Decoding API: Simply explained and why they are vital for eCommerce


Functioning APIs in eCommerce are crucial, if you’re working in eCommerce, you’ll be familiar with the term, it’s likely that you may not have a full comprehension of its meaning if you’re not a developer. This is according to global eCommerce platform, Kooomo, which outlines the purpose and vitality of APIs.

Ciaran Bollard, CEO, Kooomo, comments: “API stands for Application Programming Interface and is the software that allows applications to communicate with each other. Simply put, the API is the middle man between your request on a site and the computers’ fulfilment of that request.”

As an example, an interaction on the webpage, like the click of an Add to Cart button, sends a request to the server. The server receives the request and might perform some actions based on the data in the request such as; finding the product, confirming availability, adding the product to the customers cart, and reserving stock. The server sends a response back to the webpage. The webpage might use the data in the response to update the cart total and let the customer know their product has been added to their cart.

This communication is done using a data format called ‘JSON’ and there are four basic request methods that can be made with API:

  • GET – Gathers information (Pulling all Coupon Codes)
  • PUT –  Updates pieces of data (Updating Product pricing)
  • POST – Creates (Creating a new Product Category)
  • DELETE – (Deleting a blog post) 

Ciaran explains why these are so important, “APIs are responsible for the performance of your site and can be held accountable for successful user experience (UX). Within the retail sector in particular, consumers have become accustomed to instantaneous and flexible processes. Providing customers with accurate and fast information is what APIs help businesses do, and if done correctly can help you maintain a good reputation for use and reliability.”

Ciaran also explains how APIs are essential in supporting headless commerce, the functionality of which is growing in popularity: “Headless eCommerce is the separation of the front end and back end of an eCommerce website. This allows each to operate independently so that changes on one end do not require reciprocal changes on the other. They simply communicate with each other through the use of APIs. 

“This means that headless can lessen the IT dependency (amount of work needed in the back end) for user experience and user interface projects (the front end). Therefore, UX changes, which only impact the front-end can happen faster because they don’t require heavy legwork in the back-end.”

Kooomo creates its own end-to-end APIs allowing its clients to go about making their own sites without having to create their own code. Kooomo is creating a “headless eCommerce” engine to its platform so that merchants have a choice to enjoy its functional rich and well-tested platform. Its own APIs are being added to its frontend engines to enrich the customer journey and complete the experience. 

Through this implementation, merchants benefit from better employee adoption, greater and easier creative control and time savings, while also providing customers with a better brand focused UX, faster loading times and synced-up channels of paths to purchase. 

Kooomo’s cloud-based technology allows for multiple API requests to be combined into scenarios to deliver seamless customer journeys across multiple channels - be it via their own website, mobile app, or any other device.

Ciaran concludes, “APIs are the glue that holds websites together and determines the customers UX. This, in turn, determines the success of your website as consumers are more likely to return to websites that had minimal pain points - quick loading times, instantaneous actions, and a clear and concise journey.”

Kooomo’s team of developers are continuously creating more APIs and expanding existing API functionality in order to improve its platform and the services it offers. Kooomo also provides best-in-class technologies across sales, marketing, project management, payment gateways, and courier companies - with which its clients can integrate with also. 

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