APIs: Virtual Handshakes For the Future of Commerce
About 20 years ago, people would start their PCs, open their browsers, go to www.retailer.com, choose a product and make a purchase right there. They would start a 1:1 relationship with their favorite brands and retailers and, ideally, stay loyal customers. This was the scenario in which most of today’s commerce platforms were built.
For the last couple of years, however, this has been changing dramatically: for one, many new devices on the market enable some sort of commerce transaction – think about mobile devices, but also things like order buttons, voice devices or wearables in all shapes and forms. Secondly, a bunch of gatekeepers and intermediaries has entered the stage: instead of exploring a website at www.brand.com, people now go to Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest to interact with their favorite brands.
The answer to that: public APIs. By exposing their data and processes via standardized APIs, retailers can connect to all those new touchpoints and intermediaries. Basically, a transaction via an API is like a handshake between two people: They have agreed on a certain kind of exchange, they trust each other and start to communicate. In tech terms this means: two applications negotiate a contract via their APIs – and if they are using the same standards, information can travel freely.
The good thing is: an API does not care at all about whether an incoming order is issued by a mobile app, a HoloLens, a Facebook messenger chatbot, a voice device, or an Apple watch. APIs are using the formats and protocols that are fundamental to how the Web works, they are here to stay and the safest bet for retailers.
In this webinar recording, commercetools’ CPO Kelly Goetsch talks about API Commerce in detail, explains how retailers can benefit and gives practical advice regarding how businesses can start their API journey without completely overhauling their existing infrastructure.