The most innovative retailers are creating new business models that are less focused on the store-online-mobile balance and instead concentrate on building ecosystems that give their customers extraordinary experiences.
These retailers have realised that they need to access third-party data and services to successfully give customers what they want at every step of the customer journey. In the past, that required moving a lot of data between systems and possibly even replicating functionality in systems to achieve a consistent outcome.
Now the best retailers are embracing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for efficient and open connectivity between applications, partners and customers. Using APIs, they can expose rather than move or replicate data, and make one set of functions available across various systems without having to recreate it.
APIs are present in every part of our digital world. Every time we use an app like LinkedIn, make a Skype call or listen to Spotify on our phone, we’re using an API.
APIs let you add specialised functionality to a website, application, platform or software without having to write all of the back-end code. By using APIs to access existing solutions in the market, you are free to focus your development efforts on the front-end and create new services that deliver frictionless customer experiences and differentiate your brand.
You can also use APIs to turn your own assets into a platform that can attract partners to build new products and services that bring you both additional revenue. For example, you could release an API that lets developers access your product catalogue to build interesting applications that increase your product exposure.
Here are just some of the ways APIs are enhancing the retail experience: