Ask a developer “What is an API?” and they’ll tell you that it stands for Application Programming Interface. They might go on to explain that APIs are basically a way to get two unrelated services to work together. That may be very interesting but it doesn’t explain why they matter to your business. With that in mind, here are three reasons why you should care about APIs.
They Open Up Your Payment Options
You want and need to do everything you can to make the purchase process as seamless as possible. The slightest bit of friction could be enough to derail everything. You also want to own the whole customer relationship.
Sending a customer off to third parties could lower their opinion of your customer service. It will definitely allow another company the opportunity to create a relationship with the customer. You might not see the other company as a competitor. They may not be a competitor right now. You do not, however, know what is going to happen in future so why take the risk?
APIs offer a simple way to integrate popular options for payment onto your website. The customer gets the experience of paying through you. Their data is, however, safely transmitted to the payment processor. This means that they handle the necessary security.
They Raise Your Brand Profile
There are all kinds of ways strategically using APIs can raise your brand profile. Here is a quick guide to three of the main ones.
Firstly, most website analytics are based on the use of APIs. Google Analytics is a good example of how this works. Essentially, Google uses APIs to fetch information on various aspects of your website’s performance. It then displays this information in a dashboard.
Secondly, all those “social-share” buttons you see across the internet are simply APIs. Used astutely, these can really help you to grow your online profile. It’s usually best to avoid offering every social-share button you can find. Instead, pick a social media platform to target and create content honed for that platform. Then put in a social-share button for that platform only.
Thirdly, APIs can populate your website with the freshest of fresh content from search engines. You can use this to deliver relevant purchasing information to your customers. This can help to keep them on your site and hence boost your chance of converting a prospect to a buyer.
They Can Earn You Money
There are two main ways an API can earn money for your business. Firstly, you can partner with other companies so that they drive traffic to your business. If someone they refer makes a purchase, your partner gets some kind of fee. Alternatively, if you think you could drive traffic to another company, you could approach them about building an API to link to their service.
The other is to use the API as a way to deliver a chargeable service. This is often the provision of information although there are other options. This approach tends to be particularly well-suited to subscription-based business models. It can, however, also work for one-time purchases.
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