Even if you don't have extensive technical knowledge of Application Programming Interfaces or APIs, chances are, you use this technology daily. It's in action every time you share a YouTube video on Facebook, every time you re-tweet a relevant news article on your Twitter account, or every time you send an instant message to a family member recommending a website. And this set of possibilities governed by APIs isn't only limited to the personal stuff. It is also the technology that makes Gmail-linked site logins, PayPal payments, and many other actions possible on e-commerce sites.
Simply put, an API is a set of protocols that allows one application to access the data and features of another app, operating system (OS), or service. Another way to envision an API is a set of "tools" at the disposal of a programmer. That programmer uses the tools to create software allowing two apps to interact with each other in a certain way.
And in what is now a full-fledged digital marketplace for APIs, different APIs are sold as products with their unique capabilities. There are APIs that programmers can use for things like reporting the weather in a locality, for facilitating signups in an online workshop, or simply for helping customers put in orders at their favorite online store.
That last example may appeal to you if you're an e-commerce site owner yourself. Are you wondering in what ways a full API toolkit will benefit your business? Here's an argument, in five parts, for you to implement a complete API toolkit for teams and enterprises, therefore getting the best value out of the software.
1. You have access to the reach and functionality of other applications. This is perhaps the most important argument for investing in APIs: they allow you to sync up with some of the world's biggest and most trusted names in e-commerce for your site's web security, payment options, loyalty management programs, and many more. With this kind of connection through API technology, your site will be able to use this infrastructure to your advantage.
2. You can streamline your catalogue and handle diverse product types. Don't worry if your e-commerce site is starting to grow its offerings and foster more connections with myriad suppliers. APIs can help you sort through the systems in charge of your store's catalogue, categorize products accurately, and minimize order-related bottlenecks.
3. You can provide your customers with a memorable shopping cart experience. Customers are more likely to return to your site if their virtual shopping cart experience was a pleasurable one. An API specially built for your site can enable features like quick checkout, different modes of online payment, and access to special online discounts or reward points.
4. APIs will be a boon to your business analytics. Profit-related functions aren't the only thing that APIs can handle. They can also be extremely helpful to your e-commerce site's business analytics. Many e-commerce sites now use APIs for their business insight, thus obtaining better clarity on their customer reach, their performance, and their readiness to engage upcoming market trends.
5. APIs will help your business stay competitive. There's no doubt that e-commerce itself is a dominant force in today's world, and there are some virtual storefronts that are already outdoing their brick-and-mortar counterparts. But competition between different e-commerce outfits is cutthroat, and customers will go with who's more innovative, efficient, and in with the times. A tailor-made API solution will help your site check off on all of these and stay on top of the game.
In summary, APIs can help an e-commerce site owner like you become a power player in the industry. The answer lies in properly harnessing each app-to-app connection, and then making it an integral part of your business's value.