Online services as we know them today are highly interconnected with other systems. To fit in the ecosystem of related software, it is important for vendors to be able to both expose and consume data. That is why they build integrations and expose their APIs so that vendors could interchange information with partner companies, internal software developers and customers.
In many cases, API integration is indispensable. For instance, B2B eCommerce software solutions wholly rely on connections with shopping carts to deliver their functions and services. For example, order management systems need to access data on products, customers, shipping, and inventory levels to be able to process the orders. In this case, the best, if not the only, way to set up an ongoing data interchange with the online store is to integrate with the shopping cart.
The thing is, along with the benefits of integrations there come challenges as well. API integration means making disparate software work together, and it always has been an enterprise software pain point.
What problems does API solve?
1. Boosts productivity
Building applications from scratch rather than using existing solutions can negatively impact the productivity of enterprises.
APIs make software development faster. By using them, developers can faster implement existing functionality instead of creating everything themselves.
2. Saves money
The greatest benefit of APIs is that they can save on costs. Since APIs reduce the effort involved in creating applications, using them to develop apps is a great way to reduce costs.
3. Boosts connectivity and cooperation
Internal APIs can enhance communication and collaboration within a company. The core functionality of APIs is connectivity. They enable different systems to communicate with one another, share data and perform varied functions.
4. Supercharges innovation
Another valuable advantage of APIs is that they enable businesses to encourage innovation. Nowadays, more than ever, innovation is what drives success.
5. Improves customer experience
Enterprises can use APIs to create new and efficient ways to interact with customers, especially in today's digital age when customers demand a seamless customer experience.
6. Gathers data for intelligence analytics
With the help of APIs, businesses can easily and quickly gather valuable data. When you make APIs available to third parties, you can see how people are using and interacting with them. This allows you to understand how consumers are engaging with your products.
7. Creates opportunities for revenue growth
Another benefit of using APIs is that you open up new revenue opportunities. If you monetize your company's APIs, you can increase the value of your digital resources and find new ways to enhance growth.
What is API Integration?
API integration is connectivity between applications that allows sharing data with each other. In the case of B2B SaaS solutions integration with eCommerce platforms enables them to work with store info such as orders, customers, products, shipments, baskets, and much more. They typically use a third-party solution to execute the integration, as in-house API integration entails a lot of challenges.
How Does API Integration Work?
API integration is a set of API methods that allow performing CRUD operations, which are as follows: create, read, update, and delete. It is a bare minimum of options in most applications. CRUD operations comprise fundamental methods for accessing and managing data via RESTful APIs. Basically they correspond to five major HTTP methods:
- Create = POST
- Read = GET
- Update = PUT, PATCH
- Delete = DELETE
The Common Integration Difficulties Vendors Usually Encounter are:
- Technological Complexity
- Security Risks
- High Time Consumption
- High Expensiveness
- Maintenance and Upgrading
- System's Diversity
#1 Technological Complexity. Elaborating a flawless integration module requires having a wide range of tech knowledge and being on top of the latest trends in API building. Such experts worth their weight in gold, so finding a highly skilled and knowledgeable developer willing to elaborate integration for your system is one of the biggest challenges for vendors.
#2 Security Risks. Security remains one of the main concerns for vendors. Results of API abuse, such as data breaches and losses, may affect a company's reputation and finances, not to mention the harm that can be done to the end customers(if there are any). Data breach methods are getting more sophisticated, which means poor integration can become a sheer gift for users with malicious intentions. That is why keeping your connection with another system safe requires control and constant enhancing.
#3 High Time Consumption. Elaborating a properly working integration module involves a great deal of scrutinous work. Setting up just one connection will take at least 4-12 weeks. That's the time when your developer learns the logic and architecture of the platform, makes an effort to reduce the bugs, and much more.
#4 High Expensiveness. Have we already mentioned that professional developers worth their weight in gold? 🙂 If you manage to find one, compensation for a month of hard work on integration will cost you several thousand dollars.
#5 Maintenance and Upgrading. When a connection between the system is established, it is not the end of a story. You will need the IT staff or at least one developer to take care of integration maintenance and upgrading. Otherwise, any functional changes made to the shopping cart can mess up the whole process of data access and manipulation. Plus, your customers might request modifications and custom improvements.
#6 System's Diversity. There is a big variety of software and API architectural styles. Given the fact that every system has its own specific logic, every integration has its unique challenges. When it comes to integrating with multiple platforms, a lot of time, and broad expertise to learn each of the systems is required. So if you are planning on multiple integrations, you should be aware that establishing a connection with every next endpoint will not be any faster or easier than with the previous ones.
How to Overcome Multiple Integrations Challenges?
A single API integration is a difficult task. Multiple integrations are a whole mess of difficulties. As a result, many software vendors can afford to work with only a few systems and thus missing out on business opportunities. Others turn to winning alternatives and choose to delegate this bulk task to professionals and focus on other business matters. Is there a way to avoid those integrational difficulties without detriment of API integration quality and quantity?
Luckily, yes. There are special integration solutions, which enable to perform integration faster, easier, cheaper, and safer. As to shopping cart integration, there is an API2Cart, which provides a unified API to connect with over 40 shopping platforms including Shopify, Magento, WooComerce, Prestashop, etc.
Doing only one API2Cart integration instead of endless ones offers a good amount of advantages. These are as follows:
- extended features (you get access to the database of oodles of eCommerce platforms and can retrieve products, categories, clients, order, etc. to synchronize the information within your system)
- new business opportunities (due to the ability to apply the changes to extend your services)
- a wider circle of customers (users of the 40+ shopping platforms become your potential clients)
- vast expenses and time loss prevented (no need to hire a developer to work on an integration module and then continue paying for maintaining and updating it when a new version is released)
The detailed documentation makes API utilizing easy and a dedicated, tech-savvy 24/7 support team is always ready to help with any matters. API2Cart protect clients' personal and store information from unauthorized access, so their customers can be assured about their data security.
If you are interested in integrating your B2B solution with many shopping carts and would like to talk about the technical details, please schedule a consultation with our representative or try how API2Cart would work for your business. We provide a free 30-day trial period for you to test the functionality of API2Cart and see if it fits your business needs.
Before you go, download the guide on how to integrate with 40+ eCommerce platforms in less than a month!