Sandeep Sekhar, Chairman & Global CEO, C Ahead Digital

Sandeep is an Engineering Graduate, holds a Masters in Business Administration and has over two decades of knowledge and experience in the ICT and Media business and an excellent all-round track record. Prior to setting up C Ahead, he has worked with the big 3 IT companies – Accenture, Wipro and SAP. In each of his assignments he was instrumental in company’s growth – building India centers, forging global alliances and marketing worldwide.

 

The phrase API or Application Programming Interface (API) brings primarily technical implications to mind. But did you know that it is now increasingly being considered to be a driving force for organizational growth and sustainability? More and more businesses are using APIs as a crucial element in an expanding API economy to monetize data, get access to new markets, and combine data and technology to revolutionize business processes. APIs are being used by companies in a variety of industries to improve operational efficiency by providing an easy-to-understand interface for fundamental business assets such as customer records, accounts, or even product catalogues. 

APIs enable firms to innovate more quickly in today’s world. By collaborating with other businesses, adopters of the technology can increase their revenue and market reach. It also enables the quick expansion of valuable IT assets to new channels, providing critical resources to consumers, employees, and partners. Delivery of API powered great digital experiences is growing year after year with increased digital transformations, especially in the wake of the pandemic. APIs, which are critical for connecting businesses and technology in an ecosystem, are now mission critical on a competitive battleground.

How do APIs drive business?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a software negotiator that allows two applications to talk to each other. Without APIs digital experiences of end-users would not be possible as APIs work in the background and help to connect the user with the information and technology. Thus, companies that do not prioritize leveraging APIs in their business further miss the economic benefits that they cater to by integrating and connecting people, places, systems, data, and algorithms to create new experiences, products, services and business models. 

Therefore, capitalize these benefits, businesses should consider embracing APIs as an integral part of their digital strategies. With the rapid advancement of technology, adopting APIs can take digital business to the next level. API driven solutions streamline, guide and improve a business’s operations and processes to the extent of becoming the backbone of the enterprise’s digital strategy driving the operational agility.

APIs in Retail

API is more than just a technical solution which allows retailers to build new business models outside their original intended ones. With online consumer shopping on an upward trajectory, retail industry players are invariably discovering their solutions by implementation of APIs.

Majority of retailers have access to massive volumes of data that can be utilized to identify new patterns and insights, allowing them to drastically alter their retail tactics. Retailers may use this data to build an IT architecture that puts hidden patterns and information up and center, allowing them to adapt their service offers. As a result, the foundation of a solid IT infrastructure is the development of an effective API strategy. On the other hand, it also provides retailers with an almost limitless revenue opportunity. 

This allows businesses to not only find new customers and form advantageous collaborations, by offering their own APIs and thereby, further profiting from usage fees or referrals. APIs are used by retailers all over the world to build multi-brand shopping platforms, manage inventories, and help customers find nearby stores. 

For instance, to understand how APIs are helping, take the simple case of an online shopping/purchase we all do often. While browsing for a product, you are using multiple catalogue and inventory APIs simultaneously. If you scroll down your page you may see “items you may like” – these multiple ‘options’ pop-up courtesy the API services. Whether you click to order or enter your payment information – all the communication happens in real time because of the use of APIs. 

It is clear that without the use of APIs in retail, the new trend of ‘easy’ online shopping would not have been possible. The APIs work altogether as an ecosystem to deliver ‘to the point services’, which are customized on the basis of their respective customers’ needs.

API enables businesses by:

  • Increasing revenue

Many businesses nowadays use cutting-edge API tactics to engage with their customers and provide a consistent experience that fosters long-term partnerships. Such collaborative methods allow for the creation of ‘one-of-a-kind’ offers based on the context and behaviour of customers, resulting in increased revenue.

  • Providing customer value

APIs help businesses have a stronger online presence by allowing them to quickly interface with other applications using modern API technologies. Enterprises that have adopted an API-ready strategy can discover new data and insights, allowing them to develop a comprehensive strategy for providing value to their customers.

  • Encouraging technological and business innovation

Retail businesses are diligently deploying new technology platforms, with future integration as a top priority. Businesses must incorporate these platforms that can extend the ability to process data and functionality for a stronger commercial advantage as the API driven strategy evolves over time.

Conclusion

Currently, the retail industry is considered to be one of the most active industries when it comes to the use of API. As we move ahead with implementing API, we continue to explore huge opportunities that take shape only due to the new and innovative solutions that the API driven models provide. Another plus factor in this matrix is the enhanced operational efficiency of the processes along with new commercial opportunities that the API strategy explores. For digital retail of any kind, API integrations is therefore a must.

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