What is headless commerce?
Headless commerce is essentially the separation between the front end and back end of an eCommerce application. It allows retailers to build what they want, when they want it – reacting to consumer behaviour or supply chain challenges by creating new experiences and introducing new functionality.
Successful headless commerce hinges on retailers being able to access technologies that are truly flexible, which is why the MACH Alliance has been formed.
MACH, in their own words, is a “not-for-profit industry body that advocates for open and best-of-breed enterprise technology ecosystems”. Its aim is to educate and support the retail industry as it moves away from legacy systems to the next generation of more flexible, interactive platforms and systems. To achieve MACH standard, technology must be: Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless. It essentially needs to be composable: giving that flexibility to build, as we mentioned earlier, what you want and when you (or your consumers) want it.
Where does PIM come into it?
Product information Management (PIM) is a critical part of any data-driven future for retail: it is, after all, the source of all of your product data. For headless front-end functions to succeed, every channel needs to be able to source accurate, up to date and ultimately reliable product data.
The question is, do PIM systems themselves need to meet MACH alliance principles?
Do you need to choose a PIM with MACH principles?
It can be a tricky subject for retailers when choosing their PIM technology. On one hand, the MACH alliance states that: “a product information management system based on MACH architecture fits other best-of-breed solutions like headless CMS, ERP, or DAM and can work with them within a composable ecosystem. With its help, enterprises can create a future-proof, scalable, and open digital stack.”
On the other hand, how composable does PIM itself really need to be? PIM, or any data management platform, essentially provides the foundation of your data strategy. It’s the solid groundwork that you can build your innovation on, but whether it needs the potential for innovation that composable architecture brings is another question entirely.