In the age of digital disruption, the traditional commerce model is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Brick-and-mortar stores, eCommerce websites, and even mobile shopping apps are no longer the only ways to make purchases, and successful businesses recognize that evolving with technology is the only way to survive. Voice search and command, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just a few of the advancements that can enable commerce and allow you to improve engagement with current and potential customers.
By using application program interface (API) solutions to integrate existing eCommerce stacks with these newer technologies, you can create more touchpoints in the customers’ experiences than is possible through more traditional commerce channels.
What Is It?
An API is a defined protocol or rule that can be built to integrate between technologies so that a specific action or event will have a specific outcome. For example, when you tell Amazon Alexa to order something for you, an API will interface between your smart speaker and Amazon.com to order that product.
How Do You Deliver on This Trend?
Enable Multiple Touchpoints
You can play a role in the consumer’s experiences, but it’s impossible to monopolize them. You can’t control how or when your products are used, and with what technologies their customers interact. By creating connected experiences with APIs, you can reach customers at multiple touchpoints.
The most obvious touchpoint would be supplying a product. Technologies that have the ability to integrate with API solutions are an efficient way for businesses to capture eCommerce orders. Though you may not be a part of the purchasing exchange, you are able to become apart of the experience by supplying the product that’s needed.
APIs in Action
Many social media sites have adopted eCommerce APIs that allow users to shop right from their feed. Products are targeted to users based on their preferences and habits, allowing companies the opportunity to be a part of a touchpoint outside their traditional selling channels.
Voice assistants like Alexa and Siri are excellent options for API integration with eCommerce brands. These technologies aren’t intelligent on their own, and require add-ons and skills to answer questions and carry out tasks. By providing these capabilities through integration with their brand information, eCommerce entities have been able to connect to their customers in the early stages of their purchasing journey and make connections that can eventually lead to conversions.
Where Should You Start?
If you want to create meaningful commerce experiences with APIs, you should start with understanding your technical footprint. Begin by evaluating the current experience you’re providing to your customers and the technology you’re using. Once you determine the weaknesses or holes in your experience, you can identify opportunities for API integration. Prioritize which will be most impactful and get started on that.
But you don’t have to figure this all out on your own. There are a multitude of systems and tools available to help you expand your commerce experience with APIs, and it’s imperative to choose the right system to fit your needs. Engaging an expert to provide support and guidance through this process is the best way to ensure you have the right technology in your tool chest and are interacting with customers through all the right channels.
Interested in learning more about what trends are impacting commerce in 2019? Download our free guide, Make Meaningful Connections in Commerce: Four Trends for 2019.