A Beginner’s Guide to Using APIs For Business
— August 27, 2019
To be a functioning professional in the digital e-commerce environment it’s important to be as present and multi-functional as possible. Mobile apps offer the perfect opportunity for business owners to connect with their target audiences. APIs or Application Programming Interfaces are what allows one piece of software to share information with another. Although invisible to the user almost everyone has interacted with and most likely benefited from an API. APIs give businesses the ability to embed maps, process payments and run different apps in conjunction with each other. Using APIs with some or all of the following applications can help better integrate your business, improve customer interactions and streamline your business operations.
If your business ships products, one way to boost customer service is by using shipping APIs. You will have the ability to automatically create labels and easily validate addresses when filling orders. And your customers benefit from the ability to track packages, receive status updates and delivery confirmations. Integrating a shipping API is ideal for businesses monitoring shipping activities between different locations or in large corporate mail rooms.
Any company with a website should be using some sort of analytics tool to monitor impressions, conversions, traffic and overall performance. APIs are exactly what you will be using to do that. For example Google’s platform offers several options for API statistics that report data and assist in managing your Analytics account.
Project Management Platforms
If you are managing many employees in a large company, efficient group projects and team communication are even more important. Some of the most common examples include Trello, Slack and Microsoft Teams. They offer an easy method of communication between coworkers and more importantly they allow data sharing. Because of the API it’s easy to attach files from your own computer or import from other apps management tools are great for communication between coworkers but it’s their data-sharing functionality that’s really important. Depending on which project management tool you’re using you may be able to convert data into other programs like excel.
Search engines are yet another reason to use APIs for retrieving information from other services, especially if your business requires compiling best offers. API’s are cornerstones for companies like Expedia or Mint. They are what allow expedia to pull flight and hotel prices directly from companies and how mint can access all your individual bank transactions to help you monitor your budget. The third party is requested by the API and they can then respond with the requested information that will display on your website when a user searches. You may also want to have a search box on your website to help customers find the content they are looking for. Using a custom API integrating an API from a popular search engine like bing or google cna make it a lot easier for users to find things on a busy site.
Online Payment Systems
If you need to transfer money or process payments online, this is another area where APIs come into play. They serve as a valuable tool for almost all ecommerce sites by adding security and ultimately streamlining the checkout process. Working with APIs from Paypal or Venmo you can eliminate the need for customers to have to re-enter their credit card information. This makes their overall checkout experience a lot smoother.
Social media has become a staple in today’s digital marketing environment. Social APIsoffer content distribution through several different networks. For example the Instagram Graph API allows developers to access business accounts data, manage media objects, discover businesses, anda lyz and track metrics and moderate comments. You can add share buttons to different pages on your website or use Facebook or Google’s instant signin APIs to simplify the process for consumers and collect valuable customer demographic data.
These are just a few of the ways APIs make connectivity and data sharing smoother. In today’s eCommerce environment your business may be online but a truly digital company utilizes several different APIs to streamline the user experience. If your business lends itself to creating a separate API, establishing your own can also help increase your consumer base.