Future-Proofing Retail: How MACH and AI are joining forces to revolutionize e-commerce

Future-Proofing Retail: How MACH and AI are joining forces to revolutionize e-commerce
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Greetings, fellow digital connoisseurs! As someone who's navigated the treacherous waters of e-commerce consulting and lived to tell the tale, I bring you a story of the technological marvel reshaping our beloved industry.

Imagine, if you will, a world where online shopping is as personalized as your local barista remembering your coffee order but with none of the awkward small talk. That's the power of MACH architecture teamed up with Generative AI. MACH is the e-commerce infrastructure; you can scale it with massive information when it is in place.

Generative AI is that toolbox that offers so many new possibilities, so it isn't easy to count them. This is how a perfect digital storm is created.

We're now seeing a shift equal to when the Internet came. However, there is a big difference this time. The infrastructure is already in place, and the digital highways are fast today, even in mobile phones. Another difference is the maturity of technology, which has pressured the costs of technology to drop. This enables new business models and actors to enter the market, benefiting you rapidly.

Understanding MACH Architecture

The cool and hyped word MACH that drives our thoughts to Maverick in Top Gun, pressuring the supersonic speed at all altitudes, stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless.

This architecture is not your grandparent's e-commerce solution. It's the Swiss Army knife of digital commerce, bringing flexibility, scalability, and the resilience of a handsome cockroach in a post-apocalyptic world.

Imagine breaking free from the shackles of bulky, monolithic systems that move slower than a snail on a leisurely stroll. The reason behind the need for MACH beyond the obvious ones, like being in the cloud 2024, is that customer journeys are more nuanced and can also be more varied today, like a puzzle or mosaic rather than a linear line.

In the book Backstage Commerce, there are examples and models around this. One model is to look at different stages of the customer journey and then connect this to actions and scenarios to see what touch points and components are affected or missing.

If the architecture is old, not modern APIs, and maybe even poorly documented, it might be difficult or costly to build what you need. Therefore, the business case might also be challenging to motivate.

However, if the cost were lower, there would be an easy decision to introduce new functionality.

Bengt Wessborg - Table

The Role of Generative AI in E-commerce

Now, entering the golden age of Generative AI – the secret sauce. It's like having a team of hyper-intelligent elves that anticipate your customers' every whim, providing real-time, dynamic content that's as engaging as a binge-worthy Netflix series.

From predicting what customers want before they know they want it to creating chatbot conversations smoother than a buttered slip-and-slide, AI is the new MVP of e-commerce. Especially when you can shop around like on Temu with your new Freemium AI solutions online or at Hugging Face - you can even run most of them with a Hotmail at little or no cost.

These solutions are still often very niche. Unfortunately, you also need a lot of AI components to add to your tech stack. Even if they are free, you know they won't be forever since a free lunch often comes with a bill. You must also integrate and maintain this new landscape of cool solutions.

Bengt Wessborg - Chart

Nevertheless, I might not know precisely what shiny use cases you need or could even use today. Still, I do know that experimenting leads to innovation, and many experiments and innovations lead to some of the innovations that can deliver more complex tasks. There will also be many new solutions in total, which increases the chances of amazing success.

We all want to wear sunglasses, not only to be protected from the sun but also because our future looks so bright!

Today's low-hanging fruits in e-commerce are customer service, content, product information, coding, marketing, SEO, personalization, and search, to mention a few areas - or components.

Synergy of Generative AI and MACH Architecture

When you marry MACH and AI, you get a powerhouse duo. Think Batman and Robin, but for digital commerce. AI supercharges each microservice within MACH, from inventory predictions that would make Nostradamus jealous to chatbots with the charm of a suave diplomat. The API-first approach in MACH makes integrating these AI tools a breeze, like fitting LEGO pieces together – if the LEGO pieces were smart enough to self-assemble. And if the Lego pieces were of the same brand!

(As a child, I had some fake Legos that didn't fit my real ones. It was frustrating when I had to glue it together or just live as a frustrated kid with the pieces apart.)

Soon, you will find AI everywhere, from inside tools in Social Media such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram to Marketplaces and even inside your e-commerce solutions. These will integrate with external niche solutions, and many will be AI-powered. You will also want to code with AI and other modern tools to be more efficient and use integrations as a service or self-coding agent between amazing APIs.

In this world of possibilities, I guess very few want to limit themselves to the rising opportunities already showering over us like a tide. In the book Backstage Commerce, deep dives guide you on finding shiny use cases for your business. And actually, there is also guidance around how to think when you select an e-commerce platform.

Real-World Applications and Benefits

In the trenches of the e-commerce battlefield, the dynamic duo of MACH and AI translates to Future-Proofed E-commerce.

Adopting MACH with a side of AI is like giving your e-commerce platform a first-class ticket to the future. You're not just keeping up with the times; you're setting up camp and roasting marshmallows at the forefront of digital innovation. This might sound like science fiction, but not everything is as great and easy as it sounds.

But this is an article about new possibilities to inspire you in this abstract and complex field. Things are actually getting better. Technology is far more accessible than ten or even five years ago. That is why new competitors will enter the market and leapfrog the competition. This means they can jump over technical shifts, jump right into modern things, and create amazing products - often at radically lower costs, both in the building and maintenance phases. More money can go into the expensive and ever-changing fields of sales, marketing, and product development. And experiments with new components.

Conclusion: Underestimating the wind of change

In conclusion, dear readers and e-commerce fans, the fusion of MACH architecture and Generative AI isn't just a fleeting trend; it's the evolution of e-commerce as we know it. For businesses that want to ride the wave like in Point Break of the Future without wiping out, it's time to embrace this technological synergy.

After all, in the world of e-commerce, standing still is the fastest way to get left behind.

Did you know that the power of AI grows more than five times faster in speed than Moore's law? The capacity of AI doubles every 3,4 months. This gives x16 per year if we look at the classic model Rogers adoption and innovation curve where different technology advancements boost innovation.

If e-commerce was the first technological wave, and MACH could be considered together with 5G as the second technology wave, then Generative AI is the third wave. They accelerate each other, and since AI grows faster than we are used to, it leads to us getting behind the innovation potential. This, in turn, leads to higher and higher product performance per time unit or engineering effort. Meaning you can launch things faster.

  • No more overstocking winter coats in a heatwave, thanks to AI-driven inventory management
  • Chatbots so intuitive, that they could replace your therapist.
  • Fraud detection that's more Sherlock Holmes than Inspector Clouseau
  • Content production that's instant, so you have a problem keeping up the speed of Okay-ing everything

Building your own e-commerce ecosystem will be like building a house where everything you buy could be a suitable building block, even without measuring anything - to a lower cost.

So, if you feel a little bit stressed about not knowing so much about AI, your gut feeling is right. You should probably look into it. The same goes for MACH, in my opinion.

Bengt Wessborg - Chart 2

Bill Gates recently said that Generative AI is the biggest innovation we will see in our lifetimes. He is probably right. Brink Commerce is maybe not that. But when you see a demo by Brink, its close enough!

My name is Bengt Wessborg. I just released a strategy book on Amazon named Backstage Commerce - How to be Successful Like a Rockstar with Your E-commerce Business. I partner with Brink Commerce at the e-commerce & AI agency Ghostar.

I also run video AI news on LinkedIn if you want more inspiration around new and sometimes nerdy possibilities. Get in touch with me at bengt@ghostar.se.

Bengt Wessborg - Breaking bad model

In the photo above, you can see the Breaking Bad model, part of the Breaking the Law Diamond model. Check it out to learn more.

Bengt Wessborg
Bengt Wessborg

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