API integration in e-commerce is tied to adding a technology solution to help improve your online store. Adding products and marketing represent only a small portion of the problem. Once visitors open your website, it’s crucial to keep them longer and make them purchase more items.
Automation in e-commerce saves money and time. API integration in e-commerce has automated and optimized specific tasks. Continue reading to find out what is an API for e-commerce, and how it can benefit your online store.
What Is an API?
API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface. It represents a middleman between two applications. APIs describe what other developers can or cannot do with the program you’ve written. Let’s take Google Maps as an example. You’ve probably noticed that many third-party apps use Maps inside their application, and it’s valid to ask how they do it.
Well, of course, the answer is: they use Google Maps API! Mobile app developers don’t need to know how Google Maps work. Actually, they don’t have access to the source code. An API is a perfect way to let other developers use your service without giving them access to the source code.
Source: Screenshot – Google Maps Platform
Here are some famous API examples:
- Google Maps API
- Log in using Facebook/Twitter/Google/Github: Not all websites and mobile apps build custom integrations with all of these tech giants. They use an API that allows them to provide account registrations using data provided by these companies.
- Paying with PayPal: PayPal made things simple for everyone looking to make payments using their service.
Source: PayPal Checkout Integration Guide – PayPal
Who Are API Providers and Consumers?
In the API world, there are several types of people that interact with them. It’s also useful to learn the difference between these groups of people.
As the name suggests, API providers create APIs for others to use. They also provide a platform to gather data and processing power needed to provide their services. Providers also need to make sure the API is intuitive and user-friendly.
An API consumer is not the same as an app user. It represents the app developer who is looking to use API for his project. They integrate APIs in their applications and websites. They are the ones who allow you to log in everywhere using your Google Account or make PayPal payments anywhere online.
Different API Types
APIs can be divided into four distinct categories, based on who has access to them:
- Open APIs: As their name might suggest, these APIs are available to everyone, and there are no restrictions on usage. They are also known as Public APIs.
- Partner APIs: To use Partner APIs, you need to buy a license or negotiate permission.
- Internal APIs: They are often used inside a single company to improve efficiency or resolve internal problems. Internal APIs are also known as Private APIs.
Regarding API architectures, they exist to make sure API providers build them while adhering to a set of rules. It makes the job easier for developers when they use APIs for their projects. The list includes:
- REST: The most popular web API architecture, with a client-server protocol, statelessness, and cacheability. The focus is on making it user-friendly.
- JSON-RPC and XML-RPC: API calls are encoded with JSON and XML files respectively.
- SOAP: A strict set of rules that leads the market along with REST.
Source: What is REST API? – Seobility
How Are APIs Used in E-Commerce?
API integration in e-commerce started a long time ago. E-commerce owners are eager to try out anything that will increase their revenue, and it didn’t take long to adopt API in e-commerce. It’s beneficial to online store owners because they don’t worry about developing their solutions. Buying an API in e-commerce is simpler, and the API provider needs to make sure the integration goes smoothly.
Here are several examples of how API integration in e-commerce, and how it benefits store owners and customers.
E-commerce recommendation platforms
Developing a recommendation engine for e-commerce is challenging. It’s easier to buy an API license and use a third-party e-commerce recommendation platform. A recommendation engine for e-commerce needs to contextually understand how items in your store relate to each other. For fashion stores, the best option is to use deep tagging.
Deep tagging of e-commerce products consists of analyzing product images. It tags fashion items with characteristics like color, pattern, texture, etc. It helps power recommendation engines in e-commerce, visual search, and generating product descriptions.
Product descriptions in e-commerce are crucial, as they directly affect SEO for e-commerce customers who use search engines like Google.
Visual search e-commerce APIs
Textual searches are dull. The next trend is using visual search e-commerce APIs. Regarding the fashion industry, you provide an image of an outfit, and the search returns items similar to the ones in the photo. It’s perfect for finding fashion products your favorite celebrities wear.
Visual Search API by SalesVision
Payment Gateway APIs
Because of easy API integration in e-commerce, online store owners don’t need to worry about payments. For example, PayPal offers a simple API that works well with any website, mobile app, or online store hosted on various e-commerce platforms.
How to Choose an E-Commerce API?
After deciding to use an API in e-commerce, it’s crucial to choose the right one for the purpose. Here are some factors that should help you form the decision:
- Benefits: API integration in e-commerce needs to satisfy someone. APIs can provide automation in e-commerce, and help you run it more easily. On the other hand, APIs can help your customer. It can provide a better user experience or add new features to your online store.
- Ease of integration: Deciding on a technology solution is difficult enough. But, going through a painful process of API integration in e-commerce stores is worse. It needs to go smoothly, and the API needs to be easy to use.
- Price: Revenue benefits need to outweigh the combined cost of all APIs you pay for in your online store. It’s that simple.
How Can APIs Help Grow Sales in E-Commerce?
Using API in e-commerce has numerous benefits, but, in the end, only numbers tell the full story. Here is how APIs help grow e-commerce sales:
- A recommendation engine in e-commerce can help customers discover and buy more items.
- Cool features like visual search in e-commerce improve customer experience, and it will make customers visit for the second time.
- Using simple payment provider APIs can help customers pay in various ways, including credit cards, PayPal, Skill, or even using cryptocurrencies.
An API is a software concept, but it has become adopted by everyone. The reason is simple: everyone needs and uses APIs. The term represents an interface that defines how you can access a third-party application. If you have a service that can help developers, you don’t need to sell your source code. Instead, you can just give them access to your API.
API integration in e-commerce benefits everyone. API providers get to sell their services. E-commerce owners see increased revenues, and customers receive a better online shopping experience. It’s a win-win-win situation, and an example to look up to would be Amazon. They’re the biggest online retailer because they managed to adopt technology better than anyone. Their e-commerce recommendation platform is famous, and it brings them more revenue than anything else.
APIs have many use cases, from recommendation engines for e-commerce to visual search and deep tagging features. If you’re looking to improve customer experience and increase the conversion rate, consider integrating our API.