E-Commerce Made Easy: A Short Introduction to APIs

11 min read

Just a few years ago, the world in which companies of all sizes were interconnected and using each other’s resources to further their own business goals. But today, thanks mostly to APIs, this is a reality. As a matter of fact, we’re living in an API-centric world. Don’t believe us? Just look at the facts:

  • Last year, over half a billion of dollars has been invested in API research
  • The ProgrammableWeb API directory now has more entries than ever
  • Big timers like Twitter, Adobe, and Apple have now opened up their APIs

As you can clearly see, APIs are now funding the digital technology. And now, they are finally bursting on to the landscape of e-commerce.

Why are APIs Important for E-Commerce?

So what an e-commerce API do to improve your business? For starters, in the e-commerce sectors, there’s always a need for instant service. If you want to create a loyal customer base, you need to find a way to cater to their needs to keep them coming back.

And APIs allow developers to build this kind of software much, much faster. For instance, if you want to automate your email marketing process without disrupting the way your team works. Well, you can actually do this with a help of an API.

And that’s not all, APIs have tons of other advantages. Demographic APIs can actually help you learn a ton of information about your website visitors. In addition to standard demographic data like age and gender, you can have access to information like their education level, income bracket, etc.

How Can You Utilize APIs?

If you don’t want to fall behind your competitors, you need to prepare you and your business for a complete digital transformation. However, before you can find the right APIs for your business, you need to understand a couple of ground rules first.

Perhaps the most important thing you need is the ability to assess the API’s maturity and sustainability. And while all of that may sound confusing, don’t worry, we’ll make an effort to guide you through the process and help you learn how to discover trustworthy APIs.

And if you’re worried about the implementation of APIs, again, don’t sweat it too much, Every API dev now uses a trustworthy test API tool that helps him document the creation process and provide the details other devs need to use the software.


How to Select a Good E-Commerce API?

Now, what are some of the basic things an API needs to do? When you’re trying to expand a business in a fast-paced industry such as e-commerce, the infrastructure needs to have these three elements:

1. Fast onboarding process

In order to help you make the onboarding process quicker, the API vendor should be able to reduce the costs of integration significantly. And this is where the aforementioned documentation comes into play. With good instructions and tutorials, your developers shouldn’t have any problems using the API.

In addition, software development kits for some of the more popular programming languages should help speed things up. The API vendor should also take care of the non-dev users. That means the vendor should provide live chats, guides, and intuitive interfaces to make things easier for you.

2. Some pricing flexibility

If you’re running a small operation, you’re probably working on a tight budget. Therefore, you should avoid using tools and programs that will drain your budget completely. And that’s the next thing you should look at – your pricing options. The API vendor should provide at least some flexibility in this area.

Some of the better platforms offer product assortment options. That allows the user to choose between different product packages and decide which one is the most useful for them and their business. And you don’t want to pay for the highest support level if you don’t really need it that much.

3. Team connectivity

The matter of the fact is, your dev team is the one that’s going to deal with the API the most. But that doesn’t mean that you should only cater to their needs and forget about the rest of your staff. On the contrary, you should look for an API that allows all of the departments in your company to work seamlessly together.

Just look at data visualization – if you have an online dashboard, which provides reports, you can reduce communication stumbles between your team members and minimize the communication with the IT department. And an admin console will also take the burden of software maintenance off your devs’ backs.

When you’re selecting API to use, you should have these three principles in mind. Of course, every API has its own pros and cons, but if it enables you to follow the principles above, you’ll be fine.

The Bottom Line on E-Commerce APIs

You’ve seen just how useful a few simple APIs can be for your E-commerce operation. No matter how little you know about programming, you clearly realize that you can benefit from having an API build into your site infrastructure.

If nothing else, APIs will help you in the following two ways:

  • They are all scalable, so they will help you save some money in the long run
  • They will help your programmers save a ton of time while developing your site

And those aren’t the only two ways APIs will help your business. We recommend you talk to your developers, find out which APIs would be the most useful for your operation, and try them. You don’t have anything to lose – but there’s much to gain.

We hope that you enjoyed our article and that you found it helpful. As always if you have anything to ask or add to the conversation, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.

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