Most retailers have discovered that they need to meet increasing consumer expectations and create personalized shopping experiences across web and mobile channels in order to drive engagement and, ultimately, conversions. That’s why retailers need to consider an API strategy for retail to enable the development and management of full-featured applications for customers, partners, and vendors.
Open API allows retailers to open their inventory and data to the whole world. Anybody can become an affiliate and query any of the products retailer has in its catalog – provided that retailer shares its API key.
So when you shop online, you are using multiple APIs simultaneously. When you search for an item, you are using the catalog and inventory APIs. If you scroll down on that page, you see “items you may like” thanks to the recommendations API.
When you click “place an order,” you use the order submissions API, which uses a geographical API in conjunction with a courier service’s API to calculate your shipping fees. When you enter your payment information you use a payment API which communicates with your credit card company to check for sufficient funds. All of this happens in near real time.
Without retail APIs, online shopping would not be the seamless transaction it is today. The APIs work together as an ecosystem to deliver the “point-click-order” process we have grown so accustomed to today.
For a digitally enabled retail business, below could be some of the key drivers
— Stay where your customers are Major platform players like Amazon is threatening established retail businesses. Customer satisfaction and engagement has become critical.
— Web commerce morphs into app commerce which includes Web apps, native smartphone apps, tablet apps, and retail kiosk apps.
— Push notifications and social messaging is becoming key to communication over emails.
— Linking in-store customer experience to the digital life of the customer When customers come into the store, their online shopping list will be set aside.
— Creating direct connections and customer loyalty Improve customer loyalty with personalized and customized experiences.
— Real time information frequent stock, price, and promotion data available consistently across all channels, applications, distributed retail store.
How do you identify APIs for Retail
— Product catalog & advertisement APIs – Sell and allow advertisement of product in 3rd party websites, mobile apps.
Special Offers API – Provides access to latest offers and promotions.
— Order tracking APIs – Delegate shipment and delivery to 3rd party couriers e.g. AustPost and Fastway. Create seamless APIs for multiple channels i.e. Web, Mobile and Partners.
— Store APIs – Address, geo-location, store hours and phone numbers.
— Commerce APIs – Provides seamless purchasing and product fulfillment through at- home delivery or in-store pick-up for partner e-commerce or web- based sites.
— BBYScan Reward APIs – Customers in a store can scan a barcode of any product and find out on the spot if they have adequate flybuys for purchase.
Here is an example of API Architecture for Retail