth
“A stagnating industry or economy is not a death sentence for an individual company. If you can’t find growth passively, make it happen. To that end, innovate to defy the industry average growth rate. In scarcity-constrained, low-growth environments, innovation becomes more important as companies compete more viciously for limited resources. By creating offerings using new inputs and business models, innovators can find reprieve and new abundance.”
The term “innovation” often suggests avant garde projects based on visionary ideas, typically requiring larger capital investments in new technologies and even hardware, especially when legacy enterprise systems are siloed, and new tech is required to support new experiences.
MACH architecture enables you to innovate much faster, with a more iterative approach. You can extend existing capabilities into new touchpoints, reconfigure business logic in the API layer, and build new microservices to work seamlessly with what you already have. It allows you to add new inputs and explore new business models with minimal expenditure and risk.
2. Practice disciplined innovation
“Continued evolution in technology, shifting economics of input resources, and demands for more sustainable business models require innovation at the very same time that an elevated cost of capital makes it more expensive. A new, more disciplined approach to innovation is therefore necessary.”
MACH decoupled architecture enables you to add capabilities, test and improve (or remove) new features without impacting other systems and services. In other words, you can “fail faster” at a much lower cost and achieve more with smaller teams.
The ability to bridge experiences, content and data across digital and physical channels with microservices also allows disciplined innovators to “trade down” from large, big bang projects like magic mirror installations, digital signage or self-checkout kiosks in store, to leverage the native capabilities of mobile phones, such as WebAR and mobile scan-and-go.
3. Build sustainable business models
“Business leaders must reinvent business models so that companies can thrive even as consumers and governments become more concerned with preventing degradation to the planetary systems that support life.”
MACH enables merchants to bake new models directly into digital and physical channels, sharing capabilities (such as cart, checkout, account and loyalty) while configuring unique business rules around pricing, discounts, shipping, inventory, and even product data and attributes.
For example, retailers and CPGs like Patagonia, Allbirds and Carhartt are embracing re-commerce, adding capabilities for customers to buy and sell used goods through the brand’s website. This trend allows a brand to capture traffic and community that would typically happen through a third-party marketplace like eBay, Poshmark or Mercari. It also unlocks a way to resell returned merchandise not fit for full price resale.
Hosting a re-commerce channel can also help brands collect more valuable first party customer data that can be used for omnichannel personalization, customer lifestyle planning, digital merchandising and even product development.
Retailers are also using MACH to add service and event bookings through their websites and IoT products. For example, Lululemon Studio offers digital fitness classes through its smart Mirror product and has partnered with local fitness studios on a revenue-share model.
“It may seem counterintuitive, but times of economic uncertainty are exactly when companies should be exploring the power of transformation to strengthen their capabilities and performance.” – Kristy Ellmer, BCG
How MACH-X unlocks new abundance
Our recent Digital Commerce Radar 2023 report uncovered that 51% of the 2,500+ global digital commerce practitioners surveyed have already implemented some degree of MACH solution, and an additional 46% plan to adopt MACH by the end of 2024.
But despite MACH’s promise of faster feature delivery and the potential to reduce IT overhead, simply adopting MACH is not correlated with stronger business performance. In fact, businesses with customized, home-grown monoliths showed a higher propensity for reaching the top quartile of performers.
Our analysts found that investment in key business capabilities was the differentiator between companies that simply adopted MACH and companies that achieved strong business performance. And to provide the foundation for innovation and new feature delivery, MACH needs to be flexible enough to support the unique customizations and requirements of an innovative and progressive enterprise (aka MACH-X – MACH with eXtensibility).
Learn about the 38 key digital commerce capabilities that drive business performance in the Digital Commerce Radar 2023.
Leveraging MACH-X for Innovative Cost Control
MACH-X architecture enables you to extend existing capabilities into new touchpoints and reconfigure business logic in the API layer, and build new microservices to work seamlessly with what you already have. MACH-X not only helps you add innovative customer experiences, it can also be used to improve operations and internal efficiency.
1. Reducing IT Costs
When using MACH-X to replace heavy legacy systems, you can make more efficient use of cloud resources, reduce development costs, and gain faster time-to-market. Integration costs are significantly lower when working with interoperable microservices. You can also automate IT workflows including CI/CD pipelines, testing and monitoring.
2. Reducing Human Labor Costs
MACH-driven automation helps more than just IT workflows. For example, a MACH-X framework can be used to create an automated workflow between your various sales channels, your order management system and your warehouse or fulfillment center. APIs manage the communications between your ERP, inventory management systems and shipping providers.
MACH-X can also be applied to many customer service functions. For example, workflows can be built between customer requests and tickets across communication channels (including social platforms), and route messages between chatbots and humans, and determine which tickets need prioritization or escalation.
It can also be leveraged in back-office tools to streamline how business users do their daily work. Rather than log into several systems to administer site content, manage the catalog, apply merchandising rules, and configure promotions, all systems can feed into a unified console.
3. Reducing Technology Spend
Composable commerce enables you to swap in and swap out components as desired, over time. This enables you to optimize spend across your ecosystem, as you’re never locked into specific vendors. In many cases, you can replace reliance on third party vendors by building your own microservices that do exactly what you need, rather than pay for features within packaged offerings you don’t need.
Because headless microservices can hook into many legacy systems, you can also delay a full rip-and-replace and extend the life of your legacy if you need short term capabilities today, when budgets are squeezed.
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