One of the primary reasons why retail will never die out because we love to shop. History proves that we had always loved shopping to an extent that we ended up burning holes in our pockets, this fact was leveraged by upcoming retailers that start growing their loyal customer base by selling stuff in discounts, bearing losses and then using the acquired customer base to earn revenue. Soon this trick became too common for people to adapt to it and come up with newer ideas and suddenly there was this outburst of new retailers, new ideas, new schemes and new innovations. After the entry of mobile, everything got disrupted.
That being said, retail will never die. But retailers might, if they don’t start with an omni-channel strategy already.
To survive and compete, they must quickly adapt to the continually transforming market landscape and get started with omni-channel engagement across web, mobile, social and IoT apart from being in a conventional brick-and-mortar store. Only those will last that are able to completely understand the needs of their customers, are conversion driven and are efficient in providing contextual and personalized user experience to the customers. Additionally, maintaining open connectivity between their apps, partners, internal apps and customers is becoming a must to take a huge step toward digitization. That the retailers now should be data driven and analyze and collect as much user data as they can, is an open fact these days. This is where APIs come in.
Now that we know that the keys to a great user experience are consistency, performance, analytics, data and omni-channel presence. But to combine all these, the information we require lies in disparity. Each information has its own messaging format, protocol and security systems. It can become really discouraging and difficult to collect everything that is required to head to a direction of great omni-channel retail experience that is now demanded and expected by everyone.
To overcome all of these, smart retailers now must attempt to use the APIs to engage buyers whether they are surfing on the web, browsing on mobile or entering their brick and mortar store using low-bandwidth Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as NFC scanners and beacons. Now this is where an intelligent API Management program should take over to put retailers on a continually transformation path as discussed previously.
Why API Management Solution is Essential for Success in Omni-Channel Retail Experience?
Exposing protected resources to be used as APIs is the foundation of an omni-channel experience but at the same time it carries significant amount of risk, threats and unwanted attacks. If one were to do a research on this, they would find heavy data breaches in many retail chains that led to loss and damage of millions and brand destruction.
App42 API Gateway was planned and constructed keeping all the scenarios in mind to overcome all the challenges one may face while exposing their resources such as offline data, legacy systems and point of sale information. With enhanced security and multiple authentications, App42 API Gateway allows seamless extension of any app or offline data to APIs.
With a comprehensive collection of API Management tools, App42 API Gateway enables rapid connection and integration of CRM, accounting, billing, marketing and all of the other retail tools with legacy systems to be able to be exposed as APIs. It also gives freedom for retailers to choose their deployment models among shared, on-premise, on cloud or even hybrid.
Apart from exposing resources as RESTful APIs, App42 API Gateway also helps retailers in:
- Standardizing their internal APIs to boost their omni-channel retail presence
- Allowing to partner with third party apps for collaboration of data and services
- Generating SDKs for other developers to integrate in their applications
- Driving developer community with APIs by publishing interactive and detailed documentation with code samples
- Monitoring the usage and alarming whenever any error occurs
Retailers must use APIs to expand and grow their business model beyond traditional and conventional ways to get ahead of their competitors. If strategized and managed well, the API Management solution can potentially sky rocket sales, brand value and overall loyal customer base. APIs are fast becoming common in retail operations and it is a strong suggestion that you get started with them too.
Let’s take a hypothetical case, there is a retailer of hair products (for different hair and scalp types such as rough, oily, brittle, soft or hard). Over the years of its business it has gained data on the type of hair product that sells the most throughout the year, the type that sells in any particular season, the demographics of the customers purchasing a certain product and et cetera. If the retailer could expose this private internal data securely as APIs, a world of endless possibilities opens. Third party apps can integrate and developers can create apps that recommend which hair product is suitable for specific hair types and similarly which age group or people living in any particular geographical region should go for a particular hair product. A trichologist can incorporate the API in their app or on their website that may let their patients buy hair products from that retailer from trichologist’s app directly.
Just by exposing its data in the form of APIs, retailer has expanded its reach to customers of other business as well, who now regularly connect with their brand and products in a more comfortable way. Another API could be created to manage the inventory system wherein, if any particular item is about to become out of stock, the vendor can be notified of it on time so that it can reorder the stock. This helps in round the year sale without the revenue getting affected. The same API could be utilized by the third party service that manages the retailer’s pick up and delivery to quickly check about the availability of item from the backend, have it picked up and delivered without the retailer getting involved. To add further, with integration connectors, retailers can run their operations efficiently by creating instant connectivity through APIs between CRM software and billing applications.
App42 API Gateway offers a comprehensive API Management solution that supports complete API lifecycle including creation, security, monitoring, analytics & monetization. To know what you can do with to enhance your omni-channel experience, sign up for a free trial or schedule a demo today. Should you need more information or have any specific query, you may write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our customer success team will be happy to assist you.