The majority of eCommerce applications are API-based. To be more specific, they are generally based on shopping cart APIs. API integration with shopping platforms provides the near real-time synchronization and ongoing data interchange. It makes possible to extract, update, filtrate, etc. various data from e-stores: product descriptions, images, data on customers, orders, taxes and other info. How does eCommerce software leverage this? Let’s review some of the most often-used examples of using shopping cart APIs in eCommerce:
1. Inventory & Warehouse Management Systems
Shipping and warehouse management systems cover a bunch of functions, like automating shipping processes, order tracking, inventory control and updates, label printing. Fulfilling all these features for retailers implies using actual order and customer data, which is stored in shopping cart databases.
2. Point of Sale
Point of Sale (POS) software is usually a very encompassing system, which includes a lot of features retailers need to effectively manage online and offline commerce in one place. Among them are vital functions like customer and inventory management, sales reporting, creating purchase orders and order tracking, etc. which are unthinkable without access to data from e-stores like orders history, customer info, product details, etc. To eliminate the need to manually fill in all these information, and thus, avoid the risks of omissions and miscalculations, POS systems integrate with shopping cart APIs.
Chatbots are used in eCommerce as a customer support option. They are based on artificial intelligence technologies and can provide answers to typical visitor’s questions, take orders, etc. To be able to check availability and retrieve all the needed information from the online shop seamlessly, chatbot needs to be integrated with the shopping platform.
4. Mobile Commerce
Creating shopping applications implies establishing a good connection with web stores so that they could seamlessly “communicate” with each other on a regular basis. For example, mobile apps needs to retrieve product descriptions and images to display them within the mobile app; when the order is placed on the mobile app, it should “tell” a website to update the stock levels; if new items was added to the online shop, the app should automatically update its product list. To set up such complex synchronization between diverse systems, mobile app builders have to integrate with shopping carts (vice-versa also works, though the former is the interested side).
5. Email Automation Systems
Email automation systems that aim at eCommerce market integrate with shopping carts; otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to automate a bunch of vital processes for retailers. Creating targeted newsletters (based on items bought, previous orders, total spend, etc.), sending letters with personalized product recommendations, etc. requires access to product assortment, descriptions, customer contact info, purchase history, etc. Such data can be easily accessed via API requests sent to the shopping cart.
6. Social Commerce
Both small and big merchants grow their social media presence, as the latter has proved to be a powerful promotion channel. Retailers post their product catalogs, sales, giveaways, special orders, new products, etc. on social media. With the help of social commerce software that supports shopping carts, it can be done automatically.
7. Order Management
Product data APIs are used mostly by B2B e-commerce software services, To be able to organize bulk order fulfillment routine for retailers, order fulfillment software needs access to product, customer, and order data, inventory levels, etc. So, order management systems also can’t do without shopping cart integration.
8. Product Catalog Software
Product catalog system is a tool that helps retailers manage product data and create beautiful product lists for external resources. Such systems integrate with shopping carts to automate catalog building and other processes. Thus, their customers can make a catalog in a couple of clicks.
All in all, shopping carts APIs powers majority of eCommerce applications. The process of API integration with shopping carts quite long and tedious, especially when it comes to establishing connection with many shopping carts. Those who value their time and money can avoid reinventing the wheel by integrating via a unified shopping cart API, offered by API2Cart. This API enables to connect to 30+ shopping carts.
Anastasia Kholod is an eCommmerce and API expert, digital marketing transformations enthusiast, tech innovations fan. You can follow her on Linkedin.