APIs have the potential to transform businesses. Companies that don’t prioritize APIs integration in their digital strategies are missing out on the benefits that APIs can bring, as they make it easier to automate tasks, integrate their programs and databases with current industry applications to create new experiences, products, services, and business models. To capitalize on these benefits, businesses should consider an API-driven business model.
How are APIs linked to ERP?
APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are an essential part of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) as they act as intermediaries to transfer information between applications. They underpin the apps we use on a daily basis.
For an eCommerce business to keep pace with its competitors, company owners have to make sure that there are no disjointed technologies and old systems, and customers only have access to the best online experience possible. Technology is moving so quickly today that anything but the best, and potential customers will just move on.
While it is true that ERP integration requires an initial investment, the return on this investment means savings in other costs, shorter order cycles, higher conversion rates, and plenty more. You will be able to automate several business processes as well as connect with the B2B eCommerce market, one that is booming with a 12.1% yearly increase.
With so many systems, ERP integration, with the help of API integration, allows you to synchronize your eCommerce platform with other systems in use, both front-end, and back-end. These include:
- PIM- Product information management
- CRM- Customer relationship management
- OMS- Order management system
- WMS- Warehouse management system
- POS- Point-of-sale
- CMS- Content management system
- DXP- digital experience platform
Attempting to manage these systems individually will be time-consuming, ineffective, and won’t provide your company with a tech stack that meets today’s needs or those needs in the future. API integration creates a customizable solution regardless of the size of the company.
To easily integrate systems, Web-Company has developed the APIcenter. This SaaS solution makes it possible to integrated all systems that connect with API.
Let’s explore the benefits of API integration in more depth.
How Can API Integration Benefit Your eCommerce Business?
Greater Visibility and API Economy
API integration allows applications to share information with other applications. This could be, for example, your eCommerce platform linking to your customer database or order management system. The great thing is that this can happen regardless of the application data structure or technology platform. This improved visibility boosts the API economy, the positive impact of APIs on a company’s profits.
In 2019, it was estimated that 25% of an organization’s revenues were generated from APIs. Thanks to API integration, companies can:
- Share data more easily
- Connect staff, customers, locations, infrastructures, and algorithms
- Support third-party algorithms
- Verify information, people, and objects
- Create new products and business models
- Improve user experiences
As new technologies such as IoT, AI, and AR become more widely used among companies, growth will be seen in all areas, including the API economy.
Enhanced Customer Satisfaction
In the past, customer satisfaction was centered around providing positive customer service. Today, since social media, IoT, and SaaS (Software as a Service), expectations are rising at the same speed as technology is advancing. Consumers are expecting a personalized experience that is also convenient and fast.
There is no way that dated systems are able to match the expectations of today’s consumer. In the time it takes to deliver a service that satisfies customer expectations with old technology, your competition will have snapped up your business. Speed is of the essence, as is the ability to adapt and innovate. With all that companies are trying to face today; this is a big struggle.
These three core concepts, speed, adaptability, and innovation, will separate the businesses that fail and those that thrive. As eCommerce continues to expand at a rapid rate, it is those who are able to develop new products and services and even expand into alternative markets that will succeed.
APIs are like the middleman of data transfer between applications. It is what feeds you the information about your customer’s expectations, requirements, and hopes so that you can implement this into your business strategy.
APIs and Omnichannel Commerce
On the one hand, businesses need to be doing everything to improve customer satisfaction; it is also necessary to enhance the customer experience. The customer experience is all interactions a person has with a business, whether direct or indirect. It begins the moment they click on a website until the completion of any aftersales care.
Omnichannel commerce is when a business has multiple ways for customers to reach out to them, everything from in-person to laptops and mobiles, but these methods are all integrated and will work together. Positive customer experience means consumers are able to shop when they want from wherever they want.
For each communication channel to collect and analyze data in one place so those insights can be drawn, a business needs to employ API integration to connect all of your data. Getting all of your systems to communicate can be challenging, which is why you will need to integrate APIs.
Further benefits of API Integration and Customer Experience
Businesses are more trustworthy.
When a customer orders something from an eCommerce store only to be told that it is out of stock or won’t be delivered on time, the business loses credibility. Any form of miscommunication can impact the trust consumers have. API integration speeds up the transfer of data between systems so customers can always have accurate information.
Constant up-to-date information
It’s not practical to have people working 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When an ERP system is linked to your eCommerce site, a customer can access their account and place an order at any time they want, knowing exactly what is available at that time. Without this information, they might move onto another eCommerce site, and you lose the business.
Your customers are more independent.
Any time current information is not available, a customer will need to send an email or make a phone call, which takes up valuable time for both them and your staff. When you include chatbot APIs, when a customer does have a doubt, it can still be resolved without the need for human input.
Greater Financial Control and Savings
In order for a developer to create the same level of functionality as one line of API code, they would have to write close to 10,000. So, in the first place, you have saved on developmental costs.
Because orders and sales are sent straight to your ERP system, you have a better insight into each sales process stage. You know exactly what stock is going out, the available inventory, and the sales that are being completed. There is no need to “wait till Monday” to see if the sale can go through; it can be completed and confirmed at the same moment. Being aware of exactly what you have in stock lets you make more accurate decisions on products you need to order and prevents you from running out of stock.
Automation takes away the need for employees to spend time on repetitive manual tasks. Staff is free to do more crucial tasks, which also increases employee engagement. With the help of API integration, automated tasks reduce human error that might occur with pricing and inventory. Automation of manual tasks is another way to increase productivity while reducing costs.
Once customers have experienced Amazon, they expect a certain level of service regardless of where they shop online. Even with the recent health crisis, we have witnessed ‘consumer shock’ when Amazon hasn’t been able to deliver within the usual 24 hours.
There is far less customer loyalty with eCommerce compared to in-person stores. As consumers rarely interact with humans, it’s easier to discard the site and move on to the next. Instead of completely changing your IT infrastructure, API integration provides you with the agility required.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships
In uncertain times, one can’t rule out the possibilities of mergers, acquisitions, or partnerships. Though when you think of company takeovers, APIs won’t be the first place your mind goes; however, API integration is appealing to potential buyers because they know it will be faster and simpler to integrate their IT system with yours. The same can benefit is seen is you are the potential buyer.
A company gains from new products and services, a fresh brand image, new customers, and greater customer loyalty in terms of partnerships. Just look at any product that is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. Companies don’t need to partner with global names to appreciate the benefits. As soon as your site has online review API integration, you can start taking advantage of increased online reputation and social proof. When Facebook alone has 2.7 billion monthly users, Facebook APIs are gold dust.
360-degree customer view
Even if a company is reluctant to digital changes, there is no arguing that data is the new most valuable currency there is. Knowing what your consumers want, need, like, and dislike allows for business planning, whether that the initial stages, the marketing, or the production. If you don’t know what your customers think, the future is grey. API integration gives companies the chance to get that 360º view of consumers. When eCommerce doesn’t offer the same face-to-face interactions to learn about consumer behavior, which is why API integration isn’t just beneficial, it’s essential.