Retail
7
min of reading
January 13, 2022

APIs in Retail - Parte II

David Roldán Martínez
Senior Solutions Architect
Expert in Open Banking, Open Finance, Open Data, and other Open Economy related sectors. I can help you to reach your business goals by assessing your IT processes and infrastructure and guiding you to improve and optimize them.
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In the first article of this series, we learnt why APIs are becoming the center of retailers' IT platforms and which were the main foundations of the digital transformation in the retail market. In this article, I will explore some successful use cases.

Personalizing customer experiences

Personalization involves retailers giving consumers suggestions based on their taste, location, order history, and previous searches in order to provide them with a better shopping experience. This includes not only the purchase process but also pre and post purchase stages to be able to analyze and integrate customer behavior data from internal and external systems as well as social media platforms.

APIs can enable partnerships in which diverse businesses exchange and share information through them in order to build new and enhanced services and applications.

Streamlining operations

In general, a value chain defines a series of actions that enable businesses to sell their products to customers (Figure 1) and each action in the chain brings a portion of value to the entire process.

Figure 1: Retail Value Chain

At a high level, the four steps in the retail value chain are creating the product, storing the inventory, distributing the goods and making the product available for consumers. Looking in detail at this value chain, it can be seen that almost every step of the chain can be delivered using APIs (see Table 1).

Figure 2: Value chain activity with APIs

Making Connections for Business Performance

The most important criteria to success in the e-commerce industry is speed, not just the speed of your website load, but also to the:

  • Speed to launch your e-commerce instance.
  • Speed to customize your e-commerce frontend and backend logic.
  • Speed to make changes and optimize your e-commerce solution.
  • Speed to adapt to new technologies.
  • Speed to respond to customer demands and expectations.

Given this scene, APIs can add value to retailers in countless ways by providing new services to customers, expanding their supply-chain network, enabling new business models or features at little cost or increasing revenues by selling their APIs to other businesses for their developers’ use. An e-commerce API is a collection of functionalities exposed via API that act as the connecting tissue between the frontend (head) and backend (body). Such an API can be used in on-line shopping to make several retailers’ products available in an on-line showcase, allowing them to reach a larger number of buyers in the marketplace.

Marketing users on demand

APIs are creating new and more effective ways for companies to engage with customers. By leveraging APIs, businesses can make connections with new partners, deliver new services, and access new markets that can lead to major transformation and massive returns. APIs enable customized campaigns to reach customers where they would actually be, not only through dynamic ads on visited websites or social media, but also pushing coupons and announcements as they are in the physical shop or suggesting purchases of complementary products.

Fueling innovation via API ecosystems

Innovation is the lifeblood of all successful companies—now, more than ever. Companies need to be agile and APIs allow them to quickly pivot to new verticals and adapt to changing customer expectations, market dynamics, and technology trends. 

  • Omnichannel shopping: we studied this In the first article of this series (link). It refers to being able to link all the ways a customer can purchase and keep their place at each step and in every mode of interaction (smartphone, laptop, desktop, website, email, phone call, store visit, etc.).
  • Social shopping: connecting the business with social media sites allows retailers to engage users with a company on social media sites using APIs.


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References

“Panvel: Omnichannel and the Digital Transformation in Retail”, available at https://www.sensedia.com/post/panvel-omnichannel-and-the-digital-transformation-in-retail and last accessed 09/30/2021

“Black Friday Post - The Via Varejo experience“, available at https://www.sensedia.com/post/black-friday-post-the-via-varejo-experience and last accessed 09/30/2021

“eCommerce 101: API for eCommerce and Why it's Important”, available at https://www.elasticpath.com/blog/an-introduction-to-ecommerce-apis and last accessed 10/01/2021


Thanks for reading!