Typical commerce web services like customer information, merchandising systems, order history, search tools, product catalogs, etc. can be exposed to different consumer touch points, connecting through the application programming interface or APIs. These APIs provide a means of exposing core content and commerce functions in a programmatic way, over the Internet, for use either internally or by exposing to third parties. There are some differentiating APIs in this space that are helping companies using them offer the next level of customer experience. Here is a list of some amazing APIs that illustrate the leading edge of innovation in this fashion:
SwiftIQ provides web-service application programming interface (API) infrastructure to facilitate data accessibility with adaptive, machine learning predictions. The company not only provides APIs for predictive and big data analytics but recently released the Daypart API for retail. The SwiftIQ Daypart API allows large-volume retailers to analyze sales volumes for any given hour of the week, filtered by product, brand, location or individual store. SwiftIQ also offers a Frequent Pattern Mining API that allows supermarkets to analyze each basket purchase made at the checkout counter and identify products that align best with the basket.
Everyone wants to be part of the ‘Uber’ technology experience. In August 2014, the company behind the popular cab booking app opened its APIs to third party developers and that too with 11 launch partners. With Uber API, any app that can send a destination address to Uber, will be able to display pickup times and fare estimates without users having to leave their apps. The initial launch partners for Uber API included Expensify, Hinge, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Momento, OpenTable, Starbucks, Tempo, Time Out, TripAdvisor, TripCase, and United Airlines.
The Uber API is generating new use cases as well. Button partnered with Uber to create a DeepLink Commerce solution. Button is offering rewards and loyalty programs by leveraging the mobile-led on-demand economy that the Uber experience brings.
Through the use of Modopayments' handcrafted APIs, developers can build their own mobile app enabling customers to walk into a store, be instantly recognized, get presented with gifts, deals, rewards and offers along with touch-less checkout. Modo closes the loop on the promotion, purchase & payment cycle. They focus primarily on information sharing: using the ModoPayments framework, users can track their entire purchase history; merchants can see anonymized purchasing trends to track/create effective offers, while the location element acts as a security feature and helps bolster the ability to relax chargeback percentages in order to turn those into profits.
Estimote is making proximity marketing one degree easier by opening up a beacon analytics API for other parties to use. In a 100% consumer friendly way, retailers can now incorporate data from their in-store Estimote Beacons and Stickers into marketing and analytics dashboards from industry leaders like TellApart, RetailNext, and Euclid Analytics. This would help them analyze more data and make smarter decisions that have demonstrable ROI. Estimote has been doing some beta-testing with select partners to include analytics as a component in its Estimote Cloud. The analytics offering comes with a REST API to make it easier to fetch beacon interactions.
Kiip’s APIs bring a combination of loyalty and advertising. When users hit big moments in games and other mobile apps, they’re presented with a reward from a brand, which is treated as an ad from a monetization perspective. Kiip offers its API based platform to brands who want to use it in their own apps, instead of buying ads. That means they can use Kiip to improve engagement with their own users, and get complete control over the rewards. Here’s what Kiip means to different stakeholders:
- For Contest Winners: Get rewarded for using apps you love. With so many rewarding possibilities, it’s always a good day to achieve.
- For Developers: Add a layer of excitement to your app. Reward users with the world’s largest brands
- For Brands: Engage with real people during their happiest moments. With Kiip, you’ll know exactly who you’re reaching.
Postmates offers an API that allows other firms to leverage its network of couriers. Essentially, this enables third-party sellers and apps to offer local delivery via its couriers. By partnering with Postmates, third-party sellers are able to improve customer service by offering instant gratification when a local customer is buying from them. Rather than having to wait two days for a package to be delivered via post, Postmates can have the goods delivered to customers within an hour. Postmates is an on-demand logistics company that has become a sort of API for local delivery.
Instacart + Yummly
Instacart, the grocery delivery company, partnered with Yummly, a recipe discovery app, to show how useful its APIs could be. Users can use the Yummly app to pick out recipes and have the relevant ingredients delivered to them, thanks to Instacart. Instacart has already raised $210 Mn in funding and is expected to grow rapidly. We can certainly expect more use cases around its APIs in the near future.
The Tesco API gives you access to the vast grocery catalog of the third largest retailer in the world. Tesco's Grocery API has the ability to allow you to search for products using text or barcode, by department/aisle/shelf categories, all special offers, and even previously bought 'favorites'. Using mobile phones and QR code readers, commuters can grocery-grab on their way home without ever visiting the supermarket. Tesco already offers Foodie.fm, a personalized grocery shopping app, that uses Tesco’s API to build its Apple and Facebook apps.
Best Buy's Products API provides full product information for more than 750k products including price, specifications, availability, descriptions and images. Full archives are available, updated daily, to make it easier to establish the full catalog locally. The API also enables voice searches with search engines like Siri.
The Sears Open API Platform provides access to all of the Sears Holdings' storefronts. This includes the Sears, Kmart and MyGofer platforms. By utilizing one of the seven different Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), programmers can get information on the product catalog, full product information including pricing, availability, specifications, descriptions and image URLs. Here is a list of currently available Sears APIs:
- Product Search API
- Product Details API
- Parts Catalog API
- Top Sellers API
- Deals API
- Store Information API
- Local Inventory API