Modernizing retail systems through composable and MACH architectures to deliver personalized shopping experiences and meet customer expectations.

In the wake of the Pandemic bricks and mortar is back front and centre of customers minds, but with that, their expectations of in store experience has also shifted. Retailers need to consider how technology can drive loyalty and deliver more personalised shopping experiences across customer touch points to meet these expectations.

When looking at modernising the systems of retailers, a key trend is composable or MACH architectures.

MACH Architecture enables retailers to provide a consistent and personalized shopping experience across all channels, securely collect and analyse customer data, and improve brand loyalty.

MACH architecture refers to a modern and flexible approach to building software systems that are composed of microservices, cloud-native SaaS, API-first, and headless. It offers a new way of thinking about your software stack that focuses on the following key areas to meet the ever-changing needs of customers:

  • Flexibility

Retailers can develop and deploy applications faster and more efficiently. The MACH approach leverages the power of cloud to provide on-demand resources, enabling retailers to scale up or down depending on their needs. This agility and flexibility enable retailers to respond quickly to market changes, ensuring that they stay ahead of the competition.

  • Scalability

This approach is designed to be scalable, which means it can handle large volumes of traffic and transactions. This is particularly critical where retailers need to handle high volumes of online traffic and transactions during peak shopping periods.

  • Modularity

Unifying your touch points within omnichannel enables retailers to provide a seamless and personalised experience to their customers. The decoupling of the front-end interface from the back-end services allows retailers to deliver content and services to different channels through APIs. This approach can provide customers with a consistent experience across all channels and allows retailers to securely collect and analyse customer data, providing insights into their preferences and behaviour improving overall customer experiences and brand loyalty.

Moving forward a change in mindset is required as there is no all in one platform. However, not being tied to a single software vendor empowers retailers to choose the platforms that will best deliver on their required capabilities. This is a similar concept seen in the cybersecurity space where organisations adopt a cybersecurity mesh approach using best of breed technologies where possible.

Breaking down an old monolithic system can be daunting, but moving to this approach will mean there should never be the need for a large-scale change or re-platforming in the future. When you need to add new functions or services it’s much more of a plug and play approach. While, if something is no longer serving its purpose or becomes too costly it can be offloaded with minimal, if any disruption to other services.

This is a journey, a marathon not a sprint, and your organisation needs to be ready and prepared for it. Consider how digitally mature you are and do you have the right multidisciplinary teams setup to support the approach. Look at multiple vendors, getting hands on with the solution where possible, and read the documentation for any APIs and SDKs. Ultimately stay focused on the outcome you’re trying to achieve and the experience it will deliver.

Predicting the future is hard… Nobody knows what the next big customer touch point will be, but having the agility to be able to adopt and integrate it at pace, can give you the edge against the competition and remain relevant to your customers.

Transitioning to MACH Architecture may seem daunting, but it empowers retailers to choose the best platforms and enables faster deployment of applications, scalability, and modularity.

To find out more about CDW and the services they provide to the retail industry, click here.

This article was also published in The Retailer, our quarterly online magazine providing thought-leading insights from BRC experts and Associate Members.