How to Create a Better Shopping Experience With APIs

Contributed content / By Melissa Parker / 8 February 2019

Using APIs on your e-commerce site can create a better shopping experience for your customers, increase your conversion rate, and reduce cart abandonment.

People’s reliance on online shopping is steadily increasing. 

According to a 2016 study, 96% of Americans shop online. These online shoppers spend 36% of their income online and dedicate roughly 5 hours per week to making purchases. 

The downfall, however, is that 65% of these consumers will consider abandoning their purchases based on factors such as shipping, speedy information delivery, privacy concerns, user experience, and more. 

Merchants can improve these conversion rates by integrating APIs (application programming interfaces) into the shopping experience. 

An API is a set of programming instructions, descriptions, and operations for developers. Complex and repeated processes can continuously run without the need for a full set of codes or programs. 

APIs allow digital communication between multiple programs to exchange vital data seamlessly and securely; it is a software intermediary that allows two applications to exchange information. 

Exchanging data quickly and securely makes processes further down the chain more efficient. An efficient website or application creates a smooth experience for customers.

Here are 5 ways APIs can create a better shopping experience that results in higher conversion rates and improve your e-commerce website. 

More Efficient Shipping

The cost and speed of shipping can disincentivize customers from buying your products. 

A recent study indicated that 91% of customers abandon their shopping carts before purchasing because shipping is either too costly or too slow.  

User experience designers recommend integrating a shipping API to expedite shipping and delivery times and reduce errors that are associated with manual sorting. 

Retailers can also use functions of APIs to save money by quickly comparing rates of various carriers for specific packages in their cart.
 

Shippo's rate comparison API
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Shipping APIs, such as ShipEngine and Shippo, have multiple functions that work together to create a smooth and speedy shipping experience that will reduce shopping cart abandonment. 

  • Automatically validate addresses. Shipping APIs quickly validate addresses to reduce delays and surcharges. Ensuring correct addresses reduces the cost for the retailer and builds customer trust and loyalty. Global address validation is also included in some shipping APIs.
  • Integrate real-time tracking. A shipping API gives customers quick access to important shipping information. Tracking information, shipment statuses, and other shipment inquiries can be received through emails, SMS, and apps.
  • Quickly compare rates. You can quickly find the ideal rates for specific packages through shipping APIs. Most shipping APIs have worldwide carrier support, so your customers can easily compare and choose the right service for them.
  • Lower shipping rates. Get the best and lowest shipping rates for your customers. Some APIs save retailers costs, allowing you to pass savings onto your customers. 

APIs can help you streamline the shipping process, making it more cost efficient for both you and your customers.

Quick and Precise Searches

Creating easily visible categories and sections on websites make a better shopping experience for customers. 

Product pages need to clearly convey information to customers before they can decide whether to make a purchase. 

If information cannot be quickly found on your website, customers will seek other retailers that make this kind of information more accessible. By providing advanced search features within your site, you can improve the shopping experience. 

For example, search API Algolia enables teams to create unique discovery and search experiences for customers. Algolia instantly decodes intent and offers the right content for the inquiry when integrated across all devices and platforms. 

Algolia's search API
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By helping customers find what they are searching for, they are more likely to have a positive shopping experience and convert to loyal customers.  

Save Time With Autofill

Allow users to easily store personal information by integrating a third-party Payment Request API. 

These open and cross-browser payment APIs allow merchants to request and accept payment information in a single instance. Once a user inputs his or her personal and payment information into the API, it is stored securely within an API-capable browser (e.g. Chrome, Samsung Internet, and Edge). 

This stored information can then be shared with autofill data and relayed back to any site the user is using, such as Facebook or Google. 

This eliminates the need for tedious and manual re-entry of personal information for each shopping transaction.

Streamline Experience Across Touchpoints

Through web, in-store, mobile, and even third-party marketplaces, customers are interacting with retailers through an increasing array of touchpoints. 

Mobile apps are steadily gaining popularity, and your business needs to adjust the shopping experience to correlate across all devices and applications. Instead of creating separate programs for each application, apply APIs that centralize customer data. 

For example, Woosmap allows your website to centralize and organize location data in one place.

Woosmap allows your website to organize location data.

Using these types of APIs allows customers to be easily recognizable across each retail touchpoint. This ensures a tailored shopping experience from web to mobile.  

Keep Information Secure

Customers are becoming increasingly wary of where they shop, as cyber-attacks on online retailers are becoming more common

Retailers need to make certain that the growing mass of customer data is safe and secure. One way to keep vital information secure is through a payment API. These types of APIs are critical for managing customer transactions. 

Full-stack payment APIs, such as Braintree, offer multiple payment options through a simplified interface. All credit card information is relayed back to Braintree’s secure servers for storage. 

Other payment APIs use encryptions for in-browser or in-app customer payment data, disallowing merchants from decrypting or touching the information. 

APIs Can Help You Keep Up With People’s Growing Demands

Creating a synonymous shopping experience across platforms for your customers increases the chances they will return for future business. Not only will APIs encourage trust through security, but they will make old processes more efficient. 

APIs take shopping experiences to the next level and can help your business keep up with people’s growing demands for faster service and more secure checkouts. 

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