BigCommerce and the MACH Architecture

As companies enable digital transformation, there's been an increase for products and services. That has opened up opportunities for brands to make their product catalog available to customers using an eCommerce platform.

In November 2020, BigCommerce, one of the leading commercial SaaS eCommerce platforms for small and mid-sized businesses, announced they are joining the MACH Alliance, a group of independent tech companies that advocates for a competitive, secure and open technological ecosystem.

With this association, BigCommerce aims to promote and advance digital experiences and technologies through the MACH architecture.

In this article, you'll learn about BigCommerce and how it leverages and promotes MACH to accelerate digital transformation in eCommerce.

What is MACH Architecture?

MACH architecture is a set of modern principles on delivering best-in-class platforms and tech stacks. This approach emphasizes four main concepts that provide the basis for the acronym:

  • Microservices
  • API-first
  • Cloud-native
  • Headless Architecture

Most traditional eCommerce platforms rely on monolithic architectures as one large interdependent and interconnected set of services and components. The MACH platform uses a modular, component-based approach for connecting multiple services and applications that run independently in the cloud.

Let's examine each of these MACH concepts in detail.

Microservices

Microservice architecture is a modular approach to developing components and services that are entirely independent of one another. Microservices enable you to build and connect your app against multiple touchpoints.

Traditional eCommerce platforms are monolithic, meaning they are centralized multipurpose systems with rich features to meet user needs. In the past, that was enough. However, as the demands of the consumers evolve, these systems can limit growth and are hard to scale.

Conversely, microservices provide businesses with a decentralized architecture that separates business needs into multiple, interconnected services.

Benefits of Microservices

  • Cost-effective: Since you can scale microservices independently, it becomes easier to optimize the infrastructure cost of each commerce service.
  • Composable: You can add or remove microservices without affecting the functionality of other microservices.
  • Highly available: Failures in one microservice won't affect the other microservices because they are isolated.
  • Scalable: Since you can change any microservice as you wish, it's easier to scale up or scale down your architecture employing best-of-breed technologies in the process.

API-first

Through an API-first approach, organizations can build technology stacks that are more scalable, robust, and better control the entire eCommerce process. It enables you to communicate with any app or service through the use of APIs.

Benefits of API-first Approach

  • Flexibility: It gives you the freedom to select and connect with any frontend framework you desire to deliver a better service or experience.
  • Faster application development: Boost eCommerce API capabilities and implement new touchpoints rather than building custom solutions from scratch.

Cloud-native

The cloud-native approach in eCommerce relates to a service or functionality delivered within a SaaS model. In that way, you can automatically scale or increase capacity on-demand without having to maintain your own on-premise infrastructure.

Benefits of Cloud-native applications

  • On-demand: New services can be spun up instantly via the SaaS model without complex installation and maintenance procedures.
  • Scalability: With a public cloud, it's easy to scale up to meet peak demand and long-term business growth.
  • Reliability: With multiple availability zones and data centers, cloud-native solutions can help enterprises maximize up-time and minimize business risks.

Headless

A headless commerce architecture enables you to decouple the frontend of an app from the backend eCommerce service. That way, you can build omnichannel experiences across several digital  and traditional retail channels.

Unlike traditional eCommerce architectural approaches that restrict you to a single platform, framework, or language, a headless architecture enables you to connect eCommerce backend functionality to modern innovative, engaging digital experiences. There are several traditional eCommerce pain points that headless commerce helps to solve.

In that regard, an eCommerce platform provides you with security and fraud management, PCI compliance, and inventory management while enabling connections to other crucial services such as ERPs and POS.

Benefits of a Headless Architecture

  • Omnichannel experiences: Deliver eCommerce content and solutions globally and to any device while leveraging unified business logic.
  • Flexibility: As a frontend agnostic technology, you have the freedom to build apps with any framework or language without having to worry about vendor limitations or lock-in.
  • New, innovative business models: You can implement new business models or strategies across new sales channels such as IoT-enabled devices or AR/VR to drive revenue growth.

Learn More: How to Choose a Headless Commerce Platform

MACH Alliance Objectives

The MACH Alliance is an organization that advocates for open tech ecosystems that are microservices-driven, API-first, cloud-native, and headless. Some of its founding members include Commercetools, Contentstack, EPAM Systems, and Valtech. As shown on their website, the MACH Alliance manifesto includes:

  1. Sharing technical knowledge about MACH and why and when it is better than what an integrated suite can offer.
  2. Creating best practices that show organizations how to transition to a MACH architecture by leveraging case studies and peer-to-peer networking between organizations planning to make the transition and those that already have.
  3. Listing and explaining selection criteria for enterprises, such as what to ask for when RFP'ing best-of-breed tech vendors and what criteria to use during the selection process. This information will be provided in the form of white papers, events, articles, and more.
  4. Publishing technical documentation, such as architectural blueprints and other technical content, demonstrating how to integrate MACH technologies.
  5. Organizing and hosting MACH Alliance events and serving as a collective resource at key events to demonstrate and educate the industry on the benefits of adopting a MACH-compliant architecture.

BigCommerce: MACH-Aligned eCommerce Development

BigCommerce is a commercial SaaS eCommerce platform that enables merchants to create scalable, content-rich digital experiences through a headless approach. With Platform APIs, you can securely access data and business logic to connect with third-party integrations, mobile apps, CMS, or a DXP frontend to deliver a headless storefront.

BigCommerce is a member of the MACH Alliance, helping to promote MACH as the modern architecture standard. As the vice president of MACH Alliance, Sonja Kotrotsos, explains:

"BigCommerce has a clear commitment to a better way forward for IT architecture that is open and composable. That vision, which defines their own approach, is exactly where the MACH Alliance sees the future of technology heading. It is this kind of set-up that will drive the new era of tech, and it's with great excitement that we welcome BigCommerce on board to the Alliance so we can advocate for this future-proof approach together."

A traditional monolithic eCommerce system cannot provide every business with the perfect set of capabilities, just as not every sofa fits perfectly into every home. Now, businesses are in a position to find the best solutions in a rapidly changing tech ecosystem.

With BigCommerce, you can enable composable commerce, giving you the flexibility to adapt and implement best-in-breed solutions in your tech stack. The term 'composable commerce' was coined by Gartner to describe a modular and flexible approach to digital commerce. With this modular approach, organizations can choose the most suitable solution for their specific business needs and build a customized tech stack.

Read More: 9 Headless CMS that are ideal for headless Commerce

Deliver Composable Commerce with Salsita

The eCommerce industry continues to experience significant growth and advancements in all areas. More businesses are launching their digital brands, products, and services. To sufficiently scale and deliver the best eCommerce experience, they need the flexibility & open ecosystem to meet business needs. BigCommerce and MACH are ideal solutions to meet these needs.

Salsita is a digital product and software development agency committed to delivering exceptional web and mobile product solutions that enable our clients to grow their businesses. Salsita is a reliable partner that can help deliver innovative shopping experiences on top of BigCommerce.
We offer design-driven development & services that span the entire software development lifecycle. Read more here: eCommerce – Salsita Software.

About Salsita

Salsita Software is a web and mobile app agency specializing in compelling frontend experiences. We focus on eCommerce frontends including 3D product configurators.