MKM Building Supplies (MKM) is a leading building supplies merchant with over 100 independent branches in the UK. Operating primarily in the B2B market and expanding its B2C footprint in the booming DIYer market, the company had developed complex business rules around customer-specific price terms, decentralised management of stock and local delivery zones that needed to be at the core of their commerce architecture when tackling their Replatforming to BigCommerce.
MKM’s unique DNA is built around branch autonomy which translates in a local-first experience online and in-store. For this project, this presented several technical and UI challenges that needed to be addressed to ensure seamless digital journeys and customer experience are delivered and achieved by appropriate data integration flows across the business.
To build a stable, scalable, secure and flexible platform, delivering a first-class digital purchasing experience for new and existing MKM customers, with key focus on integration and supporting local stock and pricing. Provide guidance and consideration of a technology roadmap that has a headless (microservice) architecture as an end-state goal. Provide easy and effective tooling to allow the MKM business team to run the platform day-to-day and, over time, facilitate training and support to allow technical ownership.
HOW WE DID IT
Given the high complexity of the composable architecture and evolving technical landscape, such as third-party plugins, payment and CMS connectors, that were key dependencies for our development and only due to launch mid-project. We embarked on a hybrid Agile approach where the high level requirements and technical architecture were identified in an early discovery phase, prior to shifting the project in a scrum cadence of work. Where the Brave Bison engineers and solution experts would collaborate on a daily basis with the MKM product and creative teams to refine the project backlog throughout the entire duration of the implementation phase.
This approach allowed us to address all the project unknowns and provide a high level of adaptation and flexibility. Making this project a success in migrating MKM to their new architecture, in less than a year.
The new headless architecture for the MKM website was built around 4 key components:
The BigCommerce platform
which powered the eCommerce capabilities of the site thanks to BigCommerce’s API-first Commerce engine and PCI secure Checkout application.
The VueStorefront front-end
as a service which provided the presentation layer for the whole commerce journey prior to the checkout.
The Bloomreach Suite
which delivered the CMS, Search & Merch and Email capabilities for the commerce solution as part of its headless experience cloud services.
A Middleware layer
which tied all the systems together and powered several bespoke engines catering for MKM’s unique business rules and processes.
Using a composable architecture of best of breed systems allowed MKM to move its operations to Cloud services without having to compromise on its unique business identity or having to limit its commercial offer and user experience. For the future, MKM will not be tied to a monolithic application suite, reducing the cost and risk of system dependency, while potentially unlocking opportunities to expand to new experiences and channels.