Competitive businesses use API’s to manage user behavior and manage their data flow. Application Programming Interfaces, or better known as the acronym APIs, are set of protocols that define methods of communication between computers. The data transferred via an API can be visualized in a practical business format and used to improve the sales for your online business. API’s are all about the concept of operating under the agreement of inputs and outputs, a sort of gate that allows companies to share certain selected information. Many companies will offer free public API’s in hopes that developers will use them to build different platforms. There are many API’s that are not considered public API and only offered from software companies. API’s function according to Adwrite, “are exposing some of a programs internal functions to the outside world in a limited fashion.” Researchers Souza and Redmiles says that application programming interfaces are successful at creating and supporting collaboration between different stakeholders and redefining organizational boundaries (2004). Understanding user behavior across multiple devices and platforms allows etailers to create a more personalized shopping experience for their customers. The more personalized the shopping experience the higher chance a user will become a loyal customer and make purchases in the future.
We will review five different API use cases that could impact the efficiency of your website and your relationship to your customer. These are some of the most important ways API’s are being used to streamline information and functions. I will review Accessing Product Information through API’s, Social Proof API’s, Site Search API’s, Personalization, and Shipping API’s. These are five API’s are just a small glimpse into the expansive network of different API’s being used by business to streamline the process.
Accessing Product Information through API’s
One of the most powerful uses of an API’s, in our opinion, connects your ecommerce admin to a large, established products database. Connecting to a product data supplier allows you to populate your site with up to hundreds of thousands of product as frequently as your hardware will allow. Although access to such content is not cheap, but this speeds up the process in terms of populating your website. Offering products faster, creates a better opportunity to capture sales. A variation of this process allows you to connect your site or ERP to match your products to products listed on Amazon allow you to populate your Amazon seller account with thousands of products.
Social Proof API’s
One of the most important things you can do for your website is to have social proof that your customers are buying and enjoying your products. According to programmableweb.com Facebook is the most popular social media API and has kept a reasonably organized framework. Researchers use social network API’s to conduct social scientific researcher on user behavior. Instagram is one of the most closed API networks, for example they don’t allow third party posting to be done and scheduled ahead of time. One fantastic thing that a lot of people are doing is connecting their social networking sites and using the API to show their social feeds directly on their websites. All major social networking sites use API’s, which you aren’t allowed to duplicate them, but you are allowed to use them to improve your experience. This allows your current customers who already visit your website to connect in more ways than just your website. A lot of companies also rely on third party social API’s such as Hootsuite, to publish many social posts at one time. Having your social proof located on your website can be an excellent resource for connecting and engaging with your customers who are visiting your website directly.
Site Search API
Providing a really excellent tool for your customers to be able to find all the products they are looking for is super important on your website. I like to think of a Site Search API as being your websites reference librarian, which will hopefully send you to the correct row of stacks to find the information you are looking for. a site search API can make your life a bit easier, for example when you are searching to compile flight data information for the cheapest flight comparison. Being able to find categories and then filter information quickly will help your customers find products that may be more detailed or particular. The harder it is for your clients to find your products the more likely they are going to give up on finding particular products they are interested in. Remember that your online store doesn’t have any attendants that will help your customers find the products that are right for them, so using a site search API helps mitigate that problem and helps the data flow in terms of retrieving more granular queries.
Personalization API/ Content API
A personalization API or a content API can help your company organize content based on your websites visitor’s previous visits and their buying history. Furthermore, you also use a personalization API based on your customer’s interests on other web content and social media behavior. This particular API uses an algorithm to reorder your websites content to your customer’s behavior on Google, Facebook, etc. Customers who receive personalized content are going to be receiving content that they already maybe considering buying. This happens quite often to customers when they are visiting Amazon.com. They are being shown content on the website from the previous shopping purchase or visit. This is can be effective in helping customers remember what they were shopping for previously.
Companies who use drop shipping as their method of delivery for their business model can also use an API to automate shipping processes. This API will notify a certain product to leave the warehouse and then be sent right to your customer. Furthermore, this API will allow your company and your customer to track the shipment until it has reached the final destination. This feature allows you to ease your customers mind about when a product will arrive at their front door. This can be effective in completing a sale because the customer can gage how long it will take to get to them. All of the major mail and package transporters are using shipping API’s to provide different rates, print labels, and complete any mailing needs. Companies such as UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL are using these API’s to expand their shipping capabilities, for example they can provide international shipments and shipping insurance. Ecommerce companies are using the shipping API to become more reliable in their customers.
According to Dave Roos, the goal while using an API is making the software interaction as seamless as possible so that the user does not even notice multiple API’s are working together on one interface. Streamlining the process for your customers can really help in getting your customers to complete a purchase. With so much competition on the market it can become difficult for smaller eCommerce companies to get customers to complete a purchase. So using API in these new innovative ways could make a difference with your eCommerce business and the number of sales you are completing.
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