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eCommerce API Integration: Main Benefits and Difficulties

eCommerce API Integration: Main Benefits and Difficulties

By: Aiza Gill

eCommerce API integration is an important aspect for vendors who propose various eCommerce software solutions. It is the process of establishing the connection between eCommerce platforms and B2B software and applications like inventory management systems, warehouse management software, shipping solutions, etc. It allows B2B software to perform its core functions with the help of data it gets from eCommerce platforms after the integration development.

This article will walk you through different aspects of eCommerce API integration like:

  • What is the meaning of API?
  • What is an eCommerce platform API?
  • The importance of developing eCommerce API integration for software providers
  • Benefits and difficulties of eCommerce API integration
  • How to build API integration with eCommerce platforms?

Let’s get started.

The Meaning of API

An API or application programming interface is the mediator between two software that allows them to communicate with each other and transfer data. Talking about the technical definition, an API is a piece of code or a set of protocols that allow software applications to exchange data over the Internet.

Every industry uses API, from travel to sports to healthcare and more. All these industries need the capabilities of API to seamlessly function and provide the best of their services to their customers. Moreover, an API also eliminates the need to create custom and separate software for even the most minor needs like payment processing.

There are two different types of API: SOAP API and REST API. Let’s explore their main features:

  • SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) API: It is a web service API that uses XML data format for data transfer. It defines the structure of messages to be transferred and also the method of communication between the two applications.
  • REST (Representational State Transfer) API: It is also a web service API, but it is based on a set of RESTful principles, commonly known as constraints for designing a REST API. Such constraints simplify the identification and manipulation of resources in the request.

eCommerce Platform API

An eCommerce platform is the commerce website an online retailer uses to manage their business, cataloged products, purchases, and user relationships. There are various platforms like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc.

eCommerce platform API is a specific version of API that is mainly used in eCommerce API integration. It helps B2B eCommerce software vendors to connect their software to various eCommerce platforms like the ones mentioned above.

Each eCommerce platform has its API that allows the developers and online retailers to enhance the functionality of their stores and get the most out of the platform. Following are some of the most popular eCommerce APIs: Amazon API, eBay API, Shopify API, WooCommerce API, and Magento API.

eCommerce API integration with each of these platforms can help you get necessary data from the respective platforms and make your software’s core services available to online retailers.

An API uses the following four methods for data transfer:

  • GET: used for retrieving a resource from the platform
  • PUT: used for changing or updating the resource on the platform
  • POST: used for creating a resource on the platform
  • DELETE: used for deleting a resource from the platform.

The Importance of Developing eCommerce API Integration for Software Providers

Vendors who propose eCommerce software for e-retailers need eCommerce API integration for their business to flourish. Following are some reasons why software providers need such an integration:

  • eCommerce software provides necessary functions to online retailers for managing their operations. But to provide such functionality, eCommerce software needs data from the clients’ e-stores. And to acquire this data software vendors have to reach eCommerce platforms which is possible only with the help of eCommerce API integration development.
  • Data from eCommerce platforms include customers, orders, products, categories, etc. Such data is important for any eCommerce software to perform its core functions like syncing inventory, managing shipping labels, fulfilling orders, reducing cart abandonment, etc. Without eCommerce API integration, the software can’t get the data and perform its functions.
  • Online retailers need full-fledged software to manage and automate their eCommerce operations. Therefore, they look up to software vendors to provide such solutions. But without integration, such software is not useful for the retailers, and hence they switch to different vendors to fulfill their needs. This leads to the loss of clients for eCommerce vendors; therefore they need to integrate with eCommerce platforms and make their solutions comprehensive.

Main Benefits of eCommerce API Integration

There are many possibilities that eCommerce API integration can bring for the software vendors. Following are some of them:

  1. eCommerce API integration allows you to retain your clients as they don’t have to go to other software vendors to fulfill their needs. In addition, when you have the functionality to streamline their eCommerce business, they don’t have to look elsewhere.
  2. When you connect with eCommerce platforms, more business owners get to know about your eCommerce solution, which makes them take an interest in your services. As a result, these businesses can be your potential clients.
  3. As a result of integration, you get more revenue when you convert eCommerce businesses into clients. Therefore, the integration increases your software revenue and growth.
  4. More revenue leads to more profits. So when you connect with more clients as a result of eCommerce API integration, your profit margin will definitely increase.
  5. Many websites hosted on eCommerce platforms are international. So when you connect with these clients, you get international exposure. As a result, your business expands and gets new horizons with the help of integration.
  6. eCommerce API integration gives you access to all types of data on eCommerce platforms with the ability to manage that data remotely.

Main Difficulties of Developing the Integration Manually

Integration is as challenging as it is beneficial for the eCommerce software vendors. There are many difficulties associated with eCommerce API integration development. They are as follows:

  • Every eCommerce platform has a different API, and every API has a different architecture. And it is complex. Therefore the software vendors will need advanced developers to establish integration with such platforms. And since the task is challenging, the developers will charge more for their services.
  • eCommerce API integration is a time-consuming process. Each integration takes around 8 weeks to complete. And if you have clients whose stores are based on multiple eCommerce platforms, you have to establish multiple integrations. This will consume more time, resulting in a loss of patience from the client’s side and a clientele on your side.
  • Integrations are a costly affair. Every integration costs around $4000, and when you have multiple integrations to perform, you’ll spend a fortune on just integrations.
  • Apart from all this, when you hire developers, you have to onboard them, train them, and pay them. Additionally, integrations need timely upgrades and maintenance, which developers will do in the same amount of time and money they spent on establishing new integrations.

How to Develop API Integration with eCommerce Platforms?

There are two ways to perform an eCommerce API integration. They are:

  • In-house integration development – this is the type that entails the most difficulties you have seen above. Here, you need to hire an in-house development team to help you establish those integrations. In addition, you have to provide infrastructure, setup, and other amenities to equip your team with needed resources for developing integrations. Therefore, your time, money, and resources will be involved in this process from start to end. You might not be able to spend on anything else.
  • Development via third-party integration services like – API2Cart – this is a feasible way of establishing integrations. eCommerce API integration becomes easy when you can connect your software with all the eCommerce platforms at once, without spending much time, money, and resources. All this is possible with the help of API2Cart, a third-party integration service, and a unified API that can connect your software with more than 40 eCommerce platforms in one go.

How-to-Develop-API-Integration-with-e-Commerce-Platforms

You don’t have to develop separate integrations or spend your resources on upgrades or maintenance. API2Cart looks after it all. This is the primary advantage of a third-party integration service: it does everything by itself. In addition, API2Cart provides detailed API Docs, full customer support, and a 30-day free trial period of use.

Conclusion

eCommerce API integration is a complex process but essential for B2B eCommerce software vendors. Therefore, it is imperative to have a solid integration strategy in place. There are two options for development: one seems easier but is a lot time-consuming, expensive, and resource-exhausting in reality. The other one seems like a big deal but is convenient and profitable for your business.

It obviously depends on your business requirements to choose the right option, but if we were to recommend it, it would be a third-party service that can take away the hassle of back and forth. Everything gets sorted in one place because the service provider does all the things.  You just have to pay for their services.

 

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