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API Integration: Why is it Important for Effective Supply Chain in eCommerce?

In today’s competitive world, when eCommerce businesses intend to stay ahead of their competitors, they want their systems and software to perform all the operations synchronously. An appropriate integration offers companies enhanced productivity, efficient use of data, and new opportunities that allow core business processes to operate smoothly. Thus, modern integration approaches such as application programming interfaces or APIs are considered among the best practices to elevate business software’s flexibility, speed, and scalability.

Application programming interface or API is one of the crucial approaches for a successful eCommerce. According to a report by Gartner, “APIs complement traditional B2B technologies such as electronic data interchange and managed file transfer.” For logistics and shipping companies API offers real-time, two-way connectivity and communication, which are crucial for third-party logistics or 3PL providers that focus on improving efficiency across the existing supply chain. Hence, it serves as a game-changer for a particular industry that depends on precise, insightful, and actionable information.

Let’s look at the term API integration and try to understand the main advantages and disadvantages of implementing this approach.

What is API Integration?

API is a messenger that processes requests and ensures the smooth functioning of enterprise systems. The technology delivers data and facilitates connectivity between devices and programs. The application programming interface enables interaction between data, devices, and applications.

Currently, there are three types of API Integration.

Remote Procedure Call

Remote Procedure Call or RPC is a software communication protocol that one program can use to request a service from a particular program located on another computer on a network without having the requirement to understand the network’s details. RPC calls other processes on the remote systems as if they are local systems.

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

Simple Access Protocol is a messaging protocol specification for exchanging structured information across web services in computer networks. The approach uses XML Information Set to transfer data and relies on application layer protocols such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol or HTTP. However, some legacy systems in this approach use SMTP or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol for message transferring and information exchange.

Representational State Transfer (REST/RESTful)

Representational State Transfer or REST is an architectural style used to develop decentralized systems. As a style of architecture design, it puts multiple parameters that define the visuals of API.

Since it is now clear what API Integration stands for, let’s figure out how it benefits the eCommerce supply chain?

Importance of API Integration in the eCommerce Industry

API Integration

The supply chain industry has been operational since the 1980s when retailers began using distribution centers to fulfill the deliveries. With the advent of globalization in the 1990s, the competition among logistics companies got intense. In the early 2000s, when eCommerce started spanning the country, the shipping companies had to up their game to stay ahead of their competitors.

A recent report by Inc42. quotes that the online shoppers in India will grow from 100 million in 2020 to 350 million users by the end of 2030. The sudden rise in the shopper’s number indicates that eCommerce brands must implement new technologies to stay ahead of the competition. The supply chain companies use API integration to optimize their shipping solutions by meeting the new-age demands of the eCommerce brands and end customers.

There are four significant benefits that a supply chain company can leverage using API integration. They are:

Estimated Delivery Dates Prediction

It has become a common trend among shoppers today to check the potential delivery date before making any purchase. So if the eCommerce brands are willing to provide a unique and satisfactory shopping experience to the customer, they must showcase the estimated delivery date. This is one of the best use cases for API integration for eCommerce companies.

Once the customer has specified the product and delivery location, the Shipping API reviews and processes the information based on the previous performance of the courier partners. This allows the APIs to determine how long it will take to deliver the product to a particular address. Once the Application Programming Interface’s algorithm calculates the EDD or Estimated Delivery Date, it will display the same on the product page of the eCommerce website.

Orders and Waybills Generation

There is a standing assumption that shipping companies’ only job is to deliver the product to end customers. They can either do it via road, sea, or aerial route. However, ensuring the order is shipped smoothly to the customers requires rigorous preparations before the order is dispatched. First, the order must go through various processes such as packaging, manifestation, and labeling.

All the processes mentioned above involve further steps, such as order creation on the courier partner’s platform, followed by the generation of AWB and AWB numbers for transportation and tracking. This is then accompanied by printing shipping labels and assigning the order for pick up and delivery. The APIs implemented in the eCommerce store’s system make these steps automated and easy for the store owners.

Order Tracking

Order tracking is one of the most critical aspects of customer satisfaction. Upon placing the order, a customer feels quite satisfied when he is notified about the status or the point it has reached. Providing the product’s location keeps the customer associated with the brand for a longer duration. It allows the sellers to convey the whereabouts of the product and lets their end customer know when to be available to receive the order.

The order tracking APIs leverages the algorithms to relay the messages about the order’s journey. This information is then flashed on the interface at the user-end. 

How Pickrr’s API Enhances the Customer Experience?

Pickrr’s API is developed to provide a unique post-purchase experience in warehousing, end-to-end checkouts, and shipping to the end customers. The company’s Application Programming Interface is eCommerce portal friendly and can be integrated on multiple platforms, allowing sellers to gain traffic from multiple web stores. This allows the sellers to expand their omni-channel footprint in the digital space. Pickrr Dashboard is a one-click solution to monitor, modify, and update the order information, helping them engage more with their end-customer. The frequent and periodic customer communication helps the sellers provide a unique post-purchase experience and elevate their sales quotient.

Conclusion

Customer experience has become a key component for the growth of any eCommerce company. Looking at the fierce competition between brands, online stores are implementing new technologies to gain a competitive edge in the market. API integration is one of such advancements that the companies are implementing to relay the necessary information to the customers. This information improves customer engagement and helps sellers provide better post-purchase information to their end-users. If you are looking to integrate an interactive, secure, and scalable API for your eCommerce business, connect with us.

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