An API is the application programming interface, it allows different applications to communicate with each other and share data securely and easily between them.
In an eCommerce app, APIs are integrated for displaying merchant’s data to the UI, for payments, price comparison, displaying catalogs, marketing automation, shipping, and other things. All these APIs make it possible for the online eCommerce application to coordinate functions such as product search, personalize the customer experience, recommend products, analytics, and marketing.
There are multiple software providers that offer APIs for eCommerce application development. Let's have a look into a few most important APIs that you must have in your eCommerce app. But before that, let’s understand how they work and their benefits.
The eCommerce API lets your app interact with the backend application and database to display relevant information to the end users. The API synchronizes eCommerce activity with the external system. And the numerous requests received from the users are handled simultaneously using REST architecture.
REST API is an application programming interface (API) that conforms to the contrast of the REST architecture style. The API that follows the REST design principles is said to be RESTful.
Read our article to know more about REST API design best practices.
Most eCommerce apps like Amazon, Shopify, and WooCommerce integrate API with their web app and other systems, this integration provides the following benefits:
API integration connects the front-end application with the other systems without making underlying system changes and with minimum effort.
Application API enables different software components to interact smoothly with each other through the request and response messages. This way it extends the web application functionality beyond its initial capabilities.
The service-oriented approach of the API enables developers to reuse programs across the app platform. Reusable programs help to save time and cost of app development and help to increase developers’ productivity.
Security is the most important factor in the eCommerce app, as it holds sensitive personal and financial information about the customers. To avoid any fraudulent activity API puts an extra layer between the app and the end users who are requesting data from the app.
Each eCommerce API offers different functionalities to enhance customer experience and app features. Here are some of the essential APIs that you must use in your eCommerce application platform.
Ecommerce applications need to maintain an online catalog of goods and services, so the app developer builds a product library for easy and quick access. The library allows retailers to add products, generate reports, add product descriptions, product specifications, brand image, price, and more.
The Product Info APIs provide the means to access and manipulate product information. It is more like an interface that is commonly used for managing product catalogs by retailers.
The API uses JSON and other methods for managing product data. It enables the creation of product catalogs and uploading them to the database. When the end user requests data, the GET method is initiated to collect and retrieve product data from the database, which is then sent to the catalog server.
The product API uses the content-type header to access data from the catalog server and gives a response in the form of JSON data. For updating product information PUT method is used and the POST method is used to create the product category.
Login or Authentication eCommerce API is used for identity management. It offers users a secure way to login into their eCommerce account. Thus preventing attacks from cybercriminals who snoop around the website looking for the slightest vulnerability.
In token-based authentication, the POST Login API is used to retrieve the authentication token. Once the authentication token is obtained, it is inserted into the Authtoken header for further requests. The authentication request is sent using XML or JSON. The response is sent with the parameters such as UserId, CCN, token, and User Name.
If you want your website to accept electronic payments, you can integrate payment API to add e payment feature. The payment API facilitates the transfer of sensitive information such as credit card numbers to carry out online transactions between the payment portals in a faster and more secure way.
In general, a payment API works when it gets the payment request from the application, which is then directed to the payment processing network where it is processed and the response is sent to the API. The payment API releases the response back to the application.
The price comparison eCommerce API extracts pricing information from specific sites called “Source”. With the API, retailers know how their products fare in the market in terms of pricing, allowing them to adjust their prices accordingly to stay competitive.
Price API scrapes price & product data from sites like Amazon, Google Shopping, and eBay & more in real-time and displays it to the users. The users need to select the country, marketplace, and product to get the result in Excel, CSV, JSON, or XML.
A shipping API integrates a shipping feature directly to your eCommerce website. Shipping rates are automatically calculated, labels are created, order delivery date is calculated and tracking numbers are generated once the order is placed.
Shipping APIs are programmed to handle a variety of different things, from calculating delivery dates to generating a tracking number, to passing vital delivery instructions. Shipping API integration ensures the successful delivery of products to the final destination and also enables better returns.
API integration is the most efficient way that helps you to meet customers' expectations. So, if you are planning to build an eCommerce application, and integrate these APIs into your site, you don’t need to code APIs from scratch, just follow the API creator's instructions and your site is ready to go.
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