API-based digital commerce definition and meaning

Updated: August 05, 2020 | Oleg Zhuk, Technical Product Owner

Understanding the different aspects of API-based digital commerce systems

Do you know that we live in an API-centric world? They are almost everywhere, and you might not even realize it. Are you looking for evidence? Well, Gartner considers API-based digital management tools as a critical architectural approach to integrate and connect with anything with a digital pulse. Forrester also estimates that almost 40% of US-based companies will implement solutions meant at handling the increasing demand for APIs in their organizations.

However, for some, the world of API-based digital commerce systems is somewhat the ‘wild west.’ They feel that it is a massive expansion with little rules and enforcement guidelines. To help you understand APIs, here are the vital details you need to know about them!

How API-based digital commerce systems work?

These are programs that connect with mobile apps, Facebook store and websites. Without APIs, it becomes almost impossible to order, for example, a birthday present for your mother on a site like wayfair.com. Now, the simplest method of understanding how application programming interfaces work is by knowing it’s an application that allows two applications to communicate with one another through commands designed by expert programmers.

API-based digital commerce systems have been an enormous relief for business for of a couple of reasons. For instance, a customer who is executing a particular command on the B2B e-commerce portal can initiate this multi-application communication platform. Here, an order kick starts the shipment of a product from the factory to the distribution center.

You can even use an application like Expedia to book a flight to see a client, or posting a picture on Instagram to advertise your products. Clearly, you can facilitate the safe sharing of information from one app to another using an API. Hence, that is why there are many API-Based digital commerce systems from social messaging, payments, finance, Bitcoin, e-commerce and several other categories.

Types of API-based digital commerce systems

Product information APIs

Using this API system, you can easily connect your product webpage catalogs directly using a global database. It will assist you in sharing detailed information on the products on sale. You can even use it to display things like:

  • Product descriptions
  • Brand images
  • Full product titles

Using this technique, you can auto-populate any product content catalog on your retail website thanks to this API-Based digital commerce tool. However, remember that how easy it will integrate with your business depends on your company’s e-commerce platform.

Social Proof application programming interfaces (APIs)

Some of the primary examples of Social Proof API-based digital commerce systems include sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But how are they being used? Companies are advertising their services by sharing the number of Twitter comments, Facebook likes and product reviews.

These are known as social media trust signals, and many companies are benefiting from them. Interestingly, over the past couple of months, Instagram has turned out to become quite popular among retailers. Many of them are using it to ‘display’ people wearing their jewelry or cloth line products.

They can also use this API-Based digital commerce system to stream messages from social media directly to their website’s product pages. For instance, thanks to the Twitter API, there are widgets that they can now use to show all recent comments on their customers products.

The Site Search API-based digital commerce tool

It is true that when you provide detailed search features on your website, you enhance your customer’s shopping experience. With this API digital commerce system, you can help your online visitors scroll through and discover unique items or brands with only a few clicks.

Of course, there are retail shops with extensive web pages. Thankfully, this search API tool ensures that you give your visitors a simple and less annoying time as they search for a given product or content that might be buried under tons of web pages. All they have to do is to enter their product of choice, and the program will do the rest.

Programs for shipping goods

To create a trustworthy shopping and business environment, online retailers can integrate their drop shipments with delivery APIs. Here, they can automate different processes from the point of sale, right up to the moment the parcel is delivered to the customer.

As a retailer, you should activate the shipping API on your company’s website as soon as you make the sale. Once you do so, this API-based digital commerce tool will give both you and the customer some kind of tracking tool. This allows both parties to track the shipment every step of the way until it reaches its destination.

Conclusion

Our digital ecosystem is slowly evolving in different directions. For instance, companies and large business organizations adopt multiple channels to drive better sales, trigger improved business models and generate more revenue.

This will trigger the need to unlock all business assets to the ‘outside’ world in a secure manner. Therefore, the increasing demand for IoT, cloud adoption and social media will exponentially lead to the growth of API-based digital commerce systems.

Oleg Zhuk
Technical Product Owner